Dame Barbara Windsor's husband didn't expect her to be diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease when he urged her to see a doctor about her memory problems.
The former 'EastEnders' star's spouse Scott Mitchell noticed she had been growing increasingly forgetful and had "lost her sparkle" after she left the soap in 2010 and suggested she sought medical advice, but "deep down" he had no idea she would receive the devastating diagnosis after over a year of tests.
He said: "Barbara was trying to continue with 'EastEnders' - this was just before she left - and I noticed it was taking her longer. When we decided she would leave, which she reluctantly did because she loved it, I noticed the repetitive nature came in and she was losing things.
"Something happened to her personality, it was as if some veil had come over her where she lost her sparkle.
"First you think it's because she's getting older - she was in her 70s then - and I accepted that as par for the course.
"It's been such a gradual thing, I said, 'First of all you're getting forgetful and I think we ought to see someone because if there is wear and tear we may be able to get something to help it' and I was faced with no resistance, so I was really lucky in that sense.
"Deep down I didn't think it would be what it was, I just wanted to be safe."
Scott initially felt "relieved" that he hadn't imagined the worrying signs he'd seen in his wife but he also felt "numb" when his worst fears were confirmed.
Speaking on 'Loose Women', he said: "[There was relief that] I wasn't imagining this, there was something there, so there was that sense of it, and also a slight numbness that happened to me."
And Scott recalled the 'Carry On' star's heartbreaking response to being told she had the degenerative condition.
He said: "We were sitting down and Dr. Kennedy said 'Look I'm really sorry but it is Alzheimers' and she just looked at me and said 'I'm so sorry.'"
Though Barbara was excited on Monday (08.10.18) morning when Scott told her he was going to be on the daytime talk show, she'd sadly forgotten about it when he called her before going on air.
He said: I keep having to remind her - I left the house this morning and said I was going to 'Loose Women' and she said 'Send my love. You're going on the television?' I got to the dressing room and phoned her to make sure she was OK and she said, 'Where are you?' "
Tagged in Barbara Windsor