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Leah Bracknell’s widower watching old Emmerdale episodes to ‘connect to her’

Leah Bracknell’s widower Jez Hughes has opened up about grieving for the late Emmerdale star a year after her death.

The actress, who played Zoe Tate in the ITV soap, died aged 55 in September 2019 after being diagnosed with stage four lung cancer in 2016.

Appearing on Loose Women today, Jez said that he had struggled with his grief over the last year but that watching old Emmerdale episodes had helped him reconnect with her.

He told panelists Coleen Nolan, Brenda Edwards, Jane Moore and Carol McGiffin that it had been an “emotional” week and reacted to a clip they had played of her speaking on Loose Women in 2017.



Jez Hughes has opened up about grieving Leah Bracknell

“It’s been a year last week [since her death]. Hearing Ali there is profoundly intense. Amazing amounts of pride – I want to repeat that message because it was so strong.”

Jez said that Leah “uplifted people”, continuing: “In the circumstances that people find themselves now with the virus, that message is so important… reacting to these traumatic experiences in their life.”



Leah appeared on Loose Women in 2017



Jez has been watching Leah’s old Emmerdale episodes

“Grief is like a monster or a person who comes into your house and after the first day their in your house the whole time and they bring friends like pain and sorrow,” he explained. “It’s like being assaulted every single day.”

He also admitted that he also felt “guilt” for moving on.

“Living life again brings thing like guilt,” Jez said. “Grief can hit you suddenly and in some ways that’s harder.

“I think grief is about finding beauty. Life can be very cruel… it’s about trying to find the beauty in that and that’s what Ali did with the whole facing cancer.”

Jez added: “She never moaned about the cancer, she never said ‘why is it me?'”

Opening up about watching her old Emmerdale episodes, which she appeared in from 1998 until 2005, he said: “It helps me connect to her spirit… if there’s an emotional scene I know those emotions and it hits me there.”

*Loose Women airs weekdays at 12.30pm on ITV



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