Jill Halfpenny opens up about ‘unbearable’ grief of her boyfriend’s death for the first time

Isobel Frodsham

Jill Halfpenny has revealed she found grieving for her father and boyfriend’s deaths “unbearable” and “overbearing”.

The actress, 44, spoke candidly about dealing with the loss of her boyfriend Matt, who died in January 2017, for the first time.

Halfpenny said his sudden death felt like a “double loss” as it brought on the grief from the death of her father, Colin, who passed away in 1979.

Speaking to Line Of Duty's Craig Parkinson on The Two Shot Podcast, she broke down while discussing Matt's death.

“In January 2017 my partner, in very similar circumstances to my dad, went to the gym, had a heart attack and died,” she said through tears.

“My grief at losing Matt, my partner, was so brutal, and so shocking, but then what happened was it brought out all of my grief from my dad as well.

"So it was like dealing with this double loss."

She added: “I found myself thinking, ‘Oh my god, this is unbearable, what am I going to do? I cannot cope with these feelings.’"

Halfpenny – who starred as Kate Mitchell in EastEnders from 2002 to 2005 – said the grief has made her stronger.

Stronger: Halfpenny said dealing with the grief has made her tougher (BBC)
Stronger: Halfpenny said dealing with the grief has made her tougher (BBC)

“Weirdly grieving has given me more confidence,” she said. “To survive that level of brutality, you think, ‘There is nothing you can throw at me that isn’t going to be ok now, I swear to god.’”

After the podcast was released, friends flocked to praise Halfpenny for her honesty.

Talent agency worker Dan Ryan wrote on Twitter: “Thank you Jill for being so damn honest. That was an unbelievably powerful chat.

“On a train, laughing and crying and learning and growing. Feel like a better person for listening and I’d encourage ANYONE to get their ears around it.”

Actor Joe Sims, who played Nigel Carter in Broadchurch, said: “I thought that level of candour was so beautifully brave and think it inspires everyone who listens to [Jill Halfpenny] to feel a little braver too. Thank you for sharing.”

Responding to Ryan, Halfpenny said on Twitter: “Thanks Dan, so lovely of you . Really glad you got something from it.”

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