Dame Julie Walters says she doesn't want to act anymore as stress of the job led to cancer diagnosis

Danny Thompson
·Contributor
·2 mins read
Julie Walters attending the EE British Academy Film Awards held at the Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, Kensington, London. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
Julie Walters attending the EE British Academy Film Awards held at the Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, Kensington, London. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)

British film legend Dame Julie Walters has cast doubt on her future acting career, blaming the stress of the job for being diagnosed with cancer.

The Mamma Mia star was told she had stage three cancer in 2018 - and while she has now been given the all clear, she admits the diagnosis came with a sense of “relief” as it meant she didn’t have to work.

During an interview with The Times' Saturday Review, the 70-year-old told of her belief that acting is “not good” for her health and that it is directly linked to getting the deadly illness.

Read more: Julie Walters feels ‘like a different person’ after cancer recovery

"Part of me was going, 'Oh my God! I've got cancer! Oh my God!' And I'm dealing with the shock of that, and it's all systems go to have it treated,” she shared.

"But there was also an element of going, 'I don't have to do any more work. I can actually get off this treadmill.' Because I had been working really hard and it seemed like a big excuse not to do anything. Cancer trumps everything.”

Watch: Dame Julie Walters discusses the future of her acting career

Discussing the diagnosis, she went on: "Acting caused it because of the way that I approach it. I have to be totally in it. Everything has to be just so.

"It's very stressful. You're immediately above the parapet. You're being judged. It's a stressful job and I don't sleep when I'm working. It's not good for me."

Julie Walters appears at the premiere of the second Harry Potter film, Leicester Square, London, 30 May 2004. (Photo by Phil Dent/Redferns)
Julie Walters appears at the premiere of the second Harry Potter film, Leicester Square, London, 30 May 2004. (Photo by Phil Dent/Redferns)

Walters made similar comments during an interview with Victoria Derbyshire for the BBC earlier this year.

She said of getting the diagnosis: "I was due to do two big series... and there were two films. And I just didn't have to do any of it. And that was wonderful."

Read more: Julie Walters among parents calling for green focus on economic recovery plans

Asked about the future of her acting career and taking on another role, she added: "It would have to be something I'm really engaged with.

"I'm not saying I'll never act again. But I certainly don't think I can go back to six days a week, five in the morning till seven o'clock at night."

Watch: Trailer for Dame Julie Walters movie The Secret Garden