Watch: Leah Bracknell’s widower Jez Hughes appears on Loose Women
Leah Bracknell's widower Jez Hughes has opened up on his life a year on from her tragic passing.
The Emmerdale actor, who was born Alison Bracknell, died in September last year at the age of 55 three years after being diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.
Appearing on Loose Women on Tuesday, Hughes said he watched episodes of the ITV soap in which Bracknell starred as Zoe Tate to help "connect with her".
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"It feels important to connect with that part of her. There's moments, if there's an emotional scene in the programme I know those moments, I know those facial expressions, that touches somewhere deep inside me," he explained.
He went on to reflect on how his wife's positive attitude to life was a message now more important than ever due to the coronavirus.
"She was so strong and I know she affected so many people in such a positive way, how she uplifted people," he told the panellists. "I think the circumstances the world's found itself in now with a lot of fear around and the virus and the lockdown, that message is more important than ever really of how we choose to react to these traumatic events in our life.
"Ali reacted in such a profoundly uplifting, beautiful way and also with strength, with such strength."
Hughes also spoke on feeling "guilt" at continuing to live life as he said: "Living life again brings thing like guilt. Grief can hit you suddenly and in some ways that's harder."
In addition to her Emmerdale role, Bracknell also had parts in Judge John Deed, A Touch of Frost, The Royal Today and DCI Banks.
In the statement announcing her death in 2019, her manager noted: "Leah had an energy and enthusiasm for life, a kind heart and much love to give to those around her."
Hughes penned an emotional tribute in the weeks after Bracknell's death, describing her as his "soul mate" as he spoke of experiencing "intense pain".