East Enders and the Bell star suffer from the same severe illness as Bruce Willis

Bill and EastEnders star Chris Ellison has revealed his diagnosis of aphasia — just days after Hollywood star Bruce Willis did the same, using the moment to announce his retirement from acting. Chris’ wife Anita explained that while he understands everything that is going on around him, he cannot speak, read or write.

Chris, 75, is best known for his no-nonsense brassiere, DCI Frank Burnside on The Bill, but also boasts credits in Birds of a Feather, Widows and EastEnders, having spent a brief stint with Len Harker back in 2007. But the wife says Anita now that he is “trapped in his body” and that it “has been meaningless for 18 months”.

Aphasia occurs when parts of the brain related to language are damaged, and sometimes it occurs after a stroke or head injury. Chris was diagnosed in the summer of 2020, after suffering a severe stroke.

READ MORE: The BBC EastEnders star who traded fame as Ian Bell’s father to work as a security guard and in a furniture yard

Loyal wife Anita explained Kris’ case – revealing that she ‘cry buckets’

Anita told The Sun, “Sometimes I feel as though I’ve lost my very charismatic, funny and caring husband. It’s frustrating for us but when he looks in my eyes I see he’s still there. I cried buckets, he’s kind of mourning. But he’s still here with us, And he’s still very caring and loving.”

Remembering the night he was diagnosed and flown from their home, Anita said paramedics warned her to prepare for the worst, and that “the night may not last.” But these days, when they’re discussing The Bill, Chris can say, “Burnside!”

Chris credits not only his loyal Anita, but also children Luis and Francesca, and caregiver Grace. Mark Wingate, Chris’ former co-star on The Bill and close associate to this day, has been a huge supporter of the pair. In fact, Chris gets a “lift” when he hears Mark’s voice down the end of the phone.

Bruce Willis, 67, recently announced that he is stepping back from acting after his diagnosis, putting an end to a hugely successful on-screen career that has included hits like the Die Hard franchise, The Sixth Sense and Pulp Fiction.

The original EastEnders movie was cast in 1985. Can you remember the names of the two dogs?

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