‘I have cried so much’: Bill star Chris Ellison’s wife discusses his aphasia diagnosis

Aphasia: South Tees NHS explains condition's impact

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Chris Ellison played the role of DCI Burnside on the popular ITV series The Bill from 1984 to 2000. The actor’s life took a dramatic turn 18 months ago when he was diagnosed with aphasia following a stroke. The condition – a brain disorder whereby a person has difficulty with their language or speech – has been lifted from obscurity after Bruce Willis recently announced he would be stepping down from acting due to his own diagnosis.

Accompanied by his wife Anita, Chris went on ITV’s Good Morning Britain to provide further insight into aphasia and how it has rocked both of their lives over the last 18 months.

Anita explained how Chris would often “feel embarrassed and would grab my arm because he couldn’t speak”.

She continued: “We have been like hermits really. Haven’t gone out at all.”

Bruce Willis going public about his own aphasia diagnosis has given Chris a newfound sense of confidence, Anita added.

“I’ve seen a great change in Chris. He is immediately lifted.”

Anita hopes the increased public awareness of aphasia will help people to understand that Chris has difficulties replying to questions but can “understand”.

Anita added: “Just be patient.”

Witnessing aphasia’s impact on her husband, Anita expressed solidarity with Bruce Willis’ plight.

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