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Downton Abbey star David Robb to appear at eating disorder service at Norwich Cathedral

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The service - the first of its kind - aims to provide a moment of reflection but also to give a message of hope and reinforce one of the charity’s pledges - that there shall be no more preventable deaths from eating disorders.

One of the guests at the event is Downton Abbey star David Robb, whose wife, actress Briony McRoberts, killed herself last year after suffering from anorexia.

He wants to reinforce the fact that is an illness that affects everyone, men and women, young and old - and is not just “a fad of teenage girls”.

“It’s the most insidious of mental diseases,” he said.

“It’s not just to do with food, it’s to do with control. At what I now recognise was the end, I used to ask her who she was doing it for? She said it was like a boa constrictor that used to get around her and squeeze.”

Mr Robb, who plays Dr Clarkson in the hit period drama, said the anorexia had come on gradually and that his wife, as an actress, was good at hiding it from him.

“She wouldn’t eat breakfast, but then lots of women don’t eat breakfast,” he said.

“When she was working up in Scotland and I didn’t see her in the week, I used to come up at the weekend and think she was terribly thin. But then we would go out for a stonking great meal in Glasgow and it would seem fine again.”

It started to intrude on their lives, but Mr Robb was convinced their relationship was strong enough to handle anything.

“I never doubted for a second that we would get through it,” he said.

“We were deeply in love. I look at some of my friends’ marriages and they are like pals, but we were still deeply intertwined.

“I thought that whatever happened we would get through it, because our love was greater than any eating disorder.”

Mr Robb said the disease had come “roaring back” for his wife when she entered her 50s and work started to dry up.

“A large part of her self-worth was to do with whether she was working and valued,” he said.

“The acting work dried up as it does for most women of her age.


“She was very talented, but I don’t think she was psychologically suited to being in a job where there is so much expectation of you.

“She was very successful when she was young. She was a teenager when she started and when you have success at that age, you are not prepared for it to gradually slip away.”

Ms McRoberts was 56 when she died, and her husband said the shock left him almost unhinged.

“It’s the hand I have been dealt,” he said. “But you go from a life that is intimately shared with someone for a long time to being completely alone and it doesn’t matter how much time you spend with friends, you are still alone.

“I would tell anyone else whose partner is going through it - don’t ignore it. Don’t think it’s going to correct itself because it isn’t.”

While he says anorexia is a severe mental disorder that is not really to do with being slim, Mr Robb condemned model Kate Moss for her statement “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”.

“It was a stupid, stupid statement that should never have been made,” he said.

“It was almost criminal.”


• The service of dedication will take place at Norwich Cathedral on October 22 at 2.30pm. Everyone is welcome to attend, no matter what their faith, and there will be the opportunity to have a candle lit in memory of a loved one.


Rest of article at Source

He sounds like a wonderful man and he suffered a terrible loss proud of him for this.
Tags: death, downton abbey (itv), health problems
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