'I worry about becoming a burden': Coronation Street's Claire King, 54, admits her ill health has left her considering euthanasia
Corrie actress Claire King has revealed how caring for her disabled parents and a period of ill health has shaped her views on euthanasia.
In a candid interview, Claire, 54, admitted that she would consider euthanasia before becoming a burden on those around her should her rheumatoid arthritis worsen drastically.
Candid: Corrie actress Claire King, 54, has revealed she would consider euthanasia one day after seeing the difficulties her disabled parents have faced over the years
'I can understand why people choose assisted dying – and it's getting to the point where I would consider it myself.'
The actress hasn't got any children, though along with her brother Piers, 52, she helps care for her parents, who are both disabled.
Father John, 77, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in his late twenties, while mother Angela, also 77, has had severe back problems and rheumatoid arthritis since Claire was a child.
Tough: The actress hasn't got any children and along with her brother Piers, 52, help care for their parents, who are both disabled
Claire – who plays the flirtatious Erica Holroyd in the ITV soap – admitted she and Piers have never found their own parents a burden.
Discussing where she could envision a stage in her life where she would consider euthanasia, Claire said: 'Most of my family will be gone. It's not a selfish thing. It's a decision at a certain age, when you're becoming a burden to others.'
The confessions come as no shock from the actress who has always been candid about her life.
Claire previously revealed on Loose Women that she has had a string of stalkers in her life.
Burden: Claire revealed: 'I do worry about when I'm older and becoming a burden on people around me'
Discussing fame, she confessed: 'There is that downside; stalkers, which I used to have a few, but I've got one at the moment which has been going on for a few months.
'I had quite a few when I was in Emmerdale and in Bad Girls. Well, I've had them most of my life actually.'
She added: 'They write and send letters and all the rest of it. They haven't committed a crime yet so [the police] can't do anything. There's nothing I can do as they haven't committed any offence.
Famiy: Claire – Coronation Street’s Erica Holroyd – admitted she and Piers have never found their own parents a burden
'I've been here before so I know how it works but you never know how their mindset is, as it's a different person it could be some complete weirdo.'
Claire explained: 'It's not actually sinister, they're just kind of sending things and are obsessive basically.'
But she added that despite them having good intentions, it was still 'scary' to think that her stalker could potentially know where she lives.
When panellist Jane commented that it was 'terrifying', Claire replied: 'There's nothing I can do, I just put my glasses on. I've been here before so I know how It works, but it's a different person this time.
'I never know how their mindset is. It starts with fan mail, then you send a signed pic back and they think you're friends.'
She added: 'The studio keeps an eye out which is great. We have great security anyway.'
Claire joined the cast of Coronation Street in 2014 as Erica Holroyd and announced last month she was to leave after three years.
She also starred in Emmerdale and prison drama Bad Girls as well as various theatre productions.
Youthful: Last year, she revealed that getting a facelift in her fifties had salvaged her career, after she struggled to find work in her forties
Last year, she revealed that getting a facelift in her fifties had salvaged her career, after she struggled to find work in her forties. Claire told how she became so low that at times she didn't want to leave the house.
'It was the most vulnerable time of my life,' she recalled. 'It felt as if my industry didn't want me anymore, it hit me in the heart,' she said at the time.
Appearing on ITV today, she confessed: 'I was actually thinking about giving up the whole shabang.'
Walking away: Appearing on ITV today, she confessed: 'I was actually thinking about giving up the whole shabang
In her own words: Claire's battle withrheumatoid arthritis
I was 30 when I started getting pains in the knuckles of both hands. I had just landed a job on the soap Emmerdale.
About nine months after my hands started to hurt, I woke up one morning to find my feet were sore as well. When I put the ball of my foot on the floor a sharp pain would shoot up to my ankle.
I still managed to ignore the problem for about a year because most of the time I was fine, but when the knuckles on my fingers began to swell I knew I had to get the problem checked out.
I went to see my family GP and straightaway he said I may have rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
This horrified me as I had visions of ending up in a wheelchair. I had thought RA was a disease for elderly people. Of course, now I know babies can have RA. It really can affect any group from any walk of life.
Luckily, I had health insurance, so within a week I had my feet and hands X-rayed. A couple of weeks later I saw a consultant rheumatologist at the private Duchy Nuffield Hospital in Harrogate.
The X-rays showed that my knuckles were so swollen and stretched that they had almost come out of their sockets. It was clear that unless I started treatment very soon, I could completely lose the dexterity in my hands.
The consultant also explained that RA was an autoimmune disease — the immune system in the body turns on the joints and attacks them.
Because the disease was in a fairly early stage, initial treatment was simply painkillers and over-the-counter anti-inflammatories
When the pain was really bad I would go back to the GP; I've had three cortisone injections into my knuckles. The steroids work like a massive anti-inflammatory. The treatment was incredibly painful and didn't seem to help much.
Then, about four years ago, a friend told me about MSM (methylsulfonylmethane). This is a naturally occurring form of sulphur, which helps maintain cartilage and joints. I thought it was worth a go — but I was amazed to find that after a few months my feet and hands ached less than they did.