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Brian Blessed opens up about loneliness after death of wife

Brian Blessed has admitted he struggles with loneliness following the loss of his wife last year.

The 87-year-old was married to fellow actor Hildegard Neil for 45 years before she died from cancer in September 2023.

In a new interview with The Times, the star who is best known for his role as Prince Vultan in Flash Gordon, spoke about his “lonely” daily routine as a widower.

“Breakfast for me will be yoghurt — I eat tons of the stuff. I love Bulgarian yoghurt, although eating alone takes some getting used to,” he began.

“I do feel quite lonely at times but I’ve got lots of friends to talk to.”

Blessed went on to talk about his friendship with Monty Python actor Sir Michael Palin, also a widower. Palin was married to his wife Helen Gibbins, for 57 years, before she passed away in May 2023.

“I had a lovely chat with Michael Palin recently at the Royal Geographical Society, as he lost his wife last year too. I still feel my wife’s presence and continue the adventurous life we used to enjoy together.”

The star shared the influence his late wife has had on him, as he shared that it was she who inspired his love of animals.

Palin admitted he felt lonely following the death of his wife

Palin admitted he felt lonely following the death of his wife (Getty Images)

“I love gardening and animals, so I’ll take my army of RSPCA rescue dogs onto the lawn and I’ll tend to the flowers. I’ve planted apples, strawberries and God knows what else, so there are hundreds of birds in the garden. And butterflies, hedgehogs and rabbits too,” he described.

“I’m on my own now, as my wife, Hildegarde, died in September – we were married for 45 years – and it’s she who taught me how to love animals.”

In 1974, both Blessed and Neil worked together on ITV Yorkshire series Boy Dominic, in which Neil played Emma Bullman, and Blessed played William Woodcock. The pair married in 1978 and have one daughter together, Rosalind. Blessed also has a daughter, Catherine, from his first marriage to American actor and Egyptologist, Ann Boman.

Hildegard Neil, Rosalind Blessed, and Brian Blessed

Hildegard Neil, Rosalind Blessed, and Brian Blessed (Getty Images)

Recalling their conversations on set, Blessed said: “We were doing Boy Dominic in Yorkshire. We were playing the leads together. I would talk about this and that.

“I would talk about sophisticated science and imagination. She was amazed because I don’t know many actors, all I know are scientists and explorers.”

When Blessed had told Neil about the formerly undefeated boxer Rocky Marciano, who held the world heavyweight title from 1952 to 1956, Neil “reeled back” and said: “‘Do you know, I have never met a primitive before. You are primitive, aren’t you?’

“She said, ‘Don’t be upset Brian, I am praising you. True primitiveness is sophisticated. It is total sophistication and you have it’.”

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