Rylan Clark reveals ‘best advice’ Barbara Windsor gave him: ‘She got me out of so many awkward scrapes’

TV presenter met Windsor when he was on ‘The X Factor’ in 2012

Isobel Lewis
Sunday 16 January 2022 11:41
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Rylan Clark-Neal's real name revealed on Celebrity Gogglebox

Rylan Clark has revealed “the best piece of advice” given to him by Barbara Windsor.

In a new interview with The Observer, the TV presenter discussed his friendship with the late EastEnders star, who died in 2020 aged 83 after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

Clark recalled running into Windsor in Selfridges just weeks after he was eliminated from The X Factor in 2012, having previously met the actor and her husband Scott Mitchell backstage at the show.

“She introduced me to her husband and I was like, ‘Hello, Scott. Lovely to meet you!’” Clark remembered. “She said, ‘No, darling. You said hello to him a few weeks back at X Factor.’”

“I was so sorry. Like, all over the place. And she said, ‘Let me give you the best piece of advice you’ll ever need. Never say, “Nice to meet you.” It’s always, “Lovely to see you.”’ And for the past 10 years, Barbara Windsor has got me out of so many awkward scrapes.”

He continued: “If she was still with us today I would give her the biggest kiss. Meeting Madonna, Britney, pah, they just pale in comparison.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Clark spoke candidly about suffering a breakdown following his divorce last summer, during which he struggled with suicidal thoughts and stopped eating.

Clark said that he’d “felt alone” during the period and eventually “went away” to the hospital for “safety reasons”.

“I’d got to the point where I didn’t know if I wanted to come back. Or whether I would be able to do this job again,” he said. “It got bad. Like, very bad. And I didn’t think it would get better. I needed help.”

If you are experiencing feelings of distress and isolation, or are struggling to cope, the Samaritans offers support; you can speak to someone for free over the phone, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email jo@samaritans.org, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.

If you are based in the USA, and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Helpline is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you are in another country, you can go to www.befrienders.org to find a helpline near you.

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