With her husband gambling his life away and having an affair with an Emmerdale co-star, the soap favourite Claire King was subsequently plunged not only into debt, but a deep depression and struggles with alcoholism.
Claire, 54, played Kim Tate in the popular ITV soap opera Emmerdale, and has recently shared her story surrounding the breakdown of her marriage in 2004 to Peter Amory, her on screen stepson.
Channel 5’s In Therapy recently saw Claire open up about the issues within her 10 year marriage to Amory:
“He liked a drink but he was also gambling as well. I mean big gambling.
“I knew he always gambled but not in that way. Lose your house money, lose everything money.
“I was £9,000 short of paying my mortgage off and then suddenly, poof. It was just horrible and it was draining.”
But upon learning that he was cheating on her with co-star Samantha Giles, who plays Bernice Blackstock in Emmerdale, Claire was finally pushed over the edge and she told him that their marriage was over.
“We’d split up due to his infidelity,” said Claire to counsellor Mandy Saligari.
“It happened in my house, the local pub, workplace.
“Then they split and we thought we’d work it out, then they got together again. Six months later … finished. I felt as though it was the end of something but also a failure. And I didn’t want it to be a failure. It was a loss as well. It was a failure of a marriage but the loss of a good friend. I really didn’t know it would affect me so badly.”
Up until this point, Claire had been lucky with a great deal of high-profile roles, but as she aged she revealed that it grew more and more difficult to find work. This and her now rising debts are two of the factors that drove the heartbroken actress to turn to the bottle to cope.
She confessed: “Hitting 40, having a divorce and not having children and getting deeper into debt. To the point where I sold my wardrobe, dresses, everything, even collectors’ items, as I had no money. I thought, ‘God, am I ever going to work again?’
“I think I was depressed. I was on a very rocky road at the time. It wasn’t a great time and that’s where I went a bit off the rails, drinking too much.
“I thought I was coping but it’s the old adage – it doesn’t help at all. I know I’m not an alcoholic but I do like a drink. I do use it as a crutch and I am aware it’s really bad for feelings and emotions when you’re in a bad place.
“I didn’t know if I’d hit rock bottom or not. It was low enough for me to look around and think, ‘Whoa, this is not right, I’m not functioning properly. Maybe I’m not working because I’m not giving off the right signals’.”
However, it was not over for Claire.
The sun started to come up again after she took her advice from her agent to have a face lift, and soon after landed the role of Erica Holroyd in Coronation street in 2014.
“It got me out of that black hole,” Claire admitted.
“My agent at the time had said, ‘Right, what you need is a face lift.’ It got me loads of work because I just felt better about myself and it gave me a little perk up.”
Additionally, she talked about the reason behind never having children with Peter:
“It just never happened. Pete already had a son and didn’t particularly want any more. And I got a career, I was just starting out, then bang, before you know it – tick-tock, tick-tock – and that’s it.”
Claire also remembered a conversation a couple of years ago in which her mother told her: “‘If I had to live again, I probably wouldn’t have children’.
“I was kind of shocked, then I thought, ‘Well, I can’t really judge her on that.’
“I know she’s had me and that’s it – we’re done and dusted.”