Amanda Barrie, 82, became one of the oldest Celebrity Big Brother contestants in the show’s history when she entered the famous house last night [2 January], and now the former Coronation Street actress’ reasons for signing up to the reality competition have been revealed.
Speaking before entering the house, Amanda quipped that she hopes to pay for her care home with her Big Brother fee – also adding that she hopes that the show will take her mind off dying.
Chatting to The Mirror, Amanda said: “I had no intention of doing it [Celebrity Big Brother], but then I thought it could pay for my care home.
“It would be nice to have that independence.
“What keeps me working? I think it’s occupational therapy to stop me thinking about death, really.”
She told the host: “I did have this moment when my partner, Hilary, put me in the car with two suitcases where I thought, ‘Are you sure you’re going to Big Brother or has she sent you packing to a care home now?’
“I think Big Brother will be good training for the care home, anyway. I may as well have a go at it now.”
The star is best known or playing Alma Sedgewick in Coronation Street for 20 years, and previously confessed that she was terrified about coming out as bisexual during the height of her fame as she feared the ITV soap would sack her.
Speaking on Loose Women in 2016, Amanda shared: “The trouble was with me that someone had tipped them [the paparazzi] off that I was… There was an interest in my sexuality shall we say.
“And I remember just being absolutely terrified because I knew at that time, I think I’m right to say, I would have lost my job.
“I honestly believed that. I also felt really guilty myself because they made me feel guilty. I was playing Alma and then I had this whole other life and I felt like I couldn’t look anybody in the eye.”
She added to The Mirror that her secret gave her “tremendous anxiety”, continuing: “I was terrified, there was an attitude that certain people wouldn’t work with you, it was taboo.
“Nobody at Coronation Street knew but my very close friends Helen [Worth], Sue Nicholls and Barbara Knox.”
Amanda went public with her sexuality at the age of 67, marrying crime novelist Hilary Bonner in 2014.