LIFE

Billy Connolly Says Parkinson's Has 'Drawn Him Closer' To Wife Pamela Stephenson

‘It’s a pleasant thing to lose the strong guy. You don’t need it. So it’s nicer.’

17/04/2017 10:32 PM AEST | Updated 17/04/2017 10:32 PM AEST

Billy Connolly has opened up about living with Parkinson’s disease, admitting that growing more reliant on wife Pamela Stephenson has actually helped them grow closer.

The legendary comedian first shared his Parkinson’s diagnosis in 2014, more recently disclosing that the symptoms of the illness meant he could no longer play his beloved banjo.

Karwai Tang via Getty Images
Pamela Stephenson and Billy Connolly

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Billy has said that his illness means he relies more on his wife than ever before, explaining: “It’s kind of drawn us together. I’m really dependent on her, you know physically, whereas I used to be the strong guy. Which is kind of pleasant.

“It’s a pleasant thing to lose the strong guy. You don’t need it. So it’s nicer.”

However, he added that he does “get angry” about his illness from time to time, admitting: I apologised to Pam yesterday. I said, ‘I’ve been a bit gruff.’ She said, ‘Oh, you’re OK.’ I just get fed up.”

One of Britain’s best loved comedians, Billy has said that his sense of humour has helped him throughout his illness, revealing: “[A sense of humour] is the only thing that gets you through. Sometimes I get kind of dark about it. It’s because it’s forever, you know? It’s not like having pneumonia and you’re going to get better.

“It’s the first thing I think about in the morning because getting out of bed is quite hard. It’s a weird thing because it stopped me playing the banjo and it stopped me smoking cigars.

“It seems to creep up on everything I like and take it away from me. It’s like being tested.”

Dave Hogan via Getty Images
Pamela and Billy at an event in 2007

Billy has made only a handful of television appearances since his diagnosis, most recently managing to raise a smile as he fronted an appeal during ‘Let’s Sing And Dance For Comic Relief’.

On Tuesday (18 April), he’ll be at the centre of a special reflecting on his life and career, ‘Billy Connolly & Me: A Celebration’, which will air at 9pm on ITV.

More On This Topic