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When you picture the happy-go-luck cast of comedy-drama Cold Feet, which was recently revived, it’s difficult to imagine that things aren’t all as rosy as they sometimes seem on TV.
But for 48-year-old John Thomson, who plays the loveable Pete Gifford on the series alongside James Nesbitt, there have been times when his thoughts have turned so dark that he’s considered ending it all.
In an interview with the Radio Times, John revealed how his public battle with alcoholism following the end of Cold Feet‘s original run in 2003 left him contemplating suicide. John endured a well-documented struggle with finding work following the end of the popular series, after failing to find a similar, high-profile project to work on.
He candidly admitted, “I tried to be chipper and happy-go-lucky when I got back, but it broke me inside.”
The actor also revealed that when his wife left him in 2015, things when from bad to worse in his life. The pair had been married for over 10 years, and had two daughters – Sophia and Olivia.
But he also admitted that there’s now something abstract within him that won’t allow him to go anywhere near a suicide attempt, and also credited his children for saving him from that fate.
He revealed, “There’s a force in me that won’t allow me to go that low. Too much to lose. Maybe before children, possibly, but not now. Not now. You contemplate. I’ve had thoughts.
“I’ve had dark thoughts, but never considered carrying them out. I could mentally toy with the idea of it and how to do it, but not carry it out, because I’ve got something in me, call it spirit, a guardian angel.”
John’s character Pete in the show Cold Feet endured a similar inner battle in the sixth season, after being diagnosed with depression. The character was seen to be struggling with life, holding down two jobs and finding it difficult to look after his family.
The character appeared to commit suicide by jumping off the edge of a cliff, but fans were left relieved when it became clear that Pete had only imagined doing so, and had actually decided against it.
John, along with the rest of the cast of Cold Feet, shot to fame in 1997 when the original run of the programme was aired, to huge acclaim.
(Pete Gifford (John), alongside Jenny Gifford (Fay Ripley) and Karen Marsden (Hermione Norris) in Cold Feet)
Speaking about that time in his life, he revealed, “Nothing prepares you for fame. It’s such a shock to you when you’re put on a pedestal and it’s all these parties and everyone wants to be your mate.”
The show recently returned for a sixth season in 2016, and John admits that being able to be back on the programme was his saving grace, and something he was hugely grateful for for. He said, “The timing couldn’t have been better. It was my salvation.”
Cold Feet will return for its seventh season on 8th September, on ITV.