Dame Julie Walters reveals the only role she will return to acting for after battling bowel cancer

Julie Walters
(Image credit: WireImage)

Dame Julie Walters has revealed that she wants to quit acting after suffering from bowel cancer.

Acclaimed actress Julie Walters was diagnosed with stage three bowel cancer back in 2018 and endured an 18-month battle with the illness before overcoming it.

And now the Hollywood star has revealed that her health battle has made her rethink her work-life balance, explaining that she feels work stress is what caused the illness in the first place.

“The oncologist said to me, ‘What do you think has caused the cancer?’, and the first thing that came to my mind was acting,” she told The Times.

“Acting caused it, because of the way I approach it — I have to be totally in it,” she went on. “It’s very stressful. You’re being judged. It’s a stressful job and I don’t sleep when I’m working. It’s not good for me.’

Admitting that she’d now prefer to quit her career, the beloved star, who has appeared in blockbuster favourites like Mamma Mia, Billy Elliot, Paddington, Calendar Girls and the Harry Potter series, revealed that she would return for just one role - and it was quite a surprise…

“I don’t want to work again. Unless it’s another Mamma Mia,” said Dame Julie.

A photo posted by on

The actress appeared in both film instalments of Mamma Mia, alongside Meryl Streep, Christine Baranski, Amanda Seyfried and Pierce Brosnan, so it’s understandable that she would want to take part in any possible future productions.

And creator Judy Craymer has revealed that a third film may actually be on the cards, telling the Daily Mail earlier this year “I was meant to have been getting on with that [writing the third film], in my head, during these months.

“But then I got hit with Covid fog. I think one day there will be another film, because there’s meant to be a trilogy, you see.

“I know Universal would like me to do it.”

Well if there is another film, let’s hope Dame Julie is able to return for it!

Aleesha Badkar
Aleesha Badkar

Aleesha is digital shopping writer at woman&home - so whether you're looking for beauty, fashion, health or home buys, she knows all the best places to splash your cash. She earned an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London in 2017 after graduating from University of Leeds in 2014 with a BA in English and Spanish (which took her to Madrid for a fun Rioja and tapas-packed year). Aleesha has worked for woman&home since 2019, when she joined the team as their digital news writer. A year on the news team gained her quick and reactive writing skills and a love for breaking stories, invaluable insight into where to get the best lifestyle releases first, an AOP awards nomination and the nickname ‘crazy watch lady’ after she became so obsessed with the royals that she followed breaking news alerts on her Apple Watch.


Before joining the woman&home team, Aleesha wrote for their sister site GoodtoKnow, where she covered celebrity news, health advice and where to snap up the cheapest lifestyle buys. With a background in beauty, Aleesha has also written for Stylist and Women’s Health where she developed an understanding into what makes a stellar product and which brands are worth paying attention to. She never leaves the house without a slick of lip balm and a good slathering of SPF, cannot live without an eyelash curler by her side and is always on the hunt for new lipsticks to add to her ‘Lipstick of the Day’ Instagram story highlight (and color-coordinated collection).

But it’s not just beauty buys Aleesha can help you with. Social media savviness, strong PR relationships and a need to stay in the know mean she’s all about the latest fashions, clever gadgets and reliable lifestyle buys too. She loves indulging in an interior craze (with a bedroom drowned in prints, plants and pink), is a regular visitor to the Missoma and Edge of Ember 'New In' pages and can’t resist the allure of a kitchen gadget—just ask her three coffee machines.

When she’s not playing around with new products and testing anything she can get her hands on, Aleesha spends most of her time with her head in a current bestseller, catching up on the latest Netflix craze with her sister, trying out new recipes, drinking wine with her bestie and (in non-COVID times) has been known to be a bit of a jetsetter amongst her friendship group. Oh and she makes the most of her Disney+ subscription by watching the Marvel films on repeat (definitely not just for Chris Evans...).

Follow her latest shopping & lifestyle advice, beauty insights and social antics on Instagram at @aleeshabadkar.


Twitter: @aleeshabadkar

LinkedIn: aleesha-badkar

Email: aleesha.badkar@futurenet.com