Joanna Lumley's advice for being healthy at 77 isn't *quite* what we were expecting

The Absolutely Fabulous icon jokingly credits an unexpected habit for her good health

Joanna Lumley's health advice is not quite what you'd expect
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Based on the latest revelation from Ab Fab’s Joanna Lumley, we think she might have kept a bit more Patsy Stone in her than we initially thought.

Chain smoking, heavy drinking, acerbic Patsy is one of Britain’s best loved sitcom characters of all time – and Joanna’s portrayal was actually inspired by one of the Royal Family  - but you wouldn’t necessarily think of Patsy as a model by how to live.

But it would appear that Joanna Lumley really does carry some of those traits day-to-day. That’s because the Dame – beloved for her roles in shows like The New Avengers and Motherland – has suggested that her smoking habit might be the reason why she’s been remarkably lucky with her health.

Dame Joanna Lumley enjoys a good friendship with Queen Camilla and King Charles

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The NHS might disagree, but Joanna has been quoted in the Mirror as saying, “I am unbelievably fit. Despite, or probably because of smoking. I am never ill. I never have these extraordinary emergency procedures.”

Joanna wasn’t just sharing her very questionable health news out of nowhere.

The BAFTA winning actress was talking all things health as she stars in a new short film, My Week With Maisy, which explores cancer treatments.

In the film, Dame Joanna plays a bigoted pensioner who undergoes chemotherapy for ovarian cancer, and she revealed that preparing for the role and learning more about the treatments people go through was “humbling.”

Joanna Lumley's Ab Fab character was also a chain smoker

(Image credit: Getty Images)

“I have never had to endure things like this,” she explained, of the treatments her character goes through. “And so I felt very humble being introduced to cannulas and things like this and how long it would take and the bags and realising how movement is difficult... like you can't really drag or go off, you know? It was just humbling and interesting.”

While smoking is, of course, considered damaging to people’s health – increasing the likelihood of various cancers and other lung diseases – Joanna shared that she still smokes between one and 40 cigarettes a day.

Something that she’s not planning on changing anytime soon.

She declared that she “loves” the habit and will never quit. In fact, during filming her new short film, she reportedly snuck off for cheeky smoke breaks, happily hanging out on the streets of London.

Joanna Lumley and Stephen Barlow have been married for over 36 years

(Image credit: Getty Images)

While we can’t say it’s health advice to really get behind, Joanna offered some wisdom people could learn from earlier in the year.

She spoke to the Radio Times earlier in 2023 about how she’s made her showbiz marriage last over 30 years.

She said, “I admire my husband. I admire him because he's brilliant. I think he's fantastic. I feel lucky to be married to such a brilliant and amazing person.”

Joanna has been married to classical music and opera conductor Stephen Barlow since 1986.

Her best bit of advice to couples?

“It's important that you don't look down on your partner.”

Jack Slater
Freelance writer

Jack Slater is not the Last Action Hero, but that's what comes up first when you Google him. Preferring a much more sedentary life, Jack gets his thrills by covering news, entertainment, celebrity, film and culture for woman&home, and other digital publications.

Having written for various print and online publications—ranging from national syndicates to niche magazines—Jack has written about nearly everything there is to write about, covering LGBTQ+ news, celebrity features, TV and film scoops, reviewing the latest theatre shows lighting up London’s West End and the most pressing of SEO based stories.