Dame Julie Walters reveals secret bowel cancer battle

She was diagnosed 18 months ago.

Julie Walters
(Image credit: Getty)

Dame Julie Walters has revealed she has been battling with stage three bowel cancer.

The iconic actress spoke out about the health journey to BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire, explaining she underwent surgery and chemotherapy after being diagnosed 18 months ago.

The award winning movie star, who has appeared in smash hits like Harry Potter, Mamma Mia and Billy Elliot, also revealed that when she first heard the news of her diagnosis, she thought there had been a mistake.

Julie Walters

“I was still thinking, 'That's ridiculous, he must have made a mistake'. I couldn't believe it,” Julie admitted.

Speaking on the moment she told her husband, Grant Roffey, about the two primary tumours doctors had found in her large intestine, the BAFTA winner went on, “So I came out and then Grant was waiting in the car because he'd taken me. And I'd say, 'They're worried it's cancer.’”

READ MORE:The importance of early diagnosis when it comes to bowel cancer - discover the symptoms to look out for

Julie Walters

“I'll never forget his face. And tears came into his eyes and I thought, 'Oh Grant!' So I then worried about him, more than [me].”

After having 30cm removed from her colon in hospital, Julie settled down to watch some reality TV, “I said to the night nurse, 'Is Love Island on?' - because we were talking about it - and we watched it together.

READ MORE:‘It is a dream to be in my position’ Deborah James opens up about beating ‘incurable’ cancer

Julie Walters

“It was only a couple of days later I thought, I feel exhausted, and a bit low actually.”

Confirming that her health is on the up, Julie explained, “I've just had a scan, and I know that [I'm] clear,” but went on to add that her next film The Secret Garden could be one of her last

Caitlin Elliott
Caitlin Elliott

Caitlin is Junior News Editor for woman&home, covering all things royal, celeb, fashion, beauty and lifestyle. 


Having set her sights on becoming a magazine journalist when she was a child, Caitlin took on work experience stints at local papers and titles such as Cosmopolitan, Now, Reveal and Take a Break while studying for her Multimedia Journalism degree and has interviews with celebs, reality stars and the Archbishop of Canterbury under her belt (of course, she couldn't resist asking him about Meghan Markle and Prince Harry). 


After leaving uni, she dabbled in fashion PR as a Press Assistant for Arcadia's Topshop before becoming a part of the Now team at Future for her first real job in the world of online journalism, joining the ranks as a Digital Writer in 2019. 


Caitlin went on to add the likes of Woman, GoodtoKnow, WhatToWatch and woman&home to her writing repertoire before moving on to her current role. 


When she's not working you'll find Caitlin sipping bubbles at brunch with her besties, thinking about her next iced coffee, trying to close the rings on her Apple Watch, scrubbing up on her royal family knowledge or scrolling through the Zara app, trying to resist tapping 'check out' again.