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 (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab).

“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.

(opens in new tab)

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 (opens in new tab), 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 a digital shopping writer at woman&home—so whether you're looking for beauty, fashion, health or home buys, she knows what the best buys are at any moment. She earned an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London in 2017 and has since worked with a number of brands including Women's Health, Stylist and Goodto. A year on the w&h news team gained her invaluable insight into where to get the best lifestyle releases first—as well as an AOP awards nomination.