Leah Bracknell's widower reveals the TV show that's helping him cope with grief in heartbreaking post

Leah tragically passed away back in October after a three-year battle with lung cancer.

leah bracknell widower reveals tv show helping grief
(Image credit: Getty)

Leah Bracknell’s widower has opened up about his grief, revealing the surprising TV show that is helping him through it.

Jez Hughes has opened up about his late wife, who played Zoe Tate in ITV soap Emmerdale.

Leah tragically passed away back in October after a three-year battle with lung cancer.

And now her widower Jez has spoken out about his grief and how he is working through it, revealing that Ricky Gervais’s Netflix show After Life has been a help to him.


I've been watching Ricky Gervais' Afterlife,’ he revealed in a post on his Facebook page. ‘I've never really been a fan of his and it was bitingly close to the bone, but there were moments that captured something honest and true.

‘Which I suppose is the point of all art, writing, ritual, ceremony, spirituality- the moment where we are able to step out of the cage of isolation and separateness and into something greater than ourselves and our lives through the magic and resonance of shared experience. These things are never individualistic endeavours, despite the hype that surrounds them nowadays.

‘I've always liked the idea of renewing and rebuilding,’ continued Jez, ‘so to face such a prospect when every fibre in my being is resisting and just wants to go backwards in time is an interesting and painful dichotomy. A theme that kept emerging in Afterlife, and in other stuff I've read of people with similar experiences, is 'I have no choice’’.


Death has that affect, the non negotiable nature of it,’ he went on. ‘When you come that close to it with someone who you share your heart, your bed, your most intimate thoughts and feelings, your dreams, your life path, your memories, your secrets, your soul- you begin to understand and experience death in completely new and visceral way. It's certainly nothing to be romanticised.

‘And you understand that often we have no choice, our excessive belief in free will in modernity is just another illusion, there are fates and forces at work that are far beyond ever our understanding or ability to change or control’.

‘No one expects to become a widower at 46,’ added the dad-of-two.

MORE: Emmerdale’s Leah Bracknell reveals poignant ‘cancer manifesto’ after being given months to live

I share these words to feel them as well,’ he concluded. ‘In the hope that there may be some secret lurking beneath their mundane surface that will help transform the time they are written in.

‘Writing helps lift the unknown into the known, the unspeakable to the relatable. To communicate is to commune with the sacred, in each other and the world. Which is always healing’.

Our thoughts are with Jez and his family.

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...).

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