SUE Cleaver was adopted at birth and met her biological mother by chance as a young actress.
The ‘Coronation Street’ star, 59, – who has played the role of matriarch Eileen Grimshaw on the ITV soap since 2000 – is currently taking part in ‘I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here’ and revealed to her campmates in the Australian jungle on Friday that she had never been her “authentic self” as a teenager and was put in touch with her real mother during her early twenties.
She said: “Acting saved me. I’m adopted, and I had a lot of attachment disorders that I think started in my teens. Trying on personalities like coats, like ‘Is this who I am?’, ‘Does this suit me?’ I was never my authentic self, ever! It was when I was at drama school, so I was about 23 or 24. The Royal Exchange were looking for little tiny parts to be in ‘Oedipus’ that David Threlfall was doing. There was an actor in the show called Michael N. Harbour and when we walked in on the first day, he turned to David and said ‘Oh my God, she’s the absolute double of my wife when I met her! He just said to me ‘What was your date of birth?’, I said ”2nd of the ninth 63′, he said ‘Where were you born?’, and I went ‘Barnet.’ He rung his wife and said ‘I’ve found her.’”
The ‘Band of Gold’ actress went on to explain the resemblance between herself and her biological mother was “uncanny” but knew she had done “what she needed to” as a teenage mother and had managed to have a “lovely relationship” with her ever since.
Speaking to shocked campmates including Scarlette Douglas, Matt Hancock, and Seann Walsh, she added: “You see pictures of her at sort of like 20, and then [pictures of] me and it’s uncanny. She was 16 or 17 when she had me. I think she did what she had to do and I’m glad she did. I was brought up in a very loving family. I’ve got two half-sisters who are both in the business. Kate is huge in animation and Emma was an actress. My mum and my birth mother, we’ve all met and been out for dinner kept in touch and had a lovely relationship ever since. So it’s a nice ending, I’m very lucky. “
Reflecting on her revelation in The Bush Telegraph, Sue noted that she is usually a “private person” but felt “really safe” amongst her co-stars.
She said: “I’m usually quite a private person and I just opened up. I feel really really safe and I think everyone else does. Naturally, these things just come out. It felt good, it felt good to share.”
I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! airs nightly LIVE from Australia on ITV nightly at 9pm – catch up on the ITV hub now.