EXCLUSIVE: ITV Emmerdale’s Lisa Riley breaks her silence on heartache after Robin Windsor death

Holding back tears, soap star Lisa Riley says she has been so heartbroken over the death of Robin Windsor that it reminded her of losing her own mother to breast cancer

“It’s a pain like no other,” says Lisa (Image: PA)

After Robin Windsor, Lisa Riley’s previous Strictly partner, passed away, she was devastated and found it difficult to shoot for Emmerdale.

Since Robin’s death in February, the 47-year-old soap actress has been unable to get beyond her loss, which makes it difficult for her to play the fierce Mandy Dingle in front of the cameras.

She made a comparison between her grief at losing Robin and her mother’s death from breast cancer in July 2012. “So to then lose my best friend as well…,” she said. I said to myself, “Why does God take the best?” It hurts like nothing else. Later in 2012, she and Robin became friends while dancing on Strictly Come Dancing.

Lisa and Robin were paired up for the 2012 competition ( Image: Getty Images)
“He was such a big part of my life,” says Lisa ( Image: BBC/Ray Burmiston)

He offered Lisa consolation for her recent loss, to which she replied, “He was such a big part of my life.” I have been days when I was uncomfortable being in front of the camera. I had to put on the Mandy Dingle makeup, put on the wig and eyelashes, and go outside. But it hurts so much.

Along with co-stars Emma Atkins, who portrays Charity Dingle, and Lucy Pargeter, who plays Chas Dingle, she has had support from her boyfriend Al.

Lisa said, fighting back tears, “Everyone at Emmerdale has supported me. I am very grateful to the Dingle sisters for sharing a dressing room. We are six in number. And without words, everyone in that room has been a gift. I have the motivation to keep shooting because of them. They’ve served as excellent treatment.

Lisa in Emmerdale as the brash Mandy Dingle

Lisa and Robin were so close that on Friday at the British LGBT Awards, Lisa was requested to accept an award on Robin’s behalf. It feels strange, she said. I ought to be calling him and asking, “Hey, sweetie, how’s my makeup?” I used to act in such manner. I no longer have it.

Gay man Robin passed away at the age of 44 after a protracted battle with mental health problems. He had also had excruciating back ache.

Lisa expressed her hope that the tragedy may bring attention to the issues facing the LGBT community, stating, “Robin struggled for a while.” Within the LGBT community, mental health problems are commonplace. It is necessary to discuss it. Gay men and women should know that they are able to communicate. They’re not by alone. They are deserving and cherished.

As an ambassador for the mental health charity SANE, Lisa says she is eager to continue supporting the organization in Robin’s memory.

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