Michael Le Vell, the Coronation Street actor, today admitted cheating on his wife as she had cancer treatment after saying he was “fighting for his life” against child sex abuse claims.
Asked about the breakdown of his 25-year marriage, he admitted having an affair while his wife underwent chemotherapy.
The 48-year-old, who denies repeatedly raping a child, was asked in court whether he had any big “secret” in his life.
His voice shaking with emotion, he replied: “I had several one-night stands throughout my marriage, through difficult times. It eats away at you.”
He said he had “never been man enough” to confess to his wife, the actress Janette Beverley, from whom he split in 2011. Mr Le Vell denied he was putting on a “persuasive performance” for the sake of the jury and said he had felt devastated by the abuse allegations.
“It’s nothing like an acting job,” he told Manchester Crown Court. “You never get put in a position like this. They never teach you to be here and face what I have been faced with for the last two years. No one can teach you that. I’m just here fighting for my life.”
Mr Le Vell, appearing under his real name, Michael Turner, has denied 12 charges of sexual abuse, including five counts of rape, which are said to have begun when the alleged victim was six years old and spanned eight years.
Asked about the breakdown of his 25-year marriage, he admitted having an affair while his wife underwent chemotherapy for breast cancer in 2011.
“I had known her for a long time,” he said. “I was on my own, she was single.”
He said the abuse allegations had left him feeling lost. “I don’t understand where it’s come from,” he told the jury. “It’s left such a big hole in life. I’m like a lost soul and I still want to get to the bottom of why this has happened to me and why I’m being accused of this.”
Le Vell admitted he was an alcoholic and that two attempts with Alcoholics Anonymous to stop drinking had failed.
Eleanor Laws, QC, prosecuting, asked Mr Le Vell if he thought his victim had put on an “Oscar-winning performance” in the witness box. He said his only explanation was that the girl told a lie “that escalated and she couldn’t stop it”.
He told the jury he had never been arrested or cautioned for any crime until the police appeared at the door of his home in Hale, Cheshire, in September 2011. The trial continues.