'It's incredibly sad that my Aunty Peggy isn't herself' - Eastenders star on actress Barbara Windsor's dementia
Actress Barbara Windsor's health has taken a "real dip" recently.
Rita Simons - who starred as the legendary actress' on-screen niece Roxy Mitchell in the long-running soap 'EastEnders' until last year - has admitted she's heartbroken by the 80-year-old star's Alzheimer's diagnosis and heard from her husband Scott Mitchell that she's suffering quite a bit with the "dark days" at the moment.
Speaking to the Daily Star on Sunday newspaper, the 41-year-old actress said of her former co-star, who portrayed Peggy Mitchell on the soap: "From what her husband Scott Mitchell said to me, she has had a real dip lately.
"What I have seen is more confusion, which is really devastating to watch because she always had her marbles together and was always the life and soul of the room.
"It is an incredibly sad thought that my Aunty Peggy, which is what I've always called Barbara, isn't herself.
"From what Scott says there are some dark days but they still have good days, too. "Scott is doing an amazing job. I don't know what she would do without Scott."
Barbara's husband Scott announced last month that she has been diagnosed with the disease - which is the most common type of dementia - and she has been in a "definite continual confusion" since she turned 80 last August.
He said: "I hope speaking out will help other families dealing with loved ones who have this cruel disease. Secondly, I want the public to know because they are naturally very drawn to Barbara and she loves talking to them.
"So rather than me living in fear she might get confused or upset, they'll know that if her behaviour seems strange, it's due to Alzheimer's and accept it for what it is."
Barbara has now retired from charity work as well as acting as a result of the disease.