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Majella O'Donnell: Battling cancer is a ‘piece of cake’ compared with depression


Majella and her husband singer Daniel O'Donnell

Majella and her husband singer Daniel O'Donnell

Majella O'Donnell has her head shaved on TV

Majella O'Donnell has her head shaved on TV

Daniel O'Donnell and his wife, Majella

Daniel O'Donnell and his wife, Majella


The wife of Daniel O’Donnell has said that her fight against breast cancer pales in comparison with her experience of depression.

It’s a piece of cake in comparison with depression. Depression is the worst place in the world to be,” she reveals, despite having a double mastectomy in February to combat her cancer. 

In a candid interview with Gay Byrne on The Meaning of Life, that will air on RTE 1 this Sunday, Majella speaks honestly about her battles with both illnesses.

The 54-year-old, who was diagnosed with breast cancer last July, describes depression as ‘far worse than cancer’ which you can ‘whack with chemo’.

“Depression is like being in the bottom of a well, a very deep well. Like being hundreds of feet down and I’m looking up people looking down at me and I can’t reach the top.”

Majella, who has two grown-up children from her first ‘whirlwind’ marriage, realised ‘things weren’t right’ after the birth of her second child.

“When my son, Michael, was six months old, I learnt that not only was my husband having an affair then but that he slept with somebody else the night before we were married.”

“I was devastated. I was suffering from depression then but I didn’t know it,” recalls Majella who was diagnosed by her GP as having clinical depression when she was going out with 52-year-old Daniel.

After using an internet survey to self-diagnose, Majella attended her GP who diagnosed her with clinical depression and prescribed medication which she is still on.

Yesterday, Majella and Daniel posted video footage of their holiday from their villa in the sun to Facebook with ‘Greetings from Tenerife’, the place they first met.

Daniel’s wife speaks highly of her ‘evolved’ husband throughout the show, saying she ‘envies’ his beliefs.

“He’s not egotistical, he’s very giving. Daniel’s a very simple person, he has a simple faith, he doesn’t question, I do. I envy him that.”



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