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Cocaine shame Le Vell to 'take a break' from Corrie

CORONATION Street actor Michael Le Vell (49) will be taking a break from the soap while he seeks help for "personal issues", ITV has confirmed.

Le Vell, who has played Kevin Webster on the soap since 1983, only returned to the set of the popular soap a month ago after being cleared of child sex offences.

The statement read: "Coronation Street and Michael Le Vell have mutually agreed that he will take a break from the programme whilst he seeks professional help for personal issues."

Earlier this week, Le Vell admitted to taking cocaine during his trial at Preston Crown Court last year.

He said how he took the Class A drug "in a moment of weakness" in the weeks leading up to his sex abuse trial, where he was cleared.

Although the actor recently returned to the cobbles to resume his role as mechanic Kevin Webster, he wasn't on set last Monday.


On Tuesday he was called into a meeting with the show's executives, following which an ITV spokesperson released the statement about him taking a break.

He's expected to return to Corrie next month but will be warned by ITV bosses this is his last chance after well-known problems with alcohol and drug abuse.

Speaking last night Le Vell blamed his ex-girlfriend for forcing him to reveal his cocaine use – but maintains it only happened once.

"I am not denying it. When you get caught you have to hold your hands up. But believe me I am not a drug addict or a regular user," he said.

The star was cleared of 12 child sex charges, including rape after a high-profile trial last year, and has pointed the finger at a former lover for forcing him to reveal his drug use.

He is now in a relationship with new girlfriend Louise Gibbons (38) and says that he completely regrets taking a Class A drug.

"Stupidly I tried it. It was a stupid mistake. But that episode is all behind me now.

"My life is now back on track, with a great girl at my side, after two years of stress," he said.

Coronation Street has a history of standing by its stars after revelations about drug use.

Actor Craig Charles, who plays popular cab driver Lloyd Mullaney, was temporarily thrown off the soap in 2006 when he was caught smoking crack. But he was given his job back.

Steve McDonald actor Simon Gregson was also asked to leave after it emerged that he was spending €1,200 a month on cocaine, before he returned.

Jimmi Harkishin (54), who plays Dev Alahan, was also written out when he was caught out taking cocaine.