Mrs Brown's Boys star Eilish O'Carroll's 'shame spiral' after discovering love with woman

Eilish, who plays Winnie in the hit TV show, found the courage to leave an unhappy marriage

Eilish and Brendan O'Carroll on Mrs Brown's Boys (Image: BBC Studios/Alan Peebles)

Mrs Brown's Boys star Eilish O’Carroll has revealed her life spiralled out of control after discovering she was in love with a woman.

Eilish, who plays Winnie in the hit TV show, found the courage to leave an unhappy marriage that bore two children before meeting her second husband, who helped her accept her sexuality.

She said: “I felt the shame, I felt I couldn’t tell family or friends this is happening to me so you keep very, very quiet, because you’re afraid you’re going to be judged.

“I eventually did manage to get divorced, I did go to a counsellor and it was to help me come out of a bad marriage, I had two very young children.

“And then I found my second husband who was and still is a lovely man, I mean an absolute adorable human being who made a wonderful step-father.

“Then I came up to my 40s and I was searching for the meaning of life as we do around that age.

Mairead Ronan, Clelia Murphy and Eilish O'Carroll

“And I went off on a spiritual quest. I went on a course and it was really about finding yourself on a spiritual level as well as a physical level.

“And I met a woman there and the very short story is I fell in love with this woman, completely and utterly.”

The 67-year-old tearfully explained that she couldn’t cope with how she felt towards her new lover, as she grew up in an Ireland where being gay was “abnormal.”

She said: “I felt a little bit more than a friend towards this woman and my whole life just went into a spiral because I could not cope with it.

“I could not understand it, because I was totally [homophobic] of course I was, but I didn’t know I was until I was faced with it.

“[Growing up] I didn’t even hear the word homosexuality, it was never even mentioned in our household.

Eilish O'Carroll

“I had never met anybody who was gay, I never spoken to anyone who was gay. How could I be one? That’s abnormal.

“She didn’t know how I felt about her and the only person I could talk to was my husband.

“And I remember him being extremely supportive.

“But the one thing he did say to me was - ‘You have nothing to feel ashamed about’.”

The older sister of comedian Brendan O’Carroll revealed she left her two children with her ex, who was not the biological father of her two sons, to pursue her new relationship despite feeling guilty.

She told RTE One’s Marian Finucane: “I upped and left him and my kids.

“I used to go back in [to the house] to do the housework. I rented a room around the corner and came in every day and did a bit of housework.

“I remember my son coming in one day and the hoover just stopped and I turned around and he said ‘Mum, you can’t hoover up your guilt’.

“Eventually I had the courage to say to myself, ‘I have nothing to be ashamed of'.

“I am who I am and I’m proud of it. And I’m going to start living my life.”

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