Eilish O'Carroll says living apart from partner Marian during lockdown was for the best

 "It was the best thing to do and we were so lucky that we had the ability do that, to say, 'Listen, we both need a bit of space from each other,' and that’s exactly what we gave each other"

Eilish O'Carroll on her one woman show Live Love Laugh

Eilish O’Carroll says living apart from long-term partner Marian during lockdown was the ‘best thing’ for their relationship.

The Mrs Brown’s Boys star said she feels lucky that she and Marian, who have been together for nearly 20 years, could give each other space and that it only strengthened their bond.

The long-standing couple normally live between Cork and Dublin, with them staying in the latter for the first lockdown.

But it wasn’t long before they started to feel the effects of the restrictions and Marian was missing her native county.

Eilish told RSVP Live: “We were in lockdown in Dublin, and about four or five weeks into it - and I’m sure every couple has experienced this - we had that feeling of, ‘My God, I cannot bear looking at you anymore!’

“I don’t mean that in an unkind way, it was just that we were both feeling the fallout from the restrictions. You can only do so much and when you’re repeating the same thing over and over and over again every day, you get so frustrated with it.

“One day I said to Marian that maybe she should go back to Cork and she agreed.

“It was the best thing for us. We were so lucky that we had the ability to do that, to say, ‘Listen, we both need a bit of space from each other,’ and that’s exactly what we gave each other.

“Since then we’re back to normal because she can get back to Cork whenever she wants to now.”

Eilish, famed for her role as Winnie McGoogan on Mrs Brown’s Boys, is currently touring the country with her one woman show Live Love Laugh, which sees the Dubliner share her life story on stage.

“The show is all about my life, growing up in good Catholic Ireland and the impact that has had on me,” she said.

“It’s a very funny story, very real and honest with no holds barred. You’re guaranteed a good laugh and maybe a tear.”

The much loved actress says it’s nice to branch out and do something different to Mrs Brown’s Boys, but added she feels more exposed because this time, she can’t hide behind a character.

Winnie has been a part of Eilish’s life for over two decades now and she revealed that she actually sees the character as a real person.

She said: “I actually see Winnie as a separate human being. She’s very real to me.

“I talk about her like a person I know, and it’s lovely when you can enter a character and completely be them, even down to the way she walks and talks and thinks.

“I’m a very different person to Winnie, but she has been very good to me and very good for me. I love playing her.”

Working with family may sound like a nightmare to some people, but Eilish says the O’Carroll’s know how to make it work.

She stars on Mrs Brown’s Boys alongside her brother and show creator Brendan, nephew Danny, niece Fiona as well as other extended family members and wouldn’t change it for the world.

“We’re not the Little House on the Prairie, don't get me wrong, we have our issues like any other family,” she told us.

“But the beauty of family is that you can have a fallout, it’s not for life, and the next day you can turn up for work and it’s over and done with.

“I am so lucky because we travel so much when we are working, and having Brendan’s children with us, they feel like they’re my kids now too and I have loved watching them grow up.

“I actually recommend working with family. Number one, you can trust them - they might say horrible things about you but you know deep down that they love you!

“I think that’s terribly reassuring, that we really do love each other and we have great fun when we’re together.”

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