Jill Halfpenny felt ‘cursed’ after the deaths of her father and partner

Actress Jill Halfpenny has said she had a “sense of feeling cursed” following the death of her partner Matt in 2017 and after also losing her father at a young age.

The actress, who first found fame as a child star in Byker Grove and has also appeared in Coronation Street, EastEnders, Waterloo Road and won Strictly Come Dancing, has previously spoken about the death of her father Colin, who died when she was four.

In an interview in 2019, she said he had been playing football and had a heart attack. Her partner Matt died unexpectedly in 2017 after a sudden heart attack, aged just 43.

Jill Halfpenny
Jill Halfpenny on the July cover of Prima magazine (Prima/Nicky Johnston/PA)

Speaking to Prima magazine for their July issue, she said: “There was a sense of feeling cursed when Matt died after what happened to my dad.

“Like, how can that happen twice? That drove me to therapy to investigate those feelings because I thought, ‘I’m not going to live alongside that narrative’.”

Halfpenny, 48, won the second series of Strictly with dance partner Darren Bennett in 2004.

Her other TV credits include Channel 5’s The Cuckoo and she has had roles in West End shows Calendar Girls and Legally Blonde.

On how grief has affected her, she told Prima: “I had a lot of unprocessed grief as a child after my dad died.

Jill Halfpenny
Actress Jill Halfpenny (Prima/Nicky Johnston/PA)

“It manifested itself in anger, shame – all different emotions. I was in my 20s when I realised a lot of my behaviour was down to this unprocessed grief.

“I got divorced, I stopped drinking alcohol and then it all seemed so clear – the jigsaw pieces fit.”

Her book, A Life Reimagined: My Journey Of Hope In The Midst Of Loss, will be published on June 20.

“There’s this notion that grief shouldn’t be talked about because it will be upsetting. But I need to talk about it; I want Matt in the room with me. I want to keep him alive in my mind,” she said of her new book about grief.

“Grief has made me a better person. Processing the grief has softened me and I’ve become less judgemental about myself. I am my own worst critic, but I have got better.”

The July 2024 issue of Prima is now on sale.