Denise Welch: ‘I pray for Gazza in his battle with alcohol addiction’

Denise has offered her support to former Newcastle United and England star Paul Gascoigne after her own problems with alcohol

gazza-ukDenise Welch has pledged her support to troubled ex-footballer Paul Gascoigne as he battles to stay off the booze.

The actress and TV star said she “hopes and prays” her fellow Geordie stays clean after years of struggles with mental illness, drugs and drink.

Denise, 57, who is three years sober after battling an alcohol addiction of her own, opened her heart in an interview with BBC Tees DJ Paul ‘Goffy’ Gough for the Sunday Sun.

“Gazza is a very generous person, he’s a very generous soul and he wants to be loved,” said the former Coronation Street star.

“He equates being Gazza and being loved with looking after people, which often includes drinks and alcohol and it’s very difficult.”

Gazza, who played for Newcastle United and England, was told by doctors he was an alcoholic 15 years ago, aged just 33.

What followed was the self-destruction of the man who carried England’s World Cup hopes in Italia ‘90.

In and out of rehab since, the Gateshead-born favourite admits to pleading with medics to keep him alive.

But he won himself an army of new fans after documentary Gazza, charting his life, screened at cinemas last week, followed by a Q&A with the star.

Denise said: “Gazza’s also got incredibly serious OCD [obsessive-compulsive disorder] and I know we’re all kind of guilty of saying ‘oh my God look at my shirts all tidy I’ve got OCD’, but he really has got that very badly.

“I just hope and pray that he can sort himself out because deep down he’s lovely person. Alcohol had a grip on me but not in the same way it had a grip on Gazza,

“I’ve seen him yellow before. He’s a serious alcoholic and it’s very sad.”

Denise is no stranger to the headlines herself. Her split from Benidorm funnyman Tim Healy was well documented and she struggled with alcohol until meeting Lincoln Townley, 43, who she married in 2013 after leaving Loose Women.

Now, she says the pair are in a good place after giving up the party lifestyle.

“I’ve been quite honest and open and my marriage breakdown was very public, as was getting together with Lincoln,” said Denise.

“We will be celebrating two years’ marriage in July and we’re extremely happy, our lives have changed beyond all recognition for the better and I couldn’t be happier.”

While Denise has taken a step back, her dad, Vin, is flying the Welch family’s flag of fun.

“He’s a trouble maker,” she said. “A few weeks ago I celebrated three years of sobriety in the same week my dad was barred from the Wetherspoon in Consett.

“One of his mates couldn’t get served, kicked off a bit and was barred. Dad went and bought him a pint and he was barred as well.

“He keeps the flag flying. Now Lincoln and I don’t drink we’re not on the top of ‘oh we must go out with Denise and Lincoln’ list, which suits us fine because we’re quite happy to stay in.” Article Link…

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