Eastenders star Jill Halfpenny shares vulnerable words she told her teen son after partner’s death

Former Eastenders and Coronation Street star Jill Halfpenny shares vulnerable words she told her teen son following her partner’s death.

Jill, 48, has been open about the grief she suffered and how she found happiness again after the death of her partner in 2019.

The EastEnders actress tragically lost her partner Matt Janes when he died from a heart attack while in the gym.

The shock death mirrored that of her dad’s, who died aged 36 in 1979 when she was just four years old, from a heart attack after playing a game of football.


During Thursday’s Lorraine, the soap actress told the ITV presenter how she handled the subject of grief with her son.

‘I said to him, Harvey there will be days where I will struggle more than others, there will be days where possibly all I can do is sit on the sofa with you and watch a movie and cuddle up, because that’s all I’ll be capable of, but I promise you I will be okay.

Matt Janes and Jill Halfpenny

‘But right now I don’t feel okay.’Matt Janes and Jill Halfpenny

In an extract in her new memoir, A Life Reimagined: My Journey of Hope in the Midst of Loss, she’s spoken about turning to alcohol as an ‘escape’ after the death of her dad.

According to The Sun, Jill wrote that she turned to alcohol to help her ‘stop thinking’.

She said: ‘I began to see that I became a different person when I drank and I didn’t always like who I became.

‘For a long time, alcohol had helped me escape, to stop thinking.

‘Conversely, I thought it also helped me access all the things that lay dormant inside me.’

She added: ‘It took me a while to admit I needed help.’

Talking about the AA meeting she attended in 2013 at the age of 38, she went on: ‘I felt a mix of shame and desperation as I approached the door but I took a seat at the back and attempted to take it all in.’

She added: ‘I experienced something I never have before – people, strangers, sharing how they feel.

‘No small talk or pretence, just real authentic feelings.’

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