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Billy Connolly reveals how Parkinson's disease has changed his life - and praises wife for support

The star wraps up his career with a special one-off documentary

billy connolly
Emmy Griffiths
TV & Film Editor
December 28, 2020
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Beloved stand-up comedian Billy Connolly is set to wrap up his career with a final one-off documentary exploring his long and difficult battle with Parkinson’s disease.

The Scottish star began treatment for the illness in September 2013 after previously acknowledging he was starting to forget his lines during his live shows.

MORE: 16 celebrities you'd be surprised to know have health battles

In 2019, Billy opened up about his struggle with the illness, and how his diagnosis made him stop performing in an interview with Chris Evans.

Chatting to the Virgin Radio Breakfast Show with Sky, the legendary comedian spoke frankly about the effects of his medication: "I've stopped performing because of my Parkinson's disease and I've stopped touring. I may perform at some other point but I have no plans to. And I'm quite happy taking my medicine and getting along with it."

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Billy chatted to Chris about his Parkinson's

He continued: "I've started to drool which is a new one on me. This disease gives you a new thing every now and again that you have to deal with and drooling is my latest. I walk unsteadily and my hearing is going and it's bizarre that bits of me have fallen off but it's interesting."

When Chris asked why performing would affect his health and wellbeing, he explained: "It would affect my performance. I don't think the way I used to, I don't think at the same speed as I used to. And because I don't need to. I don't really know if the performance bit has gone because I have to get into the performance mode to see that. I'd have to walk onto the stage and I've never done that."

READ: Billy Connolly feels his 'life is slipping away' following heartbreaking diagnosis with Parkinson's

MORE: Ross Kemp reveals touching last conversation with Barbara Windsor

billy pamela

Billy and Pamela have been married since 1989

The then-76-year-old also spoke about his future. When Chris asked him if he was worried about it, he replied: "No, I find it interesting and people are good to me, my wife is good to me. She makes me breakfast every day and does my pillows at night. Life is good."

Listeners were quick to throw their support behind Billy, with one writing: "The best commute I’ve had in years listening to two of the best people ever! @achrisevans and the legend that is Billy Connolly," while another added: "You are the best interviewer on the radio by far. So sensitive to Billy Connolly. Asking that question just made me cry. You allow them to flow and charm. Brilliant."

READ: Billy Connolly reveals his son is suffering from drugs and alcohol addiction

Speaking to The Mirror in December, Billy revealed further insights into how Parkinson’s has shaped his perceptions of himself and others: “It’s taught me to ask for help. That used to bother me but you have to be brave enough to ask."

He continued: "It enables you to see how nice people are. People are brilliant. It's not because I’m famous. They've often never heard of me. People are basically very nice, given half a chance. It's life-affirming. A lovely thing."

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