Nadia Sawalha

Find out why Nadia Sawalha turned down a role with Russell Crowe in Gladiator

Sharnaz Shahid

Nadia Sawalha has revealed that she turned down the chance to star opposite Russell Crowe in Hollywood blockbuster Gladiator. Appearing on Friday's episode of Loose Women, the 52-year-old - who starred in EastEnders for two years - explained how she refused to go and meet with director Ridley Scott because she was worried about her weight. "I got a call from a friend and she said she knew a small role that would be perfect for me and that I just had to fly out and meet this director," she told the panel.

"The first thing I thought was 'Oh my god, I'm going out there and I've practically got the part, this is a dream come true.' It was that movie that had the gladiators in it," she recalled. "I said to myself, 'I can't go' because I thought I was too fat. I pretended I was shooting this great big series and it meant I couldn't go along to the audition." Her fellow panellists Andrea McLean, Kaye Adams and guest Jennie McAlpine, were shocked - with Kaye exclaiming: "You could have been in Gladiator!" Andrea later teased: "From Ridley Scott to diddly-squat." The blockbuster went on to win multiple Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Russell, at the 73rd Academy Awards.

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Nadia Sawalha said she turned down the chance to star opposite Russell Crowe in Gladiator

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Meanwhile, last month, Nadia caused a stir after viewers noticed she has wearing the exact same animal print top every time she appeared on Loose Women. She revealed it was all for an experiment, explaining: "All this started when we had Judge Rinder on, and he told us backstage he's worn exactly the same outfit for every interview he's ever done on television and nobody's noticed. We were saying that would never happen for us. It seems so important what we wear. So we said, let's do a little experiment."

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Gladiator went on to win multiple Oscars in 2001

The star said she had decided to come clean after speculation reached fever pitch - revealing that one fan had even messaged to ask if she was pregnant. "Some of them got really cross and all the guessing has been hilarious - someone DM'd me on Friday and said, 'I've worked it out Nadia, you're expecting a beautiful new one, aren't you?!'" The mum-of-two continued: "We were going to do it for longer than this, but because people were getting upset with us, because we do reveal the inner workings of everything, they couldn't understand why we weren't telling them what was going on with the shirt."

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