Barbara Windsor had an idyllic life with her toyboy husband Scott Mitchell before her devastating diagnosis with Alzheimer’s disease.
The EastEnders legend, 82, met actor-turned-recruitment consultant Scott, 57, back in 1992.
They remained dedicated to one another until her tragic death at the age of 83.
Scott had appeared in shows such as Goodnight Sweetheart and Kavanagh QC during his time in showbiz before he stepped out of the spotlight.
The couple first met back in 1992 when she was 55 and he was 29 – Barbara was friends with Scott’s parents and he’d offered to pick her up and drive her to a dinner at their house.
In her book, All of Me An Extraordinary Life, the actress admitted she told him: “You’re a very smart young man.”
She was still married to her second husband Stephen Hollings at the time, but kept in touch with Scott and even helped him out by putting him forward for an acting role.
Barbara insisted he was no more than a friend at the time, adding: “A charming, intelligent and attractive friend, admittedly.”
After her marriage to Stephen hit the rocks, she ended up going out for dinner with Scott and their relationship turned romantic.
She left her husband for Scott and their whirlwind romance turned serious, with them tying the knot in 2000.
In her book, Barbara admitted they had discussed the age gap between them and resolved that it would not affect their relationship.
She wrote: “We did discuss the age gap, but agreed it would be more of a problem for other people than for us.”
As her relationship with Scott thrived, so did her career as Barbara was at the height of her EastEnders fame.
He accompanied her to showbiz events and charity dos and they regularly enjoyed lavish holidays together, jetting off to sun-soaked spots including Barbados.
Scott was also by her side during the bad times, supporting her throughout her battle with the Epstein–Barr virus, which forced her to take an extended break from the BBC One soap.
She returned but left the soap in 2010, making a handful of appearances before her final scenes in 2016.
In 2018, Scott went public with Barbara’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis, revealing she’d been secretly battling the illness for four years.
Despite her struggles, devoted husband Scott stayed by her side.
Confirming her sad death, which came at 8.35pm on Thursday at a London care home, Scott said: “Her passing was from Alzheimer’s/dementia and Barbara eventually died peacefully and I spent the last seven days by her side.
“Myself, her family and friends will remember Barbara with love, a smile and affection for the many years of her love, fun, friendship and brightness she brought to all our lives and the entertainment she gave to so many thousands of others during her career.
“Barbara’s final weeks were typical of how she lived her life. Full of humour, drama and a fighting spirit until the end.
“It was not the ending that Barbara or anyone else living with this very cruel disease deserve.
“I will always be immensely proud of Barbara’s courage, dignity and generosity dealing with her own illness and still trying to help others by raising awareness for as long as she could.”
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