After being trapped in a violent relationship in her twenties, Loose Women favourite and Benidorm star Sherrie Hewson has become the latest celebrity to throw her support behind OK!'s Closet Clear Out campaign.
“It is an amazing campaign to raise awareness about domestic violence,” the 69-year-old says of our partnership with domestic violence charity Refuge. “OK! are really shining a light on this terrible time and giving much needed help and hope for everyone out there who are trapped in an abusive relationship. We must all do what we can to help women and men out of their frightening situations.”
The former Coronation Street star, who shot to fame in the 90s playing ditzy Maureen Webster in the ITV soap, became involved in a toxic relationship with her tormentor, John Rowlands, when she was just 21.
“The abuse went on over a five year period,” Sherrie recalls. “I was told off for wearing clothing that was too suggestive. I remember one summer I was wearing this flimsy top and you could see my bra straps through it. I will never forget how John went insane with rage because he thought I was flaunting myself to other men.”
Get celebrity exclusives, at home tours, fashion and beauty news and clever cleaning hacks straight to your inbox!
Download OK! magazine's FREE app and get all the latest gossip straight to your phone
Get exclusive celebrity stories and fabulous photoshoots straight to your inbox with OK!'s daily newsletter. You can sign up at the top of the page.
But John’s frightening behaviour didn’t end there. “I wasn’t allowed to wear makeup and I had my hair scraped back and wore old baggy jumpers so that I looked ugly and disgusting,” Sherrie continues. “He always said: ‘Nobody is ever going to want you. Look at the state of you. You are nothing without me.’”
Gaslighting was also part of John’s methods of controlling Sherrie. “Everything was always my fault, and John told me that I was going crazy,” she reveals, before adding how the abuse was also physical as well as psychological.
“I couldn’t normally go to the loo without him following me when we were out,” Sherrie explains. “One time at a bar, he was talking to a friend so took my chance to go to the toilet without him. When I went back downstairs, he attacked me with a bat, knocked me unconscious and disappeared. The police did arrive but didn’t want to know as it was classed as a ‘domestic’.”
As well as being terrified of John, Sherrie says the reason she struggled to leave him is because he made her sympathise with him. “He would break down and cry like a baby in a ball on the floor after he had his fill of punching me,” she remembers. “This is the most common thing these bullies do and for some reason you feel sorry for them. That’s how much you are brain washed.”
At times, however, she admits she was driven to almost killing him to end her torture. “I did pick up a knife many times – and anything heavy – but I never had the nerve to strike,” Sherrie says. “Once I did throw a vase full of water and flowers at him from behind but it hit his shoulder.”
Ultimately, Sherrie summoned the courage to escape John’s clutches and ran away during a night out in Oldham, Greater Manchester.
“I ran out of a nightclub as he was dancing with another girl,” she reveals. “I ran down the street but for some weird reason, I stopped at a phone box and rang the club to tell him. He came to the phone and said: ‘I know exactly where you are, I’m going to kill you.’ I ran out into the middle of the road, jumped in front of a taxi and told him to drive me to my brother’s flat in London. The next day my mother arrived and took me away. I’m one of the lucky ones.”
While John has since passed away and Sherrie went on to be happily married for 23 years to her second husband, Ken Boyd, she admits that the traumatic ordeal haunted her for decades.
“I lived in John’s shadow for many, many years. Suddenly you look over your shoulder and you think that person is behind you,” she bravely admits. “I saw his face everywhere. If he wasn’t dead, it would probably still follow me now.”
Coronation Street star Georgia May Foote candidly reveals anxiety medication 'saved her life'
Catherine Tyldesley 'lined up to replace Holly Willoughby on Celebrity Juice'
Today, Sherrie works hard to stop others from enduring what she went through. As well as championing OK!'s campaign, she is also actively involved with Bede House, a community charity helping those affected by domestic abuse in South London.
But despite channelling her pain into making a difference, Sherrie knows she will be forever changed by what she went through. “To this day, I still live with fear,” she admits. “I can’t watch anything about controlling men, factual or fictional. The feelings never leave you.”
Source: Read Full Article