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Inside Bill Roache and daughter Vanya's complicated relationship

Mirror logo Mirror 07/03/2018 Mirror .co.uk
a young boy standing in front of a window: Bill with Linus and Vanya in 1970 (Image: REX/Shutterstock) © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Bill with Linus and Vanya in 1970 (Image: REX/Shutterstock)

While Bill Roache's eldest daughter Vanya described the actor as a "wonderful father" a few years ago, the Coronation Street veteran and his second child didn't speak for years after he split from Vanya’s mother Anna Cropper.

Bill, 85, and actress Anna married in 1961 and they welcomed first child, son Linus Roache, in February 1964. Vanya arrived three years later.

Anna Cropper and woman posing for a photo: The Coronation Street star and Anna Cropper wed in March 1961 (Image: The People) © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited The Coronation Street star and Anna Cropper wed in March 1961 (Image: The People) Following Bill and Anna’s divorce in 1974, Vanya and Linus mostly stayed with their mum while the Corrie actor split his time between London and Manchester and continued to focus on his acting career.

Bill, who has played Ken Barlow in the soap for more than 50 years, later admitted he hadn’t been faithful to Anna.

In a frank interview with Piers Morgan in 2012, the actor said he began drinking following his divorce from Anna after she discovered his infidelity.

Bill with then wife Anna, Linus and Vanya © REX/Shutterstock Bill with then wife Anna, Linus and Vanya “I regret it deeply,” he admitted.

“I had the opportunity, but that doesn’t mean I should do it. I had rehearsals up in Manchester from Monday to Friday. The opportunity was there.“

He continued: "There were plenty of girls around. I shouldn’t have done it. I didn’t have any control over my own sex drive. I didn’t have the strength to control it.

Vanya reportedly passed away on March 2 (Image: Facebook) © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Vanya reportedly passed away on March 2 (Image: Facebook) “It depressed me. I’m so sorry for the things that I did. The hurt was the children. I’ll always regret that. Every morning I woke up regretting and hurting.”

He also admitted he had slept with up to 1,000 women during that time - including Corrie co-star Pat Phoenix, who played Elsie Tanner.

a group of people standing in front of a building: Vanya wasn’t present at court when he was cleared of rape and sexual assault in 2014 - but she did share a message of support for her dad on social media (Image: PA) © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Vanya wasn’t present at court when he was cleared of rape and sexual assault in 2014 - but she did share a message of support for her dad on social media (Image: PA) Speaking long before their rift was healed in 1999, Vanya - then 32 - told the Sunday Mirror that her father had "walked out on the family".

She said: "I don't feel sorry for him at all about this bankruptcy business after he walked out on us. I'm sure as ever he'll manage to land on his feet again and be OK.

"I've lost count of the years since we last spoke. I'm not bothered what happens to him. We have nothing to do with each other after what went on in the past."

William Roache wearing a suit and tie: "I am not proud of myself," he wrote in his autobiography (Image: Yui Mok/PA Wire) © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited "I am not proud of myself," he wrote in his autobiography (Image: Yui Mok/PA Wire) Bill was declared bankrupt in 1999 after suing The Sun for libel over claims he was boring and unpopular with his fellow cast members. While he won, he ended up with substantial legal costs.

Writing in his autobiography, Bill admitted he wished he had spent more time with his eldest two children.

"I am not proud of myself. There is a certain unhappiness that I missed out as a father the first time.

"I'm very close to Linus now, which is great, but unfortunately I don't see my daughter.

a couple of people standing next to a person in a suit and tie: Bill with his daughter Verity, late wife Sara and son James after he received his MBE in 2001 (Image: PA) © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Bill with his daughter Verity, late wife Sara and son James after he received his MBE in 2001 (Image: PA) "She has drifted off in another direction. I would rather not talk about unhappiness because I have such a happy family now.

"She is there, but unapproachable. I never wanted to be a bad husband or a bad father but sometimes things go wrong."

It's unclear when Bill and Vanya began speaking again, but she wasn’t present at court when he was cleared of rape and sexual assault in 2014.

a man sitting on a bus: Anna Cropper welcomed Vanya on 10 February 1967 (Image: Daily Mirror) © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Anna Cropper welcomed Vanya on 10 February 1967 (Image: Daily Mirror) The actor was pictured leaving Preston Crown Court after his three and a half week trial flanked by his first son Linus and children James and Verity from his second marriage to Sara Mottram.

However, Vanya did show her support on social media, praising her "wonderful" dad.

She wrote on Facebook: “My beautiful family, wonderful father and a very happy and truthful day.”

a man wearing a suit and tie: Bill said he has always been close to son Linus Roache (Image: Andy Stenning/Daily Mirror) © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Bill said he has always been close to son Linus Roache (Image: Andy Stenning/Daily Mirror) Bill wed Sara in 1978 and the pair enjoyed a long marriage until her sudden death in 2009 aged just 58. They welcomed daughter Verity in 1981 and son James in 1986. Tragically, they lost their daughter Edwina to pneumonia aged 18 months in 1983.

On Tuesday evening it was reported that Vanya, who lived in Chichester, West Sussex, had died aged 50 on March 2.

Her cause of death is unknown.

The actor is believed to have been granted indefinite compassionate leave from Coronation Street while he mourns her loss. A source said he was "utterly heartbroken".

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