British actor Brian Blessed has been his wife's pillar of strength during the most challenging time in her life. All the while having an estranged relationship with a child who wants nothing to do with him.
Brian Blessed’s family issue includes his second wife Hildegarde Neil’s cancer and a daughter who cut him out of her life. Neil is an English actress.
She is known for her multiple roles in the 1972 movie "Antony and Cleopatra," with others including "Macbeth" and “King Lear.”
Brian Blessed marries Hildegard Hope Neil at Woking Registry Office with their daughter Rosalind, 4, present at the wedding, on December 28, 1978 | Photo: Getty Images
WHO IS NEIL?
Neil has 55 credits under her belt and has appeared in numerous television series. The list includes "Above Suspicion," where she played "Mrs. Florence Pennel and “Seaview Knights” as a psychiatrist.
The "Boy Dominic" star also acted in Ben Jonson's play, "Bartholomew Fair," in a Royal Shakespeare Company production at the Aldwych Theatre in London, England.
THE HEALTH SCARE
On a personal level, Neil was born on July 29, 1939, in London, England. She has been married to Blessed since December 28, 1978, and has had multiple health scares.
In an exclusive interview with Express in 2020, Blessed got candid about his wife’s scary health battle. The "Tarzan" star revealed that his spouse beat the disease only to catch pneumonia and COVID-19.
He explained how at one point Neil was left “screaming in pain,” with medical staff being called to assist him in containing her and shared:
"My wife has been in the hospital all year, in and out, I thought she was going to die, but she's come through it."
The “Flash Gordon” actor further explained that Neil had cancer and overcame it. “Hodgkins Lymphoma, and then she went into remission,” he added.
The 84-year-old said she got better but caught pneumonia and the virus. “At one point, I was carrying her on the lawn as she screamed in pain."
His dear love cried in agony before nurses, and an ambulance arrived. However, despite the entire ordeal of experiencing COVID-19 side effects, Neil has fully recovered from her long health battle.
"She's now gardening and walking with the dogs. She's 82, and I'm 84 and strong," Blessed shared. The pair live in Windlesham, Surrey, together and have a daughter called Rosalind Blessed.
Rosalind is an actress and a writer who had the opportunity to play alongside her father in “King Lear theatre play.” However, they have previously worked together on the series “Doctors.”
In January 2015, she shared, "Dad and I have never argued our entire lives." While she and her father seem to have a solid relationship, the same cannot be said about her half-sister.
Blessed has another daughter Catherine Blessed who is rarely mentioned because of their hostile father and daughter relationship. He shares his eldest child with his first wife, Ann Bomann.
Catherine has not spoken to her dad for decades. Blessed opened up about his estrangement with his firstborn for the first time in 2015.
"It's a miserable situation. The last thing Cathie and I did together was to go up Mount Kilimanjaro nearly 27 years ago," he said at the time.
He described the experience as a "great success" and said Catherine did a good job, adding she managed to get to the summit even though she became ill with the altitude and lack of oxygen. Therefore, he had to provide her with a lot of aspirin and water.
Surprisingly following the adventure, when they got back home, Catherine told him she does not want to see him anymore, noting, "You live your life, and I'll live mine."
Heartbreakingly, Blessed added that there was no argument during the exchange, and "that was it." He had not seen his daughter for a good decade before the duo went on that Kilimanjaro trip in 1988.
The reason for the no contact after so many years was, "Give me a wide berth," Blessed shared, adding she felt the need to be in one camp with her mom, to be faithful and be loyal to her. “I’ll be true to my mother,” Catherine told her dad at the time.
Apart from the family drama, Blessed is a renowned performer known for his hearty, king-sized portrayals on film and television.
He was born in 1936 and grew up in the mining village of Goldthorpe in South Yorkshire, England. His father was a miner who wanted a better life for his son.
Blessed showed an acute talent for acting in school productions and, at the same time, had an interest in boxing, a short-lived passion of his.
As a child, he also wanted to go into space, visit Mars, and go on never-ending explorations. "I wanted to go to the Lost World in South America – I was heartbroken there were no dinosaurs, I still don't accept it," he told the Independent in 2012.
More so, he talked more about his acting career, which began in the 1960s on television. Blessed’s first roles included "Z-Cars," "The Three Musketeers," and "The Avengers."
He finally had his big break in 1970 into the film industry with a role in “Country Dance.” Blessed has a unique voice that has landed him roles in animated films.
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