EastEnders star left homeless and living in a Travelodge after £25k debt

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    Former EastEnders star Gary Webster has revealed how he was left homeless and bankrupt after being declared bankrupt.

    The actor, 59, found fame playing Graham Clark in the ‘80s in the BBC One soap. He’s also known for his role as Ray Daley alongside George Cole in the ITV comedy-drama series Minder.

    However, in a recent candid interview, Gary recalled how his family ended up homeless after he and his wife racked up debts of £25,000. Along with their two sons, the family also spent months living in a Travelodge.

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    Speaking to Kaye Adams on her How to be 60 podcast, Gary explained how he and TV presenter wife Wendy are now thankfully in a stable financial position. But the actor said it has taken them years to get to this point – with them still paying off some debts today.

    He said: “We are stable and we are working and things are getting better, so we are on the way up, which is lovely, but it doesn’t happen overnight. Nobody gets into debt overnight, it’s over a period of time, so if you’ve been struggling for ten years it will take you about ten years."

    In 1989, Gary shot to fame on Minder. He then bagged other roles including a stint on Chanel 5 soap Family Affairs in 2003. But despite the money being good, Gary at the time was still paying off previous debts.

    He explained: "It was good money, but I was making up for the three or four years previous that I’d got myself into debt and I had to pay off debtors. This was when there were no understanding debt collecting agencies. They were knocking on the door and they would be wanting their money.

    And we lost the house eventually through that, because we couldn’t keep up with the mortgage payments. Anyone who has been through that and worried about the knock on the door or the letter coming on Saturday morning saying you’re going to be cut off on Monday – people don’t do that out of choice, it’s awful."

    Gary, Wendy and their two children then moved into rented accommodation. But they found themselves living in Travelodge hotels for months.

    The actor, currently starring in a nationwide theatre tour of Twelve Angry Men, admitted: "It wasn’t one thing. We had film projects that were going to be financed, they collapsed and one thing led to another.

    "We were coming out of a rented accommodation and were going to go into another one, but that fell through and then we had a period of time where we were looking every day to see where we would be staying.

    “It’s very tough on the children, but we’ve always been open with them and tried to explain that this isn’t because I had been smoking it away or drinking it away, it was just a catastrophic set of circumstances that led us to where we were."

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    Gary also revealed how his homelessness and debt took their toll on his mental health. He confessed: "I lost my father quite young and there’s a grieving period and then you wake up one day and you begin to smile, you begin to laugh.

    “When I’ve been in debt and it’s heavy and you’re struggling, there is no day that you wake up smiling. You are in grief all the time, there is no good day.

    "There was no day I ever woke up when we were travelling from one Travelodge to another that I thought to myself: ‘I’m getting used to this, I can actually function today.’ Every day was a fight, every day was a battle."

    Despite the debt battles Gary said he was relieved his relationship with Wendy, 56 and sons Jack, 24 and Freddie, 20, has not been damaged. He said: "Hopefully Wendy and I are as strong as ever and our relationships with our children are as strong as ever.

    “That is something that I will be most proud of. That the effects of what we went through didn’t sully our relationships together and they still look upon me hopefully favourably."

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