Cancer Survivor Eileen Atkins Opened Up How Their Friendship With Linda McCartney Helped Her Go Through The Darkest Times

Date September 26, 2018 19:02

Eileen Atkins is a true veteran both of the theater and television industry.  She started her long-lasting and successful career almost six decades ago. But what do we really know about the personal life and struggles of the eminent actress?


Eileen Atkins, a breast cancer survivor

Eileen Atkins, the award-winning actress and talented screenwriter, was honored with a noble title of Dame of the British Empire for her significant achievements in the entertainment industry. But her personal life was not so rainbow as her career.

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Atkins was married twice. With her first husband, the star divorced after 10 years of marriage. He wanted to have children, but Eileen couldn’t give birth despite their attempts.

Her second husband, Bill Shepherd, was 9 years younger than she. They were totally happy in their childless marriage. Sadly, Bill passed away in 2016.

In 1995, Atkins was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was 61. The news was a shock for the actress, as well as for her family. You’ll never get used to hearing such things.

At that time, Eileen felt helpless and depressed. But a sudden rescue came from nowhere.

How her friendship with Linda McCartney helped Atkins defeat cancer

Linda and Eileen had a mutual friend who put them together. It was at the same time when McCartney was diagnosed with cancer too. The women got very close on the basis of common disease.

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Atkins recalled their long phone conversations:

We talked a lot on the phone, and it was a tremendous help to us. Sadly, Linda went very quickly, but she made them keep it from me that she was dying. She was kind and thoughtful to the end.

The actress explained that losing her close friend at the moment in a particularly brutal way made her think about the value of life. Eileen stared the possibility of death in the face when the cancer was diagnosed, but she didn’t give up hope and managed to defeat the disease.


“A friend in need is a friend indeed.” Eileen Atkins and Linda McCartney proved that female friendship is not a fiction. In her 84, Atkins still works and enjoys every single day of her life. We are really happy for her.

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