Judi Dench discusses her tragic health fight

Judi Dench is an intriguing, humorous, and obviously extremely gifted person who oozes class.

But the Oscar-winning actress has also faced many challenges over the years, including the heartbreaking death of her spouse and a decade-long battle with a ‘traumatic’ vision issue.

Dame Judi Dench has had a tremendous career spanning over 60 years, yet she still maintains that charming youthful expression on her face. Dench has been regarded as one of Britain’s top actors since her professional debut in 1957.

Dench, who was born in England, has had a famous career on theatre and television, having done it all and being praised everywhere she goes.

Despite her pride in her history, the legendary actress dislikes being referred to as a “national treasure.”

Dame Judi Dench attendss a Memorial Service for Sir Richard Attenborough at Westminster Abbey on March 17, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Neil Mockford/Alex Huckle/GC Images)

“For one thing,” she explained to People, “it’s a terrible label.” So dusty, so gloomy. For another, it reduces me to the status of an 86-year-old woman. In my mind, I’m 6ft tall, willowy, and around 39.”

Regardless of whether Dench considers herself a young woman, her personal life demonstrates that she has gone through a lot. And now, at the age of 87, the infirmities are beginning to creep in — as is typically the case with all of us as we age.

Michael Williams, the Oscar-winning actress’s spouse of 30 years, died in 2001. The pair married in 1971 and had a happy marriage until his death from lung cancer. Dench was featured in a devastating interview in 2010 in which she opened out about losing the love of her life.

Dench, fighting back tears, said she would never get over losing her spouse. Michael died at the age of 65.

“He was the most selfless man, and he would never ascribe that to anything between us… Oh, God, he used to make me laugh so hard. “He used to make me howl,” she recalled.


Dench never expected to find love again following Michael’s death. However, the actress has been in a relationship with conservationist David Mills since 2010.

“I wasn’t even prepared to be prepared.” It was all extremely gradual and mature. “It’s just fantastic,” she told The New York Times in 2014.

Dench has stated in recent interviews that she has no plans to retire from acting anytime soon, despite the fact that it is becoming increasingly difficult for her to perform.

Dench has previously spoken about her fight with progressive macular degeneration, but in a recent appearance on The Graham Norton Show, she described how her eyesight has evolved over the last decade.


“It’s become impossible, and because I have a photographic memory, I need to find a machine that not only teaches me my lines but also tells me where they appear on the page,” the 88-year-old performer said of the difficulties she has remembering her lines.

The Oscar winner acknowledged in 2012 that she had macular degeneration, a condition that causes centre vision to blur.

“In response to the numerous articles in the media concerning my eye condition – macular degeneration- I do not wish for this to be overblown,” she told ET at the time.

“This is a condition that thousands and thousands of individuals all across the world are dealing with…because it’s something I’ve learned to deal with and adjust to — and it won’t cause me to become blind.”

While there is no cure, medication can help delay the progression of the disease.

However, ten years later, Dench revealed that her eyesight had deteriorated, making it “impossible” for her to read. She was questioned how serious her condition was in a 2022 interview with Louis Theroux.

VENICE, ITALY – AUGUST 31: Actress Judi Dench attends ‘Philomena’ Photocall during the 70th Venice International Film Festival at Palazzo del Casino on August 31, 2013 in Venice, Italy

”Bad. That’s bad enough. It’s bad enough that you’re hazy. “You’re just a little fuzzy,” Dench replied.

Unfortunately, her poor vision is harming her personal life as well.

“I can’t read the paper now, I can’t do the crossword, I can’t read a book,” she said in 2021 to Radio Times.

Despite the fact that some aspects of acting have become quite tough, the 88-year-old Dame has no intentions to retire.

“I’m not ready to retire.” Because I can’t see, I’m not accomplishing anything right now. It’s a disaster.”

Instead, she seeks assistance from industry colleagues. Fortunately, the well-known actress has a photographic memory.

“You just find a way of getting around and getting over the things that are very difficult,” Dench explained. “I’ve had to find another way of learning lines and things, which is to have great friends repeat them to me over and over again.” So I’ll have to learn by repetition, and I’m hoping no one notices if all the lines are absolutely worthless!”

Advanced macular degeneration is a horrible illness that affects millions of individuals worldwide. It robs people of their vision, and there is no treatment.

I hope that one day we will be able to discover a cure.

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