CORONATION Street star Tracie Bennett has had many a dramatic storyline on the soap as her character Sharon Bentley.
It seems the celebrated actress has had almost as much drama in her real life as her character, Sharon, on the beloved ITV soap.
Tracie, 60, is a highly regarded actress of the stage and screen with two Olivier award wins and even a Tony nomination under her belt.
Her iconic Sharon returned to the cobbles this year after 22 years off-screen in a very welcome blast from the past.
While she does not share too much about her private life, other than she is an American and British citizen.
In fact, she opened up about having to flee New York at the beginning of the Covid pandemic to get back to the UK.
Things would only get worse for Tracie, who lost 12 friends to the coronavirus and watched some of them die on Facetime.
"I’ve lost 12 friends now. Nobody trains you how to say goodbye to your mates on FaceTime," she told The Sun and other media.
"That was so traumatising," she said about losing eight of her closest friends in a matter of weeks while she was across the Atlantic and unable to see them in person.
She added: "In one way, technology is brilliant.
“But in another way, you don’t want to be saying goodbye to your mate and watching them die on FaceTime, do you? That was hard."
Tracie hit headlines last year when she posted a picture of herself crying on social media sparking concern from fans.
She explained: “But it was all my American mates in the main, I’ve got a lot of older ones too, and it was like ‘Hi, how you doing?’ ‘Trace, Trace, we’re in the hospital, he’s there, you’ve got to say goodbye, he’s dying.’
“I was like 5 o clock my time, and it takes you a while, and suddenly you go on and you have to say goodbye to your mate, and then they die.
“Traumatising. I was like ‘Is this a thing?’ I can’t deal with it. And one after the other, I think in about four weeks, I lost about eight."
Upon her return to Coronation Street, Tracie opened up about the snobbery she faced from other actors about her soap past.
Tracie said: “I had snobbiness from an actor. I can’t tell you who he is because he’s too big.
"Basically, what they were saying is, 'well, you know, soaps are all right, but I have to say it’s not what I think acting’s about.'
"And I just thought - 'try doing 20 scenes with suicide and alcoholism on the same day, scene after scene after scene. Try doing those costume changes!'"
Tracie's West End credits include playing Judy Garland in the first production of End of the Rаinbow, Hairspray, Chicago, Les Misérables, Blood Brothers and She Loves Me, which landed her a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Supporting Performance in a Musical.
She first appeared at Weatherfield in 1982 as the foster child of Rita and Len Fairclough.
Sharon left Corrie the same year, but quickly returned for a brief stint in the following where she learned Len had died in a car accident.
After only a few days, Sharon left again for what would the first of two long hiatuses from the show.
The character returned in 1999 and then again for her brief 2021 appearance on the cobbles.
Sharon made a comeback to stop Leanne Battersby from testifying against her drug dealer nephew Harvey.
This week Harvey made his return after escaping from prison - and went to kill Leanne.
But in the skirmish he ended up falling into the opening sinkhole on the cobbles.
However after Harvey plunged into the sinkhole, a mysterious figure lingered in the background.
Fans are convinced the ghoul was Sharon in disguise and the infamous villain has not left Weatherfield after all.
Alongside Corrie, Tracie's other TV credits include, hospital drama Casualty, Heartbeat, Next of Kin and many more.
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