ITV Coronation Street: Real life of Eileen Grimshaw actress Sue Cleaver – co-star ex, second career and sepsis scare

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Eileen Grimshaw is one of many strong women on the Coronation Street cobbles.

The character is known for being (very) unlucky in love and having a constant rivalry with soap matriarch Gail Platt.

Eileen has been in Weatherfield for 22 years.

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Sue Cleaver made her debut in the role in May 2000, with her first scenes alongside Emmerdale star Chris Bisson, who played Vikram Desai.

However, it wasn’t her first role in the ITV soap as five years before she had played a hospital nurse who was present when Daniel Osbourne was born.

Mum-of-two and Street Cars switchboard operator Eileen is probably best known for her string of relationships, including Dennis Stringer, Pat Stanaway, Jesse Chadwick, Michael Rodwell, and most notably her marriage to killer Pat Phelan.

Away from the cobbles, Sue, who was born in Watford, moved to Manchester as a teenager and was married to James Quinn from 1993 to 2003. The pair share a son, 24-year-old Elliot Quinn.

And James actually appeared on Corrie himself.

Sue and Chris in 2000 as Eileen and Vikram

He has had four different roles on the soap since 1989 – but his most recent and notable as DS Willets.

The character has been involved in the investigation of the blaze at the Rovers in March 2013 and Eileen’s ex Pat’s crimes in March 2018.

Sue is now in a relationship with Brian Owen, who she met on the set of Corrie when he was working as a lighting technician.

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While her big break was in Coronation Street, the soap hasn’t been Sue’s only role.

She appeared in Kay Mellor’s drama series Band of Gold, and also worked in the ITV officers choosing the contestants for shows such as Wheel of Fortune and Busman’s Holiday.

Eileen has had her fare share of unlucky relationships

Now though, Sue also has a surprising second career.

Sue spoke in 2015 about training to be a psychotherapist – and was having therapy once a week herself as part of the process.

She told Soaplife at the time: “I am qualified to take clients and have another 18 months to go before I can finish my four-year course in Analysis Psychotherapy at the Manchester Institute for Psychotherapy. It’s hard work fitting it in with Corrie, but I love it.”

But in 2018 she was forced to defer the final year of her four-year course due to being busy with her harrowing ITV soap scenes.

And, 58-year-old Sue, who has diabetes, underwent a lifestyle change a few years ago.

Sue showed off her weight loss in February 2020

In 2019 it was reported that she had shed three stone after overhauling her diet.

The actress was thought to have dropped from a size 16 to a size 12 to 14 since cutting out gluten and following a low-sugar Mediterranean diet.

Years earlier, in 2011, it was reported that Sue had to be rushed to hospital for treatment after collapsing on the Coronation Street set due to her diabetes.

A spokesperson for Coronation Street told Mail Online at the time: “Sue felt ill on set and was taken to hospital as a precaution.”

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Speaking on This Morning in 2019, Sue told how she had a terrifying scare with sepsis. when she began to show symptoms while on set.

Sue on This Morning in 2019

She told hosts Eamon Holmes and Ruth Langsford: “I didn’t really take it seriously. I suffer with IBS and I thought I was having a flare-up.”

After leaving the set early, she returned the next day only for her symptoms to get worse.

“And then I came back in the next morning at 7:30am and was shooting all day. It was the hottest day of the year and I was on set with a hot water bottle, shaking,” she explained.

“And Melanie Hill (who plays Cathy Matthews) said ‘Sue, look at your feet!’

“And my feet were just blue and purple and I had goosebumps on my arms… I went home at lunchtime, I got into bed. I had socks on, leggings on and thinking ‘Not only have I got really bad IBS, but I’ve caught the flu now.’

However, it was actually a severe kidney infection which had caused the sepsis.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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