Martine McCutcheon has shared a health update with fans alongside a rare snap with husband Jack McManus on Saturday.
The Love Actually actress, 47, spoke candidly about her struggled with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia – a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body.
Her symptoms have led to the decision to take some ‘time out’ from work and social media, as she shared she has been recuperating through walks with Jack and evenings by the TV.
Martine shared a sweet snap with her rarely-seen husband, as he kissed her cheek while they enjoyed an autumnal stroll – with Martine kitted out in a cosy hat.
The former EastEnders actress shared an update to Instagram, writing: ‘Hello! I’ve not been on here much (see my stories) But taking some time out from work and social media was much needed.
‘Infact, it was life changing. I’ve had dates in the diary for work (and the pressure that comes with that) since I was a kid…I’ve never taken time out of work properly before…
Also known as ME – or myalgic encephalomyelitis – CFS can affect anyone, but is most common in women in their mid 20s to mid 40s.
The most noticeable symptom is extreme tiredness, but others include problems sleeping, joint or muscle pain, headaches, flu-like symptoms, and a fast or irregular heartbeat.
Treatments include cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), specific exercises, or medication to target nausea, pain or issues with sleeping.
‘I’ve been in this industry since I was a toddler and to simply have that time away from it all – just for me and my health has been like I’ve sighed the biggest exhale!’
Martine went on to share details of balancing motherhood to son Rafferty, eight, with her chronic fatigue diagnosis.
She continued: ‘Of course I still have the balancing act of managing my CFS and fibro with motherhood and work and all that stuff but I’m going at my own pace, running my own race and I’ve realised the world still spins when you stop and put yourself first…
‘I wanted to share this with you in case any of you feel like you need to put your foot on the break for a while.’
She added that she is: ‘building momentum and getting ready for it all!
‘I’ve just been for my gentle walk with Jack today and now I’m cosying up watching tv with the candles lit.’
Martine previously discussed living with chronic fatigue syndrome ME and Lyme disease amid the coronavirus pandemic in an interview with Hello! Magazine.
The star said: ‘If you have any underlying illness you can’t take risks. As with any chronic condition you can have flare-ups. When I go outside I always have my mask and my gloves and take it very seriously.
‘I have been really good emotionally for a long time and I have felt a lot calmer. It has been good to realise it is okay to do things at your own pace.’
Martine was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome in 2011, and tackled with severe depression.
She previously blamed her hectic work schedule for the start of her health issues.
In April 2017, the actress revealed she was diagnosed with Lyme disease, which causes her lose weight slower than the average person.
M.E. (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) is a long-term, fluctuating, neurological condition that affects the nervous and immune systems.
Martine and Jack married in 2012 and share a son, Rafferty.
The couple married in Italy’s picturesque Lake Como in September 2012, five years after they started dating and six years after their first meeting in December 2006.
Rafferty, the couple’s only child, was born in February 2012.
In December 2016, during an appearance on Loose Women, Martine admitted her friends had helped ‘save’ her marriage to Jack.
She said: ‘I think actually my friends have saved my relationship a couple of times! There have been times without a doubt – I’ve been with Jack ten years now and of course we’ve had or ups and downs – a tough eight years out of ten bless him.
‘But through the trials and tribulations, I think my friends – when I feel I can’t get through to him – have made me see sense.
‘They’ve been like “calm down, you really love him, you two are meant to be together, stick at it”. Nowadays more than ever people just chuck in the towel – everything’s so disposable now.’