Joe Swash Convinced Devastating Brain Illness Led To EastEnders Axe
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The pair first met in 2010, but prior to them getting together, Joe had had a difficult few years, after he suffered a devastating brain illness, was axed from EastEnders and declared bankruptcy twice.
Joe, now 40, was first cast as Mickey Miller on the soap back in 2003. While he was only supposed to appear in a few episodes, he ended up staying for five years after proving to be so well-liked by audiences.
But during his time on the soap, in 2005, Joe was diagnosed with a serious brain illness, having been rushed to hospital unable to stand or speak without being sick.
Doctors told Joe he had meningitis and encephalitis - a life threatening condition in which the brain becomes swollen. Joe was admitted to intensive care, but finally - after six weeks - he was able to go home to recover, undergoing hours of physio to enable him to move and speak properly again.
While at the time, Joe took three months unpaid leave from the soap, he believes the illness led to him being axed in 2008.
He told The Sun: "My illness had a massive impact on the job. When I came back I couldn’t find my feet.
"New producers came in and brought in new actors and I got lost down the pecking order.
"Mickey just became light relief – the joker. That’s all right but I’ve got more ambition. I would have stayed for ages if I had good stuff - but I wasn’t getting the work.
Unfortunately for Joe, following his I'm A Celeb victory in 2008, he was forced to declare himself bankrupt, something he would have to do for a second time four years later.
"I fell behind on tax and bills and buried my head in the sand which was the worst thing to do. I should have faced up to it," Joe told The Mirror.
“The second time it happened I was on TV and I felt embarrassed and wondered how I managed to get myself into the situation. But it can happen to anybody.
"I was chucking it away on stuff I didn't need. I went out every night and had a house with a mortgage."
But things certainly seemed to turn around for Joe, after he and Stacey started dating in 2016.
The couple are parents to Rex, three and baby daughter Rose, nine months. They also live with Stacey's sons, Leighton, 10 and Zachary, 14. Meanwhile Joe has son, Harry, from a previous relationship.