David Mitchell and Robert Webb star in 'Remain Indoors' sketch
Robert Webb, 48, has admitted that although he was “optimistic” ahead of undergoing open-heart surgery, the star “made sure his will was up to date” and made plans in case he died. The actor, who is beloved by fans of Peep Show and That Mitchell And Webb Look, was suffering from a “mitral valve prolapse” – also known as click-murmur syndrome – last year.
Robert discovered he had an undiagnosed heart murmur, which had exposed a congenital defect, during a routine medical before filming the second series of his and David Mitchell’s series, Back.
He was shortly informed by doctors that he had to have an operation or his heart would fail “within two to six months”.
Robert recalled while discussing the frightening time: “Honestly, I’d been dreading the show’s medical, which isn’t the attitude of a healthy person.
“I’d assumed the pains I’d been experiencing were simply what it is to be 47 – and still caning the fags and booze, not doing any exercise and eating badly.
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“After the diagnosis, I did a week’s filming for reasons I now find inexplicable.
“I think it was the actor thing where the show must go on unless you’re literally about to die – but I was literally about to die.”
Robert went on to admit he gave his wife Abigail power of attorney due to his concerns that he could die.
He continued: “I was optimistic about the operation, but I made sure my will was up to date, gave my wife power of attorney and had a meeting at my publishers Canongate, and said: ‘If it doesn’t go well, publish this book [his novel Come Again] because it took ages to write!’”
Robert also revealed his health ordeal has given him a newfound respect for life.
The star divulged: “I stop to smell the flowers, look at clouds and enjoy my family… the clichés are all true, but you can’t go around being permanently enthralled.”
Robert decided to “get rid” of his “addictions” to alcohol and cigarettes to take better care of his health.
“Long term, getting rid of the addictions was the main thing – I came out with a newfound respect for my internal organs.
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“It gives you a perspective that the work isn’t very important, once you’ve got to a certain level.
“I’ve been reading, pottering, doing housework and exercise, spending time with the kids. It’s all very wholesome,” Robert explained to this week’s Radio Times.
Robert previously admitted his diagnosis was a complete shock at the time.
He told Sky News: “I had absolutely no idea, I just thought, ‘This is what it feels like when you’re 47 years old.
This week’s Radio Times [RADIOTIMES]
“You’re tired all the time’. It turned out my heart just wasn’t working at all properly.
“It was having to do really weird things to keep the show on the road. It had grown in size and had become a strange shape.
“The cardiologist said that was the weirdest looking heart he’d ever seen. It’s amazing it kept going as long as it did.
“It was very close to it just packing up…”
Read the full interview in this week’s Radio Times – out now.
Back airs Thursday at 10pm on Channel 4.
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