Sarah Parish just said some very powerful things about losing a child

The actress has spoken about the death of her eight month old baby daughter.

sarah parish

The actress has spoken about the death of her eight month old baby daughter.

Broadchurch actress, Sarah Parish, has opened up about the death of her eight month old baby daughter, explaining how she and her husband dealt with the heart breaking grief and emphasising the huge impact it can have on a marriage.

The 48-year-old actress and her husband tragically lost their daughter, Ella-Jayne, in 2009, who had battled a congenital heart defect from birth.

‘When you lose a child, you are in such a desperate place you cling on to hope, and you cling on to optimism,’ Sarah explained in an article she wrote for the Daily Mail. ‘When my husband, the actor James Murray, and I lost Ella-Jayne, we tried to do both. But such an incredible loss inevitably puts an enormous strain on a relationship because people grieve in different ways. It would take the most emotionally mature people to be able to cope in that situation, and to comfort one another in the correct way.

She continued: ‘Statistics show that 75 per cent of couples who lose a child end up separating. I can see why. Because when you lose a child, it's a 50:50 loss. Perhaps that's the wrong way of putting it – what I mean is that you both suffer that loss equally, but separately at the same time. It is very difficult to comfort each other because you are enveloped in your own sadness.’

sarah parish

‘I had support from my friends. But at home, Jim and I did things that didn't work for each other. The pressure of grief is such that either you end up separating or, miraculously, you don't. Jim and I have remained together despite some terrible, terrible times. We have our problems like any other couple. But we made some decisions which ultimately helped bring us through to the other side intact.’

Sarah and James reacted in a way that most would not, flying off to Vietnam and Cambodia to do voluntary work in orphanages.

‘It was either that or drink ourselves to death in the pub,’ explained Sarah, ‘and – harsh though it might sound – we needed to escape the sympathy that enveloped us in Britain. It's very easy to think you're the only people in the world to lose a child, but the two months we spent in orphanages gave us perspective.’

The couple now have a six-year-old daughter called Nell, and are focusing on raising money for their organisation: The Murray-Parish Trust, a charity in Ella Jayne’s memory that will fund the building of a trauma centre at University Hospital Southampton.

‘Doing these things has helped bring Jim and I closer together’ explained Sarah. ‘Certainly it has brought a positive out of a negative. We've also come into contact with people we wouldn't normally have met, couples who've also lost children. We've heard about the horrors they've gone through too. I hope that Jim and I have helped people to see that something positive can come out of something tragic. Everybody has their own story and their own journey.’

Jenny Proudfoot
Features Editor

Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.