O’Carroll’s sister tells of struggle to admit sexuality

The sister of funnyman Brendan O’Carroll has told of her regret that it took her 10 years to admit to her two sons that she was a lesbian.

Eilish O’Carroll, who stars with her brother in hit comedy series Mrs Brown’s Boys, was a happily married mother-of-two who suddenly discovered she was gay just months after her 40th birthday.

But it took Eilish — better known as Agnes Brown’s best friend Winnie McGoogan in the BAFTA-winning show — another 10 years to come out as she struggled to come to terms with her feelings.

Now 60, the Dublin-born actor and playwright, who has two marriages behind her, says she has found true happiness and that her relationship with her long-term partner couldn’t be better.

However, she admitted she is still tormented by guilt that it took her almost a decade to open up about her sexuality to her two grown-up sons.

In a frank interview on RTÉ’s Saturday Night With Miriam, she recalled the moment, three months after her 40th birthday, still happily married and living in Britain, when after signing up to a spirituality course she first felt attracted to another woman.

“I suppose I discovered I was a lesbian at 40. I just fell in love with a woman and my life changed completely,” said Eilish, who told of her guilt at hiding her sexuality from her sons, the eldest of whom is now 40.

“The biggest step is coming out to yourself, embracing it yourself and I was unable to do that. So therefore I feared others would not be able to embrace it, including my sons; that they would reject me. Unfortunately, I didn’t give them the credit they deserved,” she said.


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