Emily Lloyd, now aged 50, was set to become one of the biggest British actresses in Hollywood at the start of the 1990s. She shot to fame when she starred in Wish You Were Here in the highly acclaimed 1987 movie at the age of 16.
Emily had much success in her career in her teens, including winning best actress from the National Society of Film Critics and Evening Standard British Film Awards, a Bafta nomination and numerous film offers. She was even classed as ‘the next Marilyn Monroe’.
However, her life hasn’t been plain sailing.
Emily Lloyd is the daughter of the late Roger Lloyd-Pack, who is best-known for playing Trigger in Only Fools and Horses. Her mother Sheila Hughes was a theatrical agent. Roger and Sheila divorced when she was just 18 months old.
Last year, she revealed that she was ‘horrifically’ abused sexually from the age of five by her step-father. She lived with her mother and step-father and her half-sister, Charlotte. She lived with her abuser for ten years, until her mother and stepfather split. He died 15 years ago.
Emily kept her abuse a secret growing up but told her mother about the abuse when she was 18.
She told the Daily Mail, “Anything he’d touch in the house I’d wash. I kept washing my hands. I felt so dirty. My mum must have sensed something was wrong because she took me to a psychiatrist.
“I didn’t want to say my sister’s daddy is hurting me, so I kept trying to change the conversation.
“When I eventually told my mum the truth at 18 — that he’d abused me for years — she had to tell my sister. Charlotte told her dad — who was no longer living with us — that hell was too good for him.
“My sister never spoke to him again from the day she found out.”
Emily became a darling of Hollywood when she was 16 and dated the likes of Sean Penn and Val Kilmer. Leonardo DiCaprio came to her 18th birthday party.
When talking about her father’s opinions of her acting career, she explained: “I’d say my dad wanted me to more go down the academic route. When I was invited to Cannes at 16, I was supposed to be sitting my O-levels. My mum said: “You have to go.” My dad wanted me to do my exams.
“I do see my mum’s reasoning. The film had received rave reviews. I got a standing ovation. But I didn’t have those traditional teenage years like my sister, who went to Cambridge — those years when you build friendships. I was living in New York on my own at 17 and then Los Angeles.”
Emily even met Donald Trump in her twenties: “Did I tell you about when I met Donald Trump? We had a drink at a rooftop bar in New York. I was in my 20s and friends with this beautiful Russian.
“My experience was slightly like . . . well, it was kind of like being on a rollercoaster,” she says.
However, behind the glamorous lifestyle, Emily was battling her own issues. She struggled with acting due to anxiety and depression and was diagnosed with chronic insomniac, suffering from memory loss, mild schizophrenia, Tourette’s syndrome, obsessive compulsive disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
She suffered a breakdown during her late teens when she was filming in Pinewood Studios for Chicago Joe And The Show Girl.
Emily explained, “I was trying to play someone who was a psycho. My mind was a pressure cooker,
“I think what pushed me over the edge was falling in love with Gav [Ivor Novello award-winning rock singer Gavin Rossdale] at the same time. I was a virgin. He was the first person I slept with, only to wake up to be told his girlfriend was moving in later that day.
“I took an overdose of anti-depressants. It was a cry for help. I called my mum’s [third] husband before I passed out. He found me in the street.
“I remember at the hospital trying to crack a joke as they put the tube down my oesophagus. Then, when they’d pumped my stomach, I got in a wheelchair and was driving the nurses mad making the other patients laugh. I made sure I was back on set the next day because I didn’t want to let anyone down.
“Maybe you could say I wasn’t protected enough but it’s no reflection on my mum or dad. I know they loved me and they tried their best.
As my dad used to like quoting from that Philip Larkin poem, “They f*** you up, your mum and dad. They may not mean to, but they do.”
Her acting career took a turn in the 1990s, when she turned down the lead role of Pretty Woman and was recast in Mermaids. She was fired from the 1992 film Husbands and Wives due to her deteriorating health affecting her working ability.
She played the lead role in the 2002 film The Honeytrap and played roles in theatre but her mental health was still suffering. She has previously tried to take her own life, began self harming and has been in and out of rehab.
Emily was devastated when her father Roger Lloyd-Pack passed away at the age of 69 in 2014.
However, she became pregnant a month after her dad’s death with then boyfriend Christian, and gave birth to a baby girl called Arabelle, meaning ‘answered prayer’ in late 2014.
She stated her mental health “faded into the background” after having Arabelle. However, she was closely monitored for the first few months after giving birth due to the history of her mental health.
She explained, “Having children wasn’t anything I ever discussed with Dad but having something positive to focus on helped in some way after his death.
“However, at the same time there is sadness that he isn’t here to enjoy her. Sometimes I wish I could share her with him but I can’t.”
When talking about her daughter and her father, she told the Sunday People: “There are times when she reminds me of him. She’s quick to laugh and is very stoic, which I inherited.
“She seems very thoughtful and has a generous spirit. I want to give her the values instilled in me by both my Dad and my Mum.
“But failing that I can always teach her to say ‘Alright Dave!’.”
Emily and Christian separated when Arabelle was two-and-a-half. Christian moved to Brighton and due to Emily’s mental health issues, he was given custody of her. Despite this, Emily could see her child three days a week before lockdown. However, Emily is planning to move to Brighton after lockdown to be closer to her.
Emily explained, “I tell her I can’t be with her all the time because Mummy has to work. Then I have to hear her say: ‘Mummy, if I could give you all my money for you to stop working, I would.’ It’s horrible.
“I don’t know anyone in Brighton but it doesn’t matter. Just the joy of picking her up every day from school — just that is worth it to me.
“There isn’t the help from mental health professionals that there was before coronavirus,’ she says. ‘When you’re not doing anything it isn’t always easy, particularly if you’re on your own.
“I’d have two hours’ sleep and the rest of the time the thoughts go round and round.
“I had time on my hands before, but this sense of quietness is different. It’s harder. I don’t think we will know until this is over the full impact this has had on all of our mental health and emotional state.
“I really try to be strong and shut those thoughts out. If I indulged in them and just sat here and was self-pitying I would just cry for hours and hours and hours.”
She then bursts into Frank Sinatra’s The Lady Is A Tramp. “Sorry,” she says. “I’m just trying to lighten things.”
Emily lost her mother two years ago. Emily worries whether the stress of her separation from Arabelle’s father quickened her death.
She explained, “She was in hospital for several weeks in such pain, I don’t know if she could hear me, but I’d sing to her and read her poems to make her happy.
When talking about her life, Emily said, “That’s not my ending. There’s a new chapter: Brighton and Arabelle once this “nasty virus” — that’s what Arabelle calls it — is over.”
Emily explained she would like to get back into acting: “At times I’ve felt like a bystander, watching the light and shade of my life as if it was happening to someone else,
“I’m ready to reconnect now. I realise I may never again soar so high as I did in the early part of my career. But that’s OK. Maybe this time my wings might not get singed.
“Lockdown gives you a lot of time to think. Before, it felt important, for my acting, to be in the buzz of London. But I’ve had weeks and weeks to reflect. The thing that takes precedence is Arabelle.”