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Shaun Williamson revealed in his latest book A Matter Of Facts that he began emailing his eldest child, Gary, back in 2013 after over two decades apart. Now EastEnders’ Barry Evans has addressed the real reason he stayed away for so many years.
They decided to bring up Gary as their own
Shaun explained: “I had finished with her [Gary’s mum], this is before I knew she was pregnant, I didn’t know until three months later.
“So I didn’t abandon her, and by that time I had arranged to go to America because I had worked at American summer camps.
“I said, ‘Look I’ll do what I can to help, but I’m going to America unfortunately’. Then when I got back she had got together with another guy, so they decided to bring Gary up as their own,” he added.
The Extras actor decided to respect their decision until Gary was old enough to make his own decision over being in contact.
Shaun continued: “So it wasn’t really up to me to get involved in that. So it was easy for me to say, that’s all for the best, I lost touch with them anyway.
“One day we just got email and got back in touch. I was more worried about the effect it would have on the children I brought up, but he turned out to be a top bloke and they love having a half brother,” he added.
Writing in his dad’s new book, 32-year-old Gary explained how he had “admired” the actor for years after watching him star in Ricky Gervais’ sitcom Extras.
He penned: “My dad was in fact Shaun Williamson, an actor that I had admired for years, not from EastEnders but from the sitcom Extras.
“Me and my mates had even planned to go and see him when he was in a show at the Belfast Opera House some years before so that we could meet him afterwards. How weird would that have been?’
The actor, who also has a daughter Sophie, 22, and son Joseph, 20 with ex-wife Melanie Sacre, said the revelation was “the most frightening but amazing discovery”.
Speaking to The Sun on Sunday, Shaun said: “When I found out I had another son, I was stunned. I was shaking when I went to meet him.”
The actor added: “He said he never thought in a million years that Barry from EastEnders could be his dad.”
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The Celebrity Big Brother star told how he met Gary’s mother, who remains anonymous, back in 1987 aged 22.
Shaun described how he got engaged after six months while working as a blue coat at a holiday camp off the Isle of Wight.
He said: “It was my first taste of the world of entertainment really, and before that, I worked in a factory. She had a cleaning job and we lived in this tiny flat.
“It just unlocked something in me and I thought, I can’t go back to that life.”
It comes as the actor admitted that his exit from EastEnders back in 2004 was so he could explore new ventures, claiming BBC bosses “wouldn’t really let you do much”.
The comedian, who played show favourite Barry for ten years, explained that it is very different for the soap’s actors today, who are often able to join reality programmes such as Strictly Come Dancing and Dancing On Ice.
Shaun explained: “The reason why I had left [EastEnders) was because I had done ten years of it and it was all I had done.
“It’s not like now where they let people go off and do Strictly Come Dancing whilst they’re still in the show. They wouldn’t really let you do much, so I just wanted to do something different.”
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