Playing Izzy Armstrong on Coronation Street for the past 12 years has helped make Cherylee Houston a household name. Many fans of the ITV soap may not be aware of her inspirational work without the cameras – and her time on the rival soap back in the day.
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Since joining the cast of Coronation Street in 2010, Cherylee Houston has become a favorite face for fans of the ITV series.
For her role as Izzy Armstrong, the 47-year-old actress has received rave reviews from viewers and critics alike – even being awarded an MBE in 2022 for services to drama and to people with disabilities.
More than a decade since she first arrived in Weatherfield as the new love interest for Kirk Sutherland, Izzy has become one of the film’s most popular characters.
Earlier this year, fans were thrilled to see Cherylee return to our television screens once again, after the actress was forced to pause the show due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Andy Stenning / Daily Mirror)
As the Corrie star takes on her role for a new hard-to-beat storyline involving Izzy, we take a look at Cherylee’s life away from the camera.
Cherylee isn’t the only famous face in her family.
The husband of star Tony Hadoke has also appeared on a number of TV shows over the years.
In addition to running the XS Malarkey Comedy Club in Manchester, the actor and comedian has also starred in television shows such as Emmerdale, Shameless and Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights.
Toby even joined Cherylee on-screen when he took on the role of Izzy Fergus’s new neighbor in Coronation Street, who defended Izzy when she threatened to throw the sack if she didn’t return to work despite being covered.
Last year, Cherylee explained how she built her own kit at home to keep working while shielding from the coronavirus.
The actress, the first disabled cast member in the show’s 60-year history, turned part of her home into a TV so her character Izzy could return to the screen.
“Toby and I go around the house and pick up everything like Izzy,” Cherylee explained to The Mirror last July.
“She’s a bit quirky, so anything fun and bright goes in there, including a glitter bunny, three flamingos, and a cactus vase.”
The soap was praised for its plot that exposed the plight of millions of disabled workers during the pandemic and the pressures they face when trying to work remotely while shielding.
Rival soap role
Coronation Street isn’t the only soap that Cherylee has loved over the years.
Long before taking on the role of Izzy, the actress had appeared in British shows such as Holby City, The Bill and even Corrie’s rival, Emmerdale.
In 2005, Cherylee played Jemma Fairbank in Holby City, before appearing in Doctors as Belle Hutchinson and the ITV soap Emmerdale as Maureen Smith.
In addition to her on-screen work, the star also plays Maz in the ongoing BBC Radio 4 series Tinsel Girl.
Before becoming a household name thanks to her soap role, Cherylee appeared in the hit comedy series Little Britain, where she played the girlfriend of wheelchair-bound Andy Pipkin, played by Matt Lucas.
After achieving success in her field, the talented actress founded the Disabled Artists Network Community, which offers webinars and classes for artists with disabilities, and connect them with others working in the media industry.
“Over the past 12 months, as a society as a whole, our attitudes towards diversity and change are really changing,” Cherylee said of the community while speaking to Digital Spy previously.
“As an actor with a disability for 20 odd years, I know how people feel about blocks, so we come up with solutions amicably and we’re starting to see changes.”
For years, Cherylee has been outspoken about her health battles and uses her platform to raise awareness about various conditions.
The actress first suffered from joint pain at the age of 11, she was diagnosed with a rare connective tissue disorder at the age of 23.
Cherylee’s diagnosis of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome meant her joints were unstable and she suffered tissue damage in her muscles and tendons, with the star having to use a wheelchair since her early twenties.
PA Wire / Image Press Association)
This rare condition can lead to sprains, dislocations and constant pain.
Reflecting on living with her health condition in an interview with The Mirror, Cherylee admitted: “I don’t want to be disabled because it has taught me a lot.
“Even though the pain was terrible, it taught me to get over it and it taught me inner strength. I wouldn’t have had the same mindset as I have if I hadn’t gone through it.”
Earlier this year, the actress was awarded an MBE (Member of the British Empire) on the Queen’s 2022 New Years Honors List for her services to Drama and People with Disabilities.
That hasn’t always been positive for Cherylee, however, with the star revealing her condition regularly subject her to abhorrent attacks.
The star was even dubbed a ‘benefit fraudster’ by a man who verbally abused her at her own home.
Speaking of the horrifying experience on Twitter, Cherylee told her followers: “Wow, hate crime has literally knocked on our door today. It’s scary to show hate instincts. of our country without having to think.
“He was very rude to Toby and was clearly disgusted that I wasn’t paralyzed.. Told it was not true and he was going to go paperwork. Evil. Ignorant.”
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https://www.mirror.co.uk/tv/tv-news/corries-cherylee-houston-life-famous-26329831 Corrie's Cherylee Houston life - celebrity husband, poor health and role in rival soaps