London: Coronation Street’s Bill Roache has claimed that he has slept with a thousand women in his life.
As strait-laced Ken Barlow in the British soap opera, he has managed to chalk up 28 girlfriends in more than half a century on the box.
But in real-life Casanova Roache has been a bed-hopping babe magnet with an amazing string of conquests.
In a remarkably frank interview he claimed to have slept with up to 1,000 women, including a one-night stand with Weatherfield legend Pat Phoenix.
Roache, who turns 80 next month, also revealed how his insatiable appetite earned him the nickname “C**k Roache” among other members of the cast.
He regularly cheated on first wife Anna Cropper because he couldn’t control his sex drive.
He has successfully battled booze and depression – and has vowed never to retire.
Roache, the only original cast member from the first episode in 1960, initially admitted he had slept with “more than 100” women.
But when pushed about whether the real figure was nearer 1,000.
“Well, I’m not denying it,” the Mirror quoted him as saying
“Looking back, I didn’t know any better. But what I did find out is it does not bring you happiness and it is not the way to be.
“I had the opportunity, I indulged it and I can tell you this: it’s not worth it. The pain that it caused, and there’s all sorts of dangers.
“To love somebody, and to make love to somebody that you love is the most beautiful thing in the world,” he said.
He talked about seducing co-star Pat Phoenix for the first time.
“It was just a one-off. It was just something that happened one night when we were together. We weren’t right for each other.
“She invited me round to her flat and we had a few drinks, then one thing led to another.
“At that time, she had a reputation and I had a reputation, and she felt we should meet, as it were. It just happened,” he said.
The pair fell out after a row during filming. He said that Phoenix, who died aged 62 in 1986, didn’t speak to him for two years afterwards.
On the cobbles, Bill has been married four times. In real life he has only settled down and married twice.
Bill says he began drinking following his divorce from first wife Anna in 1974 after she discovered his infidelity. “I regret it deeply,” he said.
“I had the opportunity, but that doesn’t mean I should do it. I had rehearsals up in Manchester from Monday to Friday. The opportunity was there.
“There were plenty of girls around. I shouldn’t have done it. I didn’t have any control over my own sex drive. I didn’t have the strength to control it.
“It depressed me. I’m so sorry for the things that I did. The hurt was the children. I’ll always regret that. Every morning I woke up regretting and hurting,” he said.