Actress Shobna Gulati has spoken about how starring in Coronation Street as Sunita led to her struggling to cope with fame and caused her to suffer from depression.
The actress is leaving the soap having resigned in October 2012. Speaking to The Sun she "Corrie fame made me a recluse. When I handed in my resignation I knew it was the right thing. I hope now I won't feel like I'm living in a goldfish bowl and the stress in my life will be reduced.
"The pressure got too much. I'm pleased just to be Shobna again. When you're in a dark place, there only appears to be one way out. You try not to consider that. I've always tried not to reach that low.
"When a bout of depression hit me I could lock myself away for a week. I lived like a hermit. I'd get racial abuse on networking sites. I've had, 'I hate that P***' on Twitter and people saying I look like a duck because I have big lips.
"I've cried many times about the way people have reacted to me. People felt it was okay to come up to me and say anything. They would say things without thinking, such as how tired I looked or how fat and ugly I looked on TV."
The actress also spoke about financial insecurity saying her salary was determined by how many episodes she appeared in saying "When you're not on screen it can be tight, really tough, worrying. When you don't have a big storyline and don't appear often it's a struggle managing cashflow.
"I've been totally skint and struggled to pay the bills. From the end of July last year to the start of January I had about five episodes. I panicked and cried out of frustration when bills arrived.
"People think we're on huge salaries, but it can be an average wage. Imagine not knowing if you're working from one day to the next, when the outside world thinks you're this megarich soap star.
"Sometimes I felt like a prisoner. I didn't want to face the outside world and the public pressure. I'd cry to the make-up girls, who were lovely to me."
The actress is joining the Loose Women panel for ITV.