Actor Michael Le Vell, who plays mechanic Kevin Webster in Coronation Street, is to take an extended break from the ITV soap after admitting to cocaine use.
In a statement released today, the broadcaster said: “Coronation Street and Michael Le Vell have mutually agreed that he will take a break from the programme whilst he seeks professional help for personal issues.”
Le Vell, 49, was cleared of sex abuse charges in September 2013, but admitted at the weekend to having used cocaine twice last year – once in the run-up to his trial and again following the verdict.
“I’ve always been against drugs and have turned them down,” Le Vell told the Sunday Mirror. “I’ve seen what they can do to people. But I had never felt so low. I knew I was innocent but everything was closing in on me.
“And when someone offered them to me, I just agreed. The first time I ever did cocaine was in the lead up to my trial. I’m so ashamed of what I did. Afterwards I felt so ashamed I never thought I’d do it again. But I did it once more after the trial.”
Now, following a meeting with show bosses, it has been agreed that Le Vell will depart to get professional help, although RadioTimes.com understands that comeback scenes filmed earlier this year will be broadcast as planned.
The actor returned to filming at Coronation Street seven weeks ago, with Kevin not having been seen on screen since February 2013 when he left for Germany to take care of his sick father Bill.