Award-winning actress Sheridan Smith has bravely opened up about her journey into motherhood - and her fears about becoming a parent for the first time.

The 39-year-old welcomed her son, Billy, with her partner, Jamie, at the height of the coronavirus pandemic lockdown.

However, the new mum's biggest worry was that she would experience the mental health issues she battled four years ago, following the death of her beloved dad.

Sheridan said: "My dad died and I think things that I hadn’t dealt with caused the big explosion, mentally. It was like a bomb went off in my head.

"Now I feel like I’ve got a second chance at life. It’s such a huge thing to have a baby. If you’ve had a mental health issue in the past, you worry it will rear its ugly head again. I would hate for the wheels to come off."

Sheridan welcomed her first child Billy into the world in May
Sheridan welcomed her first child Billy into the world in May

Not only has Sheridan taken to motherhood like a duck to water, she's also made a powerful documentary about her experiences.

Last year the Cilla star made the brave decision to stop drinking as her comeback saw her career go from strength to strength.

For four years she had battled serious personal problems following her father's cancer diagnosis and her own mental health issues.

Despite winning plaudits for her powerful work in The Big C and for her portrayal of singing legend Cilla Black, Sheridan struggled with the adoration and fame.

She has since admitted her working class background meant she suffered from "imposter syndrome" as she struggled to cope with life in the limelight.

Sheridan has admitted she has struggled to cope with "imposter syndrome"
Sheridan has admitted she has struggled to cope with "imposter syndrome"

Even after she was nominated for both BAFTA and Olivier awards for her stunning work, Sheridan was still gripped by crippling insecurity.

She was already battling depression and anxiety when her dad, Colin, was given his devastating cancer diagnosis in early 2016.

Sheridan was winning critical acclaim for her lead role in the West End musical, Funny Girl, but the pressure of performing every night while also spending time with her increasingly ill father was taking its toll.

One performance had to be cancelled just 15 minutes after it had begun. It was claimed there were "technical issues" and Sheridan has always fiercely denied rumours she was drunk on stage.

With her ailing dad her priority, Sheridan took a two month break from the West End to spend time with him - although "felt terrible" as she thought she'd let down fans who had already bought tickets.

Sheridan was heartbroken when her dad was diagnosed with cancer
Sheridan was heartbroken when her dad was diagnosed with cancer

Colin lost his fight against cancer later in 2016 and Sheridan was struggling to cope.

In an interview with Stella Magazine, the actress said: "I’d been to see specialists about stress and anxiety. I didn’t know what was happening to me."

The tipping point came towards the end of 2016 when Sheridan was a guest at the BAFTAs - and the butt of one of host Graham Norton's jokes.

He said: "We’re all excited for a couple of drinks tonight. Or, as it’s known in theatrical circles, a few glasses of technical difficulties."

The remarks devastated the star of stage and screen and, furious, she responded on social media with a series of sweary and angry tweets, which she doesn't remember posting.

Sheridan was horrified when she was the butt of one of Graham Norton's jokes
Sheridan was horrified when she was the butt of one of Graham Norton's jokes

Sheridan said: "That tipped me over the edge. I just lost it.

"I was in unbelievable distress, trying to keep it all together and then a room full of people in my industry were just laughing at me.

"Honestly, I don’t remember [the tweets]. Drink. Desperation. Humiliation. I fell over the edge."

Determined to carry on, Sheridan's career suffered several setbacks when she admitted sales for her Northern Soul tour were "disappointing" at several venues.

And when she did get on stage at the end of 2018, her antics shocked audiences.

Sheridan was said to have flashed her knickers, encouraged the audience to get drunk and even claimed she would strip off after the interval.

Sheridan at home with her fiance, Jamie Horn
Sheridan at home with her fiance, Jamie Horn

However, her personal life was a beacon of hope for the then-troubled star when she met fiance, and father of her son, Jamie Horn.

The pair got engaged after a whirlwind romance and are settled in their stunning home with their little boy, Billy, 12 dogs, a couple of horses, four donkeys, two pot-bellied pigs and a pair of goats.

Sheridan has been open about taking medication to help with her mental health issues and credits Jamie with being a huge support through her darkest times.

And motherhood is something she has taken within her stride - despite giving birth at the height of the pandemic.

Sheridan said: "It’s the best feeling in the world! I mean, I’ve left it later in life but I think it’s probably the right thing. I wasn’t ready before I met Jamie and now I’ve got this little family and I just feel – I can’t explain it – like a contentment, a calm.

"Maybe I was looking for something in the wrong places and now I feel like I’ve found it in this little boy."

  • Sheridan Smith: Becoming Mum will air on ITV at 9pm tonight.