The musician, 54, admitted his wife Louise Harris helped him keep preoccupied during the period at home by giving him a list of chores that he’d never had time for before the pandemic, while he also prepares to make a movie about his life.
Speaking to The Mirror on Thursday, he said: ‘Top of the list was tidying the garden shed. I literally emptied the entire contents of the shed on to the lawn and slowly began to work through them.
Chores: Russell Watson said on Thursday cleaning out his garden shed and doing other tasks for his wife in lockdown kept him humble despite preparing to make a movie about his life
‘My wife wouldn’t let me hang up my gold discs and platinum discs around the house. She says they’re not as nice as paintings.’
Russell, who has performed for Queen Elizabeth II and Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, was forced to take a step back from his career during the Covid-19 crisis as he wasn’t able to hold concerts.
Despite this, he explained that he and his wife have had ‘no bickering or falling out’ while in lockdown, as they make sure to share houshold tasks and cook for each other on alternate days.
Candid: Russell said his wife Louise Harris helped him keep preoccupied by giving him a list of chores and ‘top of the list was tidying the garden shed’ (pictured together in 2018)
Despite his humble home life, Russell is preparing for a film based on his life which he describes as a ‘really exciting’ experience as the people involved are ‘enthusiastic’ about it.
He told the publication: ‘They were comparing it to a modern-day Billy Elliot, because of how I’ve come from the back streets of Salford to performing private audiences for the Pope, with a tragedy in the middle and overcoming that.’
The tenor has spoken openly about his health concerns over the years, and has battled two benign pituitary tumours back-to-back between 2006 and 2007.
In September 2006, Russell discovered her had developed a tumour which was the size of two golf balls after his peripheral vision became blurry.
Plans: Despite his humble home life, Russell is preparing for a film based on his life which he describes as a ‘really exciting’ experience as the people involved are ‘enthusiastic’ about it
Following a trip to LA, he underwent a five-hour emergency operation to remove the eight-centimetre tumour at St George’s Hospital in Tooting.
Just over a year later in October 2007, the classical singer’s vision deteriorated as his tumour returned on his pituitary gland, which was bleeding into his brain.
Just days after his MRI scan, Russell underwent another emergency procedure in Cheadle’s Alexandra Hospital, and later recovered with an extensive rehabilitation programme.
Discussing the two brain tumours he’d had on I’m A Celebrity last year, Russell told his campmates: ‘The second one was the ‘one’, the first wasn’t life threatening, it was painful and I nearly lost my vision.
‘The second one was holy s***, I went home, went to bed and didn’t wake up because of a haemorrhage. My assistant found me, called the paramedics and I knew I was in trouble because the paramedic kept saying “stay with us, stay with us”.
‘We got to the hospital and they operated. One of the most emotional things after I came out of intensive care was this bloke came up to me and said “nice to see you’re doing well Mr Watson” and I realised it was “stay with us, stay with us”.
He went on to explain the moment he had noticed a ‘strip of light’ while in hospital and thinking he was about to die, before the thought of his children brought him back.
Lockdown: Russell, who has performed for Queen Elizabeth II and Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, was forced to take a step back from his career during the Covid-19 crisis
Russell said: ‘I was in the MRI scanner and I could see this long strip of light, like when you’re a kid and you used to keep your bedroom door open.
‘It was a light strip and I was thinking if I go to that door I’m out of here and the pain stops and I’m away and all I could think about was my children and slowly slowly whilst thinking about my children the clatter clatter of the MRI came back and I thought I’m going to beat this.’
The singer is father to daughters Rebecca, 26, and Hannah, 20, from his first marriage to Helen Watson who he split from in 2002.
Illness: The tenor has spoken openly about his health concerns over the years, and has battled two benign pituitary tumours back-to-back between 2006 and 2007
In 2018, Russell admitted he has to take a ‘cocktail of drugs’ every day to keep himself alive.
‘Initially it was a minefield, because I was taking this whole cocktail of drugs to stay alive,’ he told Best Magazine.
The La Voce singer added: ‘It used to get me down, I would get very depressed. I’d go to bed at night but wouldn’t be able to get to sleep – I’d panic because I thought I would die if I fell asleep.’
His world: The opera star has previously said it was the children that gave him the motivation to fight for his life (pictured with children Hannah, then 8, and Rebecca, then 13, in 2007)