British actress Samantha Womack has been secretly struggling with crippling anxiety attacks.

The former EastEnders star reveals she battles bouts of nerves which have threatened to derail her career, admitting she has shied away from theatre work because of her problems and often finds it "difficult" to cope with everyday life.

She tells, "I certainly have more anxiety about live theatre because if you don't get it right, you can't go back. I really battle with it a lot more. It started around two years ago - it comes and goes. It's a really strange thing.

"It's not based on any one specific thing, but I think it's more to do with when you get older, you consider everything much more... Some days I can cope with it and other days I find it quite difficult. But what I do now is let people know that's the state I'm in rather than pretend I'm not."