Veteran actress Hayley Mills has spoken out about her secret breast cancer battle, revealing she was so sick of losing her hair during her lowest point, she asked her son to shave her head and took to wearing wigs so she could hide her health crisis from friends.
The Parent Trap star was diagnosed with breast cancer on her birthday in 2008, and embarked on ravaging chemotherapy sessions, which caused her hair to start falling out, and rather than allow her thinning locks to get her down and reveal she was battling the disease, Mills asked her youngest son Jason Lawson to take clippers to her head.
She tells the new issue of Britain's Good Housekeeping magazine, "I got to the point when I thought, 'To hell with this', so he (my son Jason) shaved my head!
"I had a marvellous wig, which helped, and at night I wore a pink woolly bobble hat because my head got cold."
Mills also admits she refused to burden her friends with her struggle against the deadly disease, preferring to carry on with her life as normal.
She adds, "For me, it helped to keep the news to myself; that's the sort of person I am. I know people who needed to tell all their friends, but, for me, it was a private thing and it helped me to get on with life as normally as possible.
"What I think is vitally important is that when you're given such a devastating prognosis, you feel you can take charge of your life.
"And going through that has made me appreciate everything more - family, grandchildren, the love and opportunities I have. Once cancer happens it changes the way you live for the rest of your life."
But she tells the publication she was devastated when she first learned she had cancer: "It was my birthday when I received the news... I was sitting in the sun by the Hudson River following a routine mammogram when I got the call on my mobile. It was an enormous shock. Suddenly, I looked out at the world as if I'd never seen it before."
But she felt compelled to tackle the disease head on, adding, "Everything felt clearer and sharper. And when you hear that diagnosis, you realise, 'Now I'm going to find out what I'm actually made of'."