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The 32-year-old actress described maternal grandparent Helen Sarfas – who took her own life eight years ago – as a "remarkable woman" and a constant source of inspiration.
Revealing her grandmother had suffered with her mental health from a very young age, she told The Mirror: "She was bipolar and committed suicide… after living a very tough, difficult life. Who she was had a deep effect on me and stayed with me and will continue to inspire me."
Gemma – who is yet to start a family – also recalled how her grandmother deferred her own desires when she had children, even though "domesticity suffocated her".
She explained: "She had these dreams and hopes that were put on hold to raise five children whom she loved dearly but it wasn't enough. Family life, domesticity suffocated her and she gave up a lot for them.
"I always felt very moved by that sacrifice, a sacrifice all too common for so many people, particularly so many women."
Speaking at an inquest heard in 2010, Helen's husband Rodney Peacock said his wife had taken her own life because "she was unhappy with the psychiatric system".
Two years before her death Helen told how proud she was of her actress granddaughter who had achieved success through hard work as opposed to privilege.
She enthused: "I’m so very pleased and proud. Success hasn’t come easy for Gemma.
Gemma is about to depict a tale similar to her grandmother's with new flick The Escape, which follows a suburban mother who decides to run away.
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