The 51-year-old actress became a household name in Britain with roles in Spender opposite Jimmy Nail and Soldier Soldier, and later expanded her fan base when she was cast as Natalie Barnes in the popular drama serial in 1997.
She spent three years on the show, and has now revealed her work on Coronation Street was blighted by a raging cocaine addiction.
Welch admits she started snorting the drug when she was in her 20s, but the problem escalated when she became depressed following the birth of her first son in 1989.
She would take the drug in between scenes, and once even asked her dealer to come to the set and sell her more drugs to get her through the working day.
Writing in her new autobiography, Pulling Myself Together, Welch reveals, “The risks I took were incredible. I was a total wreck… I’d reached a point where I felt taking cocaine was the only way I could survive. I was suffering crippling depression and I’d made myself believe coke was the only thing that could make me cope…
“I’d become the master of getting out of scenes. I’d always be saying something like ‘Don’t you think Natalie would be in the toilet? Or in the… living room?’ It was ridiculous, but this was a particularly awful day and I felt very low. When you suffer with depression it can just hit you like that at any time and I could feel myself slipping. I didn’t have any drugs on me and I knew the only way I could possibly keep going and stay on an even keel was to get some more.”
The actress managed to put her drug demons behind her when she fell pregnant with her second child, Louis, who is now nine.