Billie Piper’s West End debut has brought her close to breaking point, she admitted on Monday.

The 24-year-old Doctor Who star suffered attacks of nerves in the run-up to her opening night in Treats at the beginning of March, and was spotted apparently sobbing on the shoulder of her ex, Chris Evans.

She also missed performances through illness, and has told London’s Evening Standard that the past few days have been “amazingly stressful”.

“If I start to think about everything that everybody writes about me, I would probably break – I’m just trying something new and there’s nothing wrong with that and, yes, it’s hard,” she said.

“It’s my first time on the West End stage and I’ve never done it before – it’s hardly surprising that it’s going to be really terrifying.”

Asked whether she had considered quitting the show – as Stephen Fry did in 1995 when he walked out on Cell Mates and fled the country – the actress replied: “I didn’t once think of abandoning it, no. I couldn’t do that.

“But you know, I do understand maybe why [Fry] did. There have been times when I’ve thought: Oh God, I’d love to just hop in my car and drive away.”

The former pop star blamed her recent absences from the play on gastric flu.

She denied crying in the recent photograph of her with Chris, claiming she was “squinting because the sun was so bright”.

She also scotched rumours she is set to marry new boyfriend and co-star Laurence Fox saying: “No. I’m not even divorced yet, so that would be impossible.”