EastEnders favourite Samantha Womack has spoken for the first time of reprising her role as Ronnie Mitchell saying: “Well I’ve missed playing her and I know the fans have too — every day since I left I’ve had messages saying ‘we missing Ronnie. Send her back.”
The 40-year-old left two years ago explaining the toll it took on her two years ago when she featured in a hugely controversial storyline of her abducting Kat Slater’s baby Tommy and replacing him with her own baby who had died in a cot death.
“It was a brilliant plot line but very difficult to play” she reflects in an exclusive interview with ! “It was draining emotionally and physically and by the end I was shattered with all the crying and weeping…”
Talking about her return she the mother-of-two adds: “It all started to feel like it was unfinished business. I even got a bit jealous not seeing her on screen. I’ve really missed the cast too. They’re like my extended family so it feels like your first day at school.”
“Ronnie was a broken bird at the end but after serving time in prison she’ll be steely and a bit of a matriarch with a lot more power and backbone. She’s found her old inner strength. A bit like me.”
Looking relaxed and at peace at a detox retreat where she is recharging her batteries ahead of her return to Albery Square Sam, is searingly honest as she also opens up about dealing with her grief over the suicide of the father she adored and her relationship with her actor husband Mark.
“Dad was 60 when he took his own life. It’s very hard to be the child of someone who does that.”
On Mark, the father of her children with whom she has been with for 14-years, she tells !: “Over the years, we’ve grown together. Like any couple, we argue a lot, as we are polar opposites. I am very open and Mark very private, but he keeps me grounded and I drive him crazy.”
The full interview can be seen in this weeks edition of ! Magazine out now.