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Samantha Womack shares heartache over father's suicide

The ex-EastEnders star was not on speaking terms with her dad

Gemma Strong

Samantha Womack has spoken of her heartbreak following the untimely death of her father Noel Janus, revealing that the pair were not on speaking terms prior to his passing in 2009. The former EastEnders actress, who starred as Ronnie Mitchell in the BBC soap, told the Mirror that her dad's behaviour at her wedding three months earlier had upset her so much that she didn't return his calls. For years afterwards, she blamed himself for his death, but said she now feels "at peace" with what happened. "You can't ever come to terms with a suicide," the 44-year-old said. "You don't know if there was anything that you could have done to prevent it. My father left three messages on my phone after my wedding to say, 'Call me', and I didn't because he'd behaved badly at my wedding."

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Former EastEnders star Samantha Womack lost her father in 2009

Samantha became estranged from her father when she was still a child, but he reached out to her in 1996 and she subsequently invited him to her 2009 nuptials to partner Mark. "He'd behaved badly and it was my wedding day, and as much as I understood that he was in a dark place, I was hurt," she shared. "And so for the first time, I went, 'No, I'm gonna draw a line here until he calls me sober or changes his behaviour.' And I paid the ultimate price." The star continued: "You'll always blame yourself. But it's been long enough now where I can look at his picture and I can smile now. So now I have a sense of peace with him – that's taken me a while to get to."

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The actress shares two children with husband Mark Womack

Meanwhile, in a TV interview with John Bishop this week, Samantha spoke of her shock at being axed from EastEnders after ten years playing Ronnie. "I was devastated because I wasn't planning to leave," the star admitted. "I was waiting to meet the new producer, I'd heard he wanted to take it back to kind of reality, less murders. So I met him the first time and he went, 'She's too dark, so we're gonna kill her.' And I was like, 'What?!' So yeah, I had to drown myself. That was really hard, having to kill someone that I loved."

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