charlie-brooks

Charlie Brooks explains why she left EastEnders for motherhood

hellomagazine.com

Fans will know Charlie Brooks as the EastEnders star who portrayed Janine Butcher on the soap, from 1999 to 2003. Since then, Charlie, 37, has made appearances on I'm a Celebrity, which she won, The Bill, Wired and Bleak House, plus the Christmas special of Strictly Come Dancing, which she also won in 2011. And on Saturday night, fans were thrilled to take a peek inside the actress' house on Through the Keyhole.

Back in 2013, HELLO! spoke to Charlie about her decision to quit EastEnders, and the very tearful reaction she received from her then eight-year-old daughter. In her first interview since filming her final scenes for the show, Charlie told HELLO! exclusively: "Kiki cried her eyes out when I told her I was leaving. She has been on set a lot over the years."

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Charlie Brooks spoke to HELLO! in 2013

The actress also told HELLO! she was scared about the immediate future – but also excited to see what's out there, as well as spend more time with her daughter. "I was so lucky in landing a role like Janine when I was only 17," she said. "I grew up there and the thought of not being there does sometimes frighten me. I have days where I am hugely insecure and question my ability to hack it elsewhere but ultimately, the excitement of the challenge overrules those feelings.

"It is a brave decision for me though. I will miss the financial security. But I can't wait to do all those regular mummy things with Kiki, like picking her up from school and baking cakes. Between the long hours and an hour-and-a-half travelling time either side of my working day, I have missed out on those things."

But Charlie said she will greatly miss her castmates. "EastEnders is like family to me, so I will miss everyone terribly. I am in a very fortunate position and they are leaving the door open."

As the reigning Queen of the Jungle, Charlie flew to Australia to crown the new winner - and Charlie said she watched the series with interest. Talking about the controversy over Rebecca Adlington's anguish on the show, she said: "It says a lot really doesn't it that an Olympian double gold medallist can feel insecure about her figure? There are a lot of women out there who will recognize what she is feeling."