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Sammy Winward to leave Emmerdale after 13 years on the soap



Sammy Winward

has reportedly decided to leave the soap after

13 years

. The star is said to be bowing out next year in order to

focus on other acting opportunities

ā€“ but ITV bosses are "gutted" by her decision. "Sammy is the Michelle Keegan of



everyone is gutted she's leaving

," a source told

The Sun

. "She's hugely popular and her character has been a big part in the show overtaking



sammy winward © Photo: Getty Images
Sammy Winward is leaving Emmerdale after 13 years, according to reports

The 29-year-old apparently broke the news of her departure after filming this year's

Christmas scenes

, in which her character Katie remarries Andy Sugden (Kelvin Fletcher). The insider said the producers "haven't decided yet" how Katie will make her exit, but added, "

Emmerdale loves a big death because it's great for their ratings

." Since her first appearance on the soap in July 2001, Sammy has been involved in some major storylines, including a fling with Andy's half-brother Robert, being left in a coma after a car accident, and falling down a disused mine. She briefly took time off air from June 2005 until February 2006 when she welcomed her baby girl Mia.

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