She is set to make a dramatic exit from Albert Square within the next few weeks. And after playing EastEnders favourite Roxy Mitchell for the past ten years, actress Rita Simons has revealed she is ready for a new adventure. "It was mutual, for a start, so you know, I wanted to go. A new boss came in, he wanted us to go, which we were all happy with," she said in an interview with the Herts & Essex Observer. "I had to get out of there, it was weird. I knew I had to get out of there because as an actor I needed to spread my wings."
The 39-year-old first appeared on the BBC One soap back in 2007 alongside co-star Samantha Womack, who plays older sister Ronnie Mitchell. They were introduced as the cousins of Phil and Grant Mitchell and have since gone on to become popular members of the show in the decade since they arrived.
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EastEnders star Rita Simons has said she is ready to say goodbye to Roxy Mitchell
While excited to see what her future holds, Rita confessed she will miss working with her TV family. She added: "All this lot here, they're my family, so it's really hard to break away when you are so attached to your cast members, but I knew I had to go. So when [the new producer] came to me with the idea I was ready to take it - I thought this is the kick up the bum I needed to go. So I have to just take a leap of faith and, yes, it's a big thing for a soap actor, but I have faith. I'll be best mates with them 'til the end."
In August, the BBC confirmed Roxy and Ronnie Mitchell's departures. Following the announcement, Rita took to Twitter to thank all of her fans for their support. "Thanku guys 4 all the continued love & support u have shown me (and Roxy) over the years. I'm so grateful for my time on EE. Love to you all," she wrote, adding: "As the saying goes 'Mitchell sisters… together forever' @Sam_Womack Haaaaa you're stuck with me sis!"
"As an actor I needed to spread my wings," she said
Earlier this year, former co-star and EastEnders stalwart Barbara Windsor publicly criticised the decision to write the characters out of show. "It wasn't the girls' choice," the 79-year-old actress told the Sun. "It's the new producer's decision. I'm sure he will be good for the show, but that is a mistake. When I heard I was shocked." In response, Samantha later tweeted: "Feeling loved and supported by my Auntie P. Love her forever."