EastEnders: Roxy’s exit is “upsetting”, says Rita Simons

Both Simons and Samantha Womack are leaving the cast of the BBC1 soap

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EastEnders actress Rita Simons has been talking for the first time about the emotional upcoming scenes that will see both her and Samantha Womack leave the BBC1 soap.

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Speaking about the filming of her final episode, Simons – who has played the role of Roxy Mitchell since 2007 – said: “I can only explain it as the most exhilarating and upsetting experience – it kind of goes hand in hand.”

Rumours – yet to be confirmed by EastEnders – have been circulating that both Roxy and her sister Ronnie are to drown in a swimming pool in a dramatic cliffhanger set to be screened at New Year.

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On her reaction to being given her exit storyline by the show’s executive producer Sean O’Connor, Simons told the Sun

 “When Sean brought the idea to me, it was like I knew I was being given a kick, I knew I needed to do it, and I’m a big believer in the universe guiding you to where you need to go.

“Obviously I knew that I couldn’t stay there forever, and I didn’t want to stay there forever. The problem is, because I love everyone so much there and it’s such a family environment, you get very used to being there. I know in my heart of hearts it’s the right thing to do.”

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However, Simons made no secret of the fact that saying goodbye to co-star Womack was emotionally testing: “I’ve spent more time with Sam than I have with my husband and my kids. The thought of leaving her breaks my heart.”

The actress went on to add: “I can’t imagine life without her. She’s my sister. I talk about her like she’s my sister. She’s one of my best friends and she will be until the end now, whether she likes it or not.”

You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s episodes of EastEnders below.

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And visit our dedicated EastEnders page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers.