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