A hellish time awaits Rhona next week after the purchase of some dodgy pills results in her vomiting blood and being rushed to hospital. But worse is to come when a confrontation with Paddy ends with Rhona breaking her husband’s heart. Here, actress Zoe Henry talks about what lies ahead as her character continues to feed her addiction:
How hard is it for Rhona to keep up this façade?
She’s told so many lies at this point that it’s a massive web of deceit. And it’s hard, when you’ve lied so much, to remember what you’ve lied about. And she’s getting a little bit lost in that. But she’ll keep going because the need is too great.
How does Vanessa’s confession about how she feels about her impact on Rhona?
It shocked her initially. She didn’t see it coming and it freaked her out. But she’s having ideas now about how she can manipulate the situation and turn it to her advantage.
What drives her to take the huge risk of taking dodgy tablets?
She’s got to a point now where her supplies have run out. Vanessa has found out about her stash, so there’s no other way of getting any other tablets. Vanessa is controlling it and allowing her to have a certain number in a day, but the addiction has grown and the need gets bigger. What Vanessa is giving her is no longer enough so she needs to find another source.
What happens to Rhona as the tablets start to react with her body?
She gets some dodgy tablets from Gary, who is her dealer, but she’s so blinded by her need that she’ll take anything. Which is what she does. And then starts to feel ill and starts vomiting blood in the toilets at the Woolpack. Thankfully, Vanessa’s there but it terrifies both of them.
Does she think she might die?
I think she does. It’s quite overwhelming, but sadly, once the need kicks in, any sense goes out of the window. She’d probably take them again if she needed to. It’s that bad for her.
How does Vanessa react to what’s happening to Rhona?
She panics and she blames herself. She tells Rhona how much she loves and that she doesn’t want to lose her and she does all she can to look after her. She’s just a great friend, to be honest. I’m amazed that Rhona still has any friends.
What happens at the hospital?
The doctors are onto it straight away. It’s the classic symptoms. The consultant asks Rhona if she intended to take an overdose and she gets quite snappy and tells him that she doesn’t want any help and to leave her alone. She discharges herself, feeling quite shamefaced, but foolishly thinking that she can cope on her own.
Why does feel Rhona feel unable to reach out to the doctor and reveal what’s going on?
This has all become such a monster and the only person who knows about it is Vanessa. And she fears that if anyone else finds out then she’ll lose everything – her baby, her marriage and her job. If she wasn’t struggling with an addiction she’d realise that if would be OK if she confessed to Paddy. He’s a lovely guy and he loves. But it’s become such an enormous beast for her that it’s now out of control. She’s too scared for anyone else to know. And also she doesn’t want to face giving them up. She doesn’t want to give the pills up.
Is she worried that she’ll become seriously ill if she doesn’t get the right care?
She’s worried that it’ll be an enormous struggle to get over it. Which it would be. I think she’s terrified of everything. But she just wants to get the drugs and keep taking them as much as she can.
Does Paddy have any idea about what’s going on?
Paddy knows something’s up – first of all he thought she was an alcoholic, now he’s worried that there’s someone else. She’s moody, she looks ill, she’s withdrawn and she’s forgetful. And anybody would know – nobody could fail to see that something was wrong.
How does she cover when Paddy finds out that she’s lied about being at her mother’s when she’s actually been in hospital?
Once she gets found out, she cries and apologises. But Paddy’s not having any of it. Then she says that she needs space from him and turns it into something that’s about their marriage. So that’s incredibly unfair because it isn’t and Paddy hasn’t done anything wrong. But that’s the only way she can get out of it.
Paddy then books a holiday to save their marriage – what’s Rhona’s reaction to that?
Under normal circumstances she’d be thrilled. But she’s absolutely horrified. Firstly, because the last time they went away she had no drugs. So she got hammered on wine and insulted everybody. And also, it’s panic: Vanessa, her supplier, wouldn’t be there. So how would she maintain what she needs to have? So the idea of going away is just the most horrendous thing for Rhona.
And then Vanessa plans to leave the village while she’s away – how does Rhona feel about that?
She’s distraught. She can’t bear the thought of not having that person there. Vanessa is the only person who understands what’s happening. She may not be giving her the amount of drugs she craves, but at least she’s giving her drugs.
So does she manipulate Vanessa into staying?
She does. And Rhona also puts her own marriage in jeopardy for the sake of keeping Vanessa onside. She almost chooses Vanessa over Paddy.
Is her goal just to get more drugs?
She’s blinded by her addiction. Unfortunately, her only goal is to score more drugs. It’s got nothing to do with her marriage, her friendships or her relationship with her son – it’s all about the drugs.
How unhealthy has the relationship between Rhona and Vanessa become?
Very. It’s gone from being a lovely, long-standing friendship into something that’s not based in truth. Rhona will say anything to get what she needs. She tells Vanessa that she loves her and it’s all lies and deceit.
What goes through her mind when Paddy declares that their marriage is over?
She’s heartbroken. It’s the worst outcome. But she only told him that she wouldn’t go away on holiday with him so she could keep taking the drugs. She’s hurting so much but she’s just numb from the addiction. It’s devastating – it’s just one big dirty mess.
At this point, does Vanessa feel like she’s picked over Paddy?
Yes, Vanessa feels like the chosen one. Little does she know that she’s only been chosen for the drugs.
Do you think Rhona is able to come back from all this?
I hope so. But with terrible situations like this come consequences and something’s got to give – could it be her friendship or her marriage or her job? But she’s in so deep now that she’s not going to come out of this unscathed.
Are you worried that the addiction might kill her?
Yes, it’s possible. She is playing a dangerous game and the consultant at the hospital tells her this in no uncertain terms. If she continues in this vein, then she will be dead.
Would you be sad if Rhona and Paddy split up?
I would be gutted! I love working with Dominic and I really like our characters together. And from a mother’s point of view, I worry about their child. And if Paddy does find out, then it’s an awfully big deceit that he’ll be facing. I think he’d be furious and hurt that Rhona hadn’t told him.