What happened between Ruby Allen and Phil Mitchell in EastEnders? Who was Juley?

A quick recap on the characters' history

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EastEnders revisited the murky past between Ruby Allen (Louisa Lytton) and Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) on Monday 18 March when she offered the Walford hard man money to kill her rapists and claimed he owed her, referring to their shared history with Ruby’s deceased dad, gangster Johnny Allen (Billy Murray), and ex-boyfriend Juley Smith (Joseph Kpobie).

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All this backstory occurred well over a decade ago, meaning some viewers may not recall – or weren’t watching at the time – the ins and outs of the plot, so what actually went on between them?

Why did Phil pay someone to sleep with Ruby?

During her first stint in the show back in 2005, naive teenager Ruby started a romance with a slightly older guy, reformed bad boy Juley. Falling hard for the flashy, streetwise stud, Rubes thought it was true love as she lost her virginity to him despite her overprotective dad’s disapproval – but it later emerged Juley had been paid by Phil to seduce Ruby purely to antagonise arch-enemy Johnny.

Guilt-ridden Juley’s feelings for Ruby grew to be genuine but Phil ordered him to dump her and threatened to tell Johnny about their deal if he didn’t. Cruelly ending their relationship in 2006, Juley was full of self-loathing as he was forced to pretend he never loved Ruby and ended it, laying on the cruelty and leaving her confused and heartbroken.

Johnny found out and threatened to kill Juley if he didn’t leave his daughter alone, and told a shocked Ruby the truth. Juley later tried to make it up to Ruby, but being paid to take your vulnerable girlfriend’s virginity as part of a turf war unsurprisingly proved tricky to get past…

A few months later another incident occurred that was referenced in tonight’s episode: Phil and brother Grant (Ross Kemp) went after Johnny to avenge the murder of Dennis Rickman (Nigel Harman), father of Sharon’s son Dennis, but a showdown saw the Mitchell brothers almost killed by Johnny’s henchman Danny Moon (Alfie’s crazed cousin) that was only prevented when Ruby begged her father to call off the hit, confess to ordering Dennis’s death and stop his constant criminal activity.

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So Ruby was right when she said Phil and Grant owed her their lives, and that she and the Arches boss have a history of helping each other out. But despite her using their past and admitting she still carries the psychological scars of his sick deal with Juley, Phil still refused Ruby’s pleas he commit murder on her behalf. What lengths is Ruby prepared to go to in order to take revenge on her attackers? We’ll find out later this week

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