EastEnders' Shona McGarty quits role as Whitney Dean after 15 years
Actress Shona McGarty is to leave her role as Whitney Dean next year.
Actress Shona McGarty has quit her role as Whitney Dean after 15 years in EastEnders.
The BBC One soap is set to wave goodbye to the long-running character in scenes to air next year, with her exit storyline yet to be revealed.
Speaking exclusively to The Sun on Sunday, McGarty commented: "I have decided to spread my wings and will be leaving EastEnders. I have loved my years in the show.
"I have been trusted with some incredible storylines and have made amazing friendships — and family — which will endure."
The actress's final scenes are set to air early next year when her contract is believed to end and it is currently unknown if the door will remain open for the tragic heroine.
A source told the paper that Shona "is hoping the door will be left open for her character to return one day, but nothing is guaranteed and it is all in the hands of the scriptwriters."
The news comes alongside the story that actress Lorraine Stanley is being written out of her role as Karen Taylor in the soap.
Whitney made her debut in EastEnders in 2008 as she joined the show as the step-daughter of returning fan-favourite Bianca Jackson (Patsy Palmer) alongside the latter's children, Liam, Tiffany, and Morgan.
In her first year, McGarty wowed fans and critics with a hard-hitting storyline that explored Whitney having been the victim of child sexual abuse and grooming at the hands of Bianca's boyfriend, Tony King, played by Chris Coghill.
The character went on to be at the centre of a further gritty storyline which saw Whitney become the victim of sexual exploitation at the hands of pimp Rob Grayson (Jody Latham).
Further storylines saw Whitney enjoy romances with the likes of Arthur "Fatboy" Chubb (Ricky Norwood), Tyler Moon (Tony Discipline), and Joey Branning (David Witts), before going on to marry Lee Carter (Danny-Boy Hatchard).
Whitney and Lee's marriage broke down after he suffered from depression and even assaulted Whitney, later cheating on her and passing on chlamydia to Whitney, which contributed to the miscarriage of their pregnancy.
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Following Lee's exit, Whitney fell in love with his father Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) and they shared a kiss. However, their dalliance went no further after it was discovered by Mick's beloved wife Linda Carter (Kellie Bright).
Further storylines saw Whitney in a romance with Woody Woodward (Lee Ryan) and then saw her fall in love with Lee's friend Callum Highway (Tony Clay), but their romance came to an end after he fell in love with Ben Mitchell (Max Bowden) and came out as gay, but Whitney remained his friend despite their aborted wedding.
In recent years, Whitney became the victim of stalking at the hands of Tony King's son Leo King (Tom Wells), which ended in a scary confrontation that resulted in her killing him in self-defence.
After this, Whitney found love with Kush Kazemi (Davood Ghadami) but he was murdered by serial killer Gray Atkins (Toby Alexander-Smith), who was obsessed with her.
Most recently, Whitney has found love with Zack Hudson (James Farrar) after a one-night-stand saw her become pregnant with their child Peach, but sadly the pregnancy had Edwards' syndrome and omphalocele, resulting in the decision to terminate the pregnancy.
Fans will have to wait and see what Whitney's exit means for her and Zack's romance.
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