Samantha Womack set to leave EastEnders
Samantha Womack is leaving 'EastEnders'.
The 43-year-old actress, who has played Ronnie Mitchell since 2007, has decided to leave the BBC show after new boss Sean O'Connor offered her an exit storyline - which she did not hesitate to accept.
A source told The Sun on Sunday newspaper: "It was felt that with everything Ronnie has been through over the past nine years, it is now time to rest the character.
"She already has a few projects lined up so she won't be off screen for long."
Samantha's on-screen character has been at the centre of some of the programme's most memorable and controversial storylines in recent years, such as the admission that she was raped by her father and the cot-death of her son.
She subsequently admitted that the cot death storyline had a dramatic impact on her general wellbeing.
Samantha said: "What Ronnie has been through is a such a crushingly awful thing to even pretend might happened to you.
"I actually felt ill having to portray it. It was the most horrific four weeks of my life."
Samantha will remain on 'EastEnders' into 2017 and she will leave at the climax of an explosive storyline.
An EastEnders spokeswoman said: "Samantha has created an iconic character in Ronnie Mitchell."
She added: "However, she was recently offered a big storyline which she happily accepted that leads to Ronnie departing Walford. We wish Samantha all the best for the future."