Neil McDermott has issued a statement, apologising to his wife and family after he was accused of sleeping with a teenage fan.
The Eastenders star, who plays Ryan Malloy on the BBC soap, is said to have met the 16 year old in a nightclub and asked her to return to his nearby hotel where they later had sex.
The handsome actor told The Sunday Mirror:
“I am so sorry to my wife, daughter and our family for this betrayal. I love my wife and family dearly and I’m distraught that my life is now in tatters due to a stupid mistake.
“I’ve no excuse for my actions but I had no idea the girl wasn’t over 18 as we met in a nightclub. Either way, I’ve caused heartache to those I love most which I deeply regret.
“This was a one-off incident but I’ve let myself down as well as my wife and everyone who knows me. Now I just need privacy and time to do all I can to rebuild my family.”
McDermott is thought to have first met the girl at Glam nightclub in Stockton-on-Tees. She paid £5 to go on stage at the blind date event and have her picture taken with him and she reportedly told fans that he watched her closely as she stood in the crowd.
She allegedly said:
“Ryan just started staring at me through the crowd. It was so obvious that another girl, who I didn’t even know, turned to me and said, ‘he keeps looking at you’.”
“I was a bit starstruck to be honest as I love EastEnders and I’ve always really fancied Neil’s character Ryan.
“I was very drunk, but he was really nice and friendly and not sleazy at all. He just kept smiling at me. At one point he started telling me about his wife and baby.
“As I was leaving the stage, he said he was going to the Parkmore Hotel and that I had to leave with his people. I remember he kept repeating, ‘the Parkmore, the Parkmore’.”
When he invited her to his room, after warning her to tell hotel staff that she was his cousin, she didn’t hesitate to go.
The friend added: “She immediately said yes. Even though she’d only just met him she said it seemed as though they’d known each other for years. He was really lovely and she really fancied him.”
Neil got up early the next morning and said he had to return to his wife and family. The girl said that he even made a point of telling her that he had never cheated before. The pal said:
“She asked him if he felt bad about having sex with her. He said, ‘It’s been done now’, which seemed a bit cold. But then he said “I’ve never done this before’ and she has told me she believed him.
“At that point she said he seemed really sad so she asked him what was the matter. He didn’t answer, instead he just looked away and carried on getting his stuff together.”