Eastenders’ Samantha Womack (Ronnie Branning) ‘I needed to stop and find some peace’

Samantha Womack has explained her decision to leave Eastenders.

The 38 year old actress is best known as Ronnie Branning (nee Mitchell) on the BBC soap but her character’s journey has been a dramatic one. In the last two years alone Ronnie has faced off an abusive father, seen two of her children die and the love of her life, Jack Branning shot and almost killed.

All this emotional turmoil has had a big affect on Sam and she told The Sun, that after crying and screaming in work every day for the past two years, she just had to get out.

The blonde bombshell confessed:

“I worked out I’d been crying or screaming at work every day for six days a week for over two years. Can you imagine how exhausting and tiring that is?”

“You’re crying, weeping and telling your brain something awful has happened, so of course that is going to affect you and your body. My brain may know I am acting, but my body was doing a different thing.

“I needed to stop and find some peace, a bit like Ronnie.”

The recent baby swap storyline also had it’s part to play in Womack’s departure. In it, Ronnie stole Kat Moon’s tot and replaced it with her dead baby, James. Admitting that she didn’t want to disagree with the scrip writers at the time, but did find the scenes hard to handle, Samantha added:

“I didn’t speak out because I didn’t want to say the wrong thing at the wrong time and reignite the situation.

“But now I think it’s important to set the record straight and tell my side. I did find the storyline very difficult to play. It was draining emotionally and physically and by the end I was shattered.”

“Unfortunately, because of the way television is going – and by that I don’t just mean just soap, but reality and also drama – there is a massive consumer need for controversy and high-risk storylines. We may not like it, but the viewing figures go through the roof.”

Samantha’s final Eastenders scenes will air next month and the star confessed that she made some dramatic changes, once she’d finished in the high profile role.

“Ronnie’s blonde locks were the first to go,” Womack laughed.

“I wanted to look different, I had my hair cut shorter and went red. It felt liberating, especially walking down the street afterwards as nobody recognised me.”

Meanwhile, also leaving the soap is hunky actor Neill McDermott (Ryan Malloy). It has been reported that bosses will not kill the popular charcater off, but rather he will go on the run after killing his sister Whitney’s former pimp.