Fans of Hollyoaks will be gutted to wake up this morning to the news that Claire Cooper has quit the award-winning Channel 4 soap.
Claire, who plays feisty Jacqui McQueen, has been in the popular soap for the last six years and, along with her pinnacle family, has embarked on some of the most hard-hitting, cutting edge storylines.
Most recently was the epic Enjoy The Ride wedding day bush crash which claimed the life of her husband, Rhys Ashworth (Andy Moss), as well as the revelation in the aftermath that he had been cheating on her and got her cousin’s girlfriend, Sinead O’Connor (Stephanie Davis) pregnant.
Viewers watched with broken hearts as Claire portrayed the balance between guilt and anger superbly, displaying some of the most dramatic scenes throughout the entire storyline.
Other gripping moments involving Jacqui have included been raped by her friend Gilly Roach and held hostage, along with her other siblings, in an abandoned church by her half-brother.
However, despite her character being one of the most popular on the show since she joined the cast back in 2006, Claire has decided to bow out in order to “explore other avenues”, according to the Sun newspaper.
Speaking to the publication, the actress confirmed:
“I have had the most incredible and unforgettable time at Hollyoaks.
“Jacqui McQueen has been a fascinating part to play and I have nothing but gratitude to Channel 4 and Hollyoaks for giving me the opportunity.
“It’s sad that I’m leaving when Hollyoaks is at such a high-point, but it’s the right time for me personally to explore other avenues and see what other stories I can tell.”
The details of Claire’s exit, which is said to be shown in April, remain unknown at this point. But, with her ex-con friend, Trudy (Daniella Westbrook) back in her life, and already trying to cause the matriarch McQueen trouble, it may be a fair bet to say she is involved Jacqui’s exit somehow.
This news may not be completely shocking for some diehard fans who are clued up on the actresses’ personal life!
Claire has been dating Hollyoaks favourite, Emmett J Scanlan who plays Brendan Brady since last year and, as fans will know, Emmett announced his decision to leave the Channel 4 soap earlier this year, with his final scenes to be screened next month, in order to pursue new projects in America.
Watch Claire behind the scenes of the Enjoy The Ride trailer in the clip below:
Hollyoaks can be seen weeknights at 6.30pm on Channel 4/ Channel 4 HD.