Shona McGarty has played Whitney Dean in EastEnders for 15 years, but she is soon set to bow out of the soap.
Whitney has had her fair share of heartache over the years, having been abused by Tony, killed her stalker and suffered a miscarriage.
More recently, she fell pregnant again, only to learn that her baby had the life-limiting condition Edwards’ Syndrome. She then made the difficult decision to terminate her pregnancy before giving birth in emotional scenes.
Ahead of her exit, Shona has revealed exactly why she has chosen to leave the show, admitting that it was ‘the right decision’.
‘It wasn’t an easy decision because I’ve made so many friends,’ Shona told Inside Soap. ‘I’ve seen people come and go, and meanwhile, Whitney has been one of the longest-standing characters.
‘I’ve had so much fun and done so many storylines, some of which have been sensitive, and I’ve been honoured to be trusted with such heavy stuff year after year.
‘So I’m going to be sad to say goodbye to my friends and family, but it was the right decision for me as I want to do other things. After 15 years, I’ve had a pretty good run!’
It seems that Shona may already have her next project lined up, with the actress reportedly being ‘in talks’ for the next series of Dancing On Ice.
Before she leaves the BBC soap, however, there is still more to come for her character, particularly where partner Zack Hudson (James Farrar) is concerned.
This week, the couple are set to have a disagreement over their future, with Whitney set to break Zack’s heart as she admits that she doesn’t want to try for anymore children.
‘Whitney doesn’t want to put her body through another pregnancy, she can’t risk the same thing happening again,’ Shona revealed to Inside Soap.
As Whitney and Zack strive to overcome this hurdle, will their relationship survive? Or will this be the catalyst that causes Whitney to pack her bags and leave the Square for good?
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