Soap bosses have confirmed that Brian Conley is set to depart Eastenders after a three year stint on the show.
The star, 62, joined the show as Thomas “Rocky” Cotton, a con-man trying to scam Sonia Fowler into believing that he is her long lost father, in May 2021.
Brian’s character is still in the midst of drama when his departure was announced this week, leaving viewers stunned, and stoking rumours of a behind the scenes feud.
In a clip shared with fans, Brian confessed that the decision to leave had been “tough” but that he was looking forward to new projects.
Despite his abrupt exit, the BBC say they supported the star’s decision to leave and that, despite reports, he hadn’t “demanded” that he were written out of the show.
Brian’s decision to leave the soap may mean he has more time to spend with his family, including his gorgeous wife Anne-Marie.
The pair have been happily married for 27 years after saying 'I do' back in 1996, but have admitted to having a pretty awkward first meeting.
Speaking with OK!, Brian confessed that he wasn’t quite looking his best when they met backstage at a panto.
He shared that he was starring alongside ventriloquist Ray Alan, who had suggested Brian meet an employee of his wife’s he thought would be perfect for him.
Consequently, Ray arranged for Anne-Marie to attend one of the performances – with exclusive backstage access, of course.
However, Anne-Marie was horrified when she met Brian whilst he was covered in full panto makeup.
Brian said: “we both felt a bit uncomfortable, and she was a tad frightened by my overly bronzed appearance! We exchanged numbers nevertheless, and the rest, as they say, is history.”
He added that, while she wasn’t exactly blown away by him, he knew he fancied her right away and said she had an “undeniable allure.”
Brian, who is in talks to embark on a "farewell tour", went on to explain that he’s a pretty romantic guy, and wound up proposing to his gorgeous wife while clad in a full blown suit of armour.
Luckily she said yes to the very elaborate proposal and the pair wed in a private chapel in Buckinghamshire in 1996.
The pair went on to have two daughters – 26 year old Amy and 21 year old Lucy – who are now all grown up.
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