EastEnders actress Rita Simons reveals her heartbreak at leaving the soap

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EastEnders actress Rita Simons, known for her role as feisty Roxy Mitchell, has spoken about leaving the show.

The actress announced in August this year that she would be saying farewell to Albert Square after nine years playing the popular character and sister of Ronnie Mitchell, played by Samantha Womack.

Rita Simons, left, and Samantha Womack
Rita Simons, left, and Samantha Womack (Ian West/PA)

Her exit news followed a shock just days before as Samantha revealed she was to exit the soap too.

"I've spent more time with Sam than with my husband and my kids," Rita told The Sun.

"The thought of leaving her breaks my heart. She'd have a day where she couldn't stop crying and I would be really cold and strong and I would look after her."

Rita Simons arriving for the 2014 National Television Awards at the O2 Arena, London.
(Dominic Lipinski/PA)

"Then the next day it would be me who'd be set off and she would be strong."

The paper reports that viewers will be left reeling over the festive season as the sister duo are to be killed off together in a storyline that allegedly seems them drowning.

Samantha has signed up to star in a musical production of The Addams Family alongside fellow soap star Les Dennis, which will debut in April next year.

Confirming Rita's departure, a statement from EastEnders said: "We can confirm that Rita Simons will be leaving EastEnders.

Roxy (Rita Simons) and Andy Flynn (Jack Derges) in EastEnders (BBC)
Roxy (Rita Simons) and Andy Flynn (Jack Derges) in EastEnders (BBC)

"Having joined the show in 2007, Rita immediately won the hearts of the audience in the role of Roxy Mitchell and between her and Samantha Womack they created one of the most iconic duos EastEnders has ever seen.

"Alongside Samantha, Rita was recently offered to take part in the same big storyline that will see the Mitchell sisters depart Walford, but we will not be releasing any further details at this time. We wish Rita all the best for the future."

Following the announcement, she thanked her fans on Twitter for their support over the years.