Great Britain

EastEnders’ Rita Simons says she suffered a breakdown during her divorce and wanted to throw herself down the stairs

EX-EASTENDERS star Rita Simons has revealed she suffered a nervous breakdown when she divorced her ex Theo Silverston after 14 years of marriage.

The Roxy Mitchell actress, who was then starring in play The House On Cold Hill, said things got so tough in 2019 she imagined throwing herself down stairs so that she could be hospitalised, take a break from work and get to see her kids.

The mum-of-two shared: "I don’t think I’d have survived without help. There were days where, I wouldn’t say I was suicidal, because I’ve never got to that point and I would never do it, but I was aware life would be better dead than alive, because I couldn’t see my kids and I was so far from home.

"My mind went to some major dark places. When I was on tour with a Peter James play I’d enter stage from a tall flight of stairs and I’d think, “If I just accidentally fall I could go to hospital and someone can look after me.” Then I’d snap out of it and think, 'You’re an idiot.'

"It was scary to even have those thoughts. I can say it was one of the worst times of my life."

Rita, the niece of Lord Sugar, and hairdresser Theo met as teenagers in North London's Jewish community, but she eventually began to feel trapped in their marriage.

After almost two decades together she said she felt she had changed and needed to make a fresh start.

She told the Mirror: "We met when we were 19 and you change. People look at you and think, 'You need to make it work,' but I didn’t want to because I’d changed so much as all humans do.

"Because I come from quite a big Jewish community, you feel you shouldn’t go against the grain and make decisions like getting divorced.

"I always felt I was judged a little bit. We both realised in the end we were mates and we could be happier elsewhere. Theo didn’t agree at first but he did understand in the end."

Rita said she is still friends with Theo but and admitted she had no tears left to cry when her divorce papers came through.

She added: "I didn’t get emotional because I’ve done so much crying over this whole thing – I used all my tears up when I was having my breakdown."

Rita previously revealed she lost over a stone in weight during her depression, as she bravely opened up about her divorce and health battle in an interview with OK! Magazine.

The I'm A Celeb star knew her marriage was ending when she was in the jungle in 2018 and the couple secretly split in 2019, during which time her weight plunged as she was so unhappy.

She said: "I was working non-stop and doing well but I was desperately unhappy – not that anyone would have known.

"I had so much going on at home I was driving myself mad working to try to forget about everything else.

EastEnders most shocking deaths from Barry's cliff fall to Ronnie and Roxie's drowning

"I lost a stone in the jungle and then another three-and-a-half pounds. I didn’t have a life.

"I also had terrible insomnia for about a year. When I’m unhappy, my sleep is the first thing to go and then the knock-on is the depression and anxiety."

She's now dating actor Ben Harlow, 45, and says she's the happiest she's ever been partly thanks to his unwavering support.

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