Legendary soap actress Claire King has been at the centre of drama on our screens for years.

Best known for her time in Emmerdale portraying Kim Tate, we’ve seen her have numerous affairs, gain plenty of enemies and even fake her own death.

But her real life story could be mistaken for a scripted storyline.

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Claire has herself been on a rollercoaster of ups and downs, with heartbreak, depression, and near bankruptcy.

She's also suffered silently with a long-term health condition.

Claire married her co-star Peter Amory in 1994, who played her stepson Chris Tate in the ITV drama.

However the 59-year-old has alleged her 10-year marriage broke down when she discovered he was having an affair with one of their Emmerdale colleagues.

At the time, Claire was starring in prison drama Bad Girls, with filming taking place down London.

Claire King and Peter Amory

The Mirror reported Claire's claims that whilst she was away, her hubby began an affair with Samatha Giles, who plays Bernice Blackstock in the Yorkshire-based soap.

Both stars claimed they were estranged from their partners when the affair began, but Claire insisted the relationship started years earlier.

"I had a feeling that something was going on," she told the Mirror back in 2005.

"I was working in London and we were spending less and less time together. I was travelling back to Yorkshire every weekend. I remember Pete saying that I only came back to see my dogs and horses... and I thought: 'Well, yeah, and to catch you at it!'"

Claire alleged her suspicions were confirmed when Samantha's then-partner wrote her a letter explaining their spouses were cheating.

Emmerdale star Samantha Giles

She claimed she confronted Amory, telling the Mirror: "I questioned Pete and he admitted it had been going on for a while.

“He told me it was over but then it started again. At that point I said: 'Well, you have to go with her then, because it obviously isn't going to stop.'”

Years later, Claire bravely opened up about how the tough divorce set off addiction and near financial ruin.

The star spoke to addiction counsellor Mandy Saligari about the painful split for Channel 5’s In Therapy back in 2017.

Claire in Emmerdale

Claire admitted she felt like a ‘failure’ amid the affair, the Mirror reports, saying: “It happened in my house, the ­local pub, workplace.

“Then they split and we thought we’d work it out, then they got together again. Six months ­later...finished.

“I felt as though it was the end of something but also a failure. And I didn’t want it to be a failure. It was a loss as well. It was a failure of a marriage but the loss of a good friend. I really didn’t know it would ­affect me so badly.”

Claire has also spoken ­candidly about using booze to mask her own money worries after struggling to find work when she quit Bad Girls.

She enjoyed a string of top roles following her big break in an Adam Ant pop video in 1982, so to be ­facing ­financial ruin as work dried up was a difficult pill to swallow for the actress.

In 2017 Claire said: “Hitting 40, having a divorce and not having children and getting deeper into debt. To the point where I sold my wardrobe, dresses, everything, even collectors’ items, as I had no money. I thought, ‘God, am I ever going to work again?’

“I think I was depressed. I was on a very rocky road at the time. It wasn’t a great time and that’s where I went a bit off the rails, drinking too much.

“I thought I was coping but it’s the old adage – it doesn’t help at all. I know I’m not an alcoholic but I do like a drink. I do use it as a crutch and I am aware it’s really bad for feelings and emotions when you’re in a bad place.

“I didn’t know if I’d hit rock bottom or not. It was low enough for me to look around and think, ‘Woah, this is not right, I’m not functioning properly. Maybe I’m not working because I’m not giving off the right signals’.”

Things began to turn around for Claire in 2014, when she landed the part of Erica Holroyd in Coronation Street after undergoing a facelift.

“It got me out of that black hole,” Claire continued.

Claire has also battled with a long-term health problem after being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in her late 20s.

The actress had to take a break from filming for Emmerdale last year as she had to isolate at home during the coronavirus lockdown.

Speaking of her condition, she told OK! magazine earlier this month: "I struggled to go to work and do the things I love, like horse-riding, because of the terrible pressure it put on my knees, I can certainly relate to the ‘invisible disease’ – although my symptoms don’t always show, it doesn’t mean I’m not in pain or feeling exhausted.”

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