After 15 years, Shona McGarty shockingly left EastEnders.
The beloved 31-year-old soap opera performer has played Whitney Dean since she was 16 years old.
Although she acknowledges that leaving is a “difficult” decision, she is eager to “spread [my] wings.”
After joining Albert Square seven years ago, Lorraine Stanley, 47, who plays Karen Taylor, is also written out of the BBC serial opera as a result of the cast reorganisation.
‘I have decided to expand my wings and will be leaving EastEnders,’ Shona said in a statement to The Sun on Sunday regarding her departure.
I enjoyed my time on the show immensely.
She continued, “I have been trusted with some incredible storylines and have made amazing friendships—and family—which will endure.” She said she has many happy memories of her time working on the show.
When her contract is set to expire in the early part of 2019, her last scenes will be televised.
It is unclear how Whitney’s departure will play out, but producers are undoubtedly planning something unique.
A source also told The Sun that Shona, who “grew up on set with most of them,” is “gutted” to be departing and will be “sorely missed” by her co-stars.
But they went on to say, “She feels like this is the right time in her life to step away and try something new.”
She is hopeful that her character’s future return would be left open, but nothing is assured and it is entirely up to the scriptwriters.
It’s always a risk that actors take when opting to quit, but they might decide that another soap death would spark an exciting exit plot and get people talking.
After several years of portraying the same character, Shona is rumoured to be wanting to “expand her career horizon” with new ventures.
One of the choices is singing because Shona loves to sing and has a great musical skill in addition to acting, the insider continued.
Whitney has experienced numerous significant storylines over the past 15 years and has been in the centre of the Square’s turmoil.
She debuted on the programme in 2008 as Bianca Jackson’s adopted daughter, played by Patsy Palmer.
After being sexually assaulted by Bianca’s fiancé when she was 12 years old, Whitney went on to kill her own stalker, be married once, and get engaged three times.
One of her main tales in 2016 involved a miscarriage and the life-threatening diagnosis of Edwards syndrome for her newborn child.
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