EastEnders star Charlie Brooks has revealed that her own personal life is far more harmonious than her character Janine Butcher's ever was, as she is still such good friends with her ex-partner that they live in the same building.
Charlie, who played Janine between 1999 and 2014 in two separate stints, has spoken about her relationship with her former fiancé Tony Truman, explaining that he lives in a flat above her own so that the pair can raise their teenage daughter Kiki together.
The couple split in 2006 when Kiki was 2 years old, but Charlie has revealed to presenter Kate Thornton while appearing on Yahoo UK's White Wine Question Time podcast that they have remained very close despite their romance ending.
"We are going to grow old together, just in a very different way," the actress explained. "He is absolutely my family and nothing will ever change that.
"And it's not always been easy – he's in Ibiza for eight or nine months out of the year. Bringing Kiki up on my own a lot of the time was tough and we've really had to navigate our way around that.
"But whatever happens, no matter how much we fall out, which we have done, big time, it's not always plain sailing, but 80% of the time it is and he's a good man and he's looked after us.
"He's a character. I love him to bits. He can be an arsehole sometimes, but nobody's perfect are they?"
Charlie, who was crowned Queen of the Jungle when she took part in I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! in 2012, also said that Tony is such a huge part of her life still that he cried when she split from her former boyfriend Ben Hollington.
"My ex-partner Ben, who I was with for five or six years, who's an amazing human being, you know, we woke up on Christmas Day together, all of us. Tony would come down, we'd all get into bed and open the presents together with Kiki."
She added: "I've been single for four years, so that's the longest I've ever been single. Then I was with Ben before that for five or six years, who was just really accepting. Tony absolutely adored him, we all went on holiday together. Tony cried when me and Ben broke up. He actually cried."
Charlie also spoke honestly about her relationship with alcohol, saying that her decision to give up drinking last year has been "life-changing" and "one of the best things I've ever done".
Rumours began to swirl last week that Charlie could be set to return to Albert Square as Janine later this year, although the BBC has not commented on the speculation.
Janine is one of Walford's most notorious troublemakers, having pushed her husband Barry Evans off a cliff to his death, schemed with evil Archie Mitchell to ruin the Mitchell family and murdered another of her husbands, Michael Moon, among various other misdeeds.
EastEnders airs on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday evenings on BBC One.
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