Everyone loves a happy ending but the love lives of soap stars tend to be dramatic, to say the least. Off-screen, a string of actors from Eastenders, Coronation Street and Emmerdale have found love with their co-stars, and have even gone on to marry and have children together,
But while some have found life-long romance, others have failed to find their happy endings. In recent days, Charley Webb and Matthew Wolfenden, who met in Emmerdale, have sparked split rumours after being together for more than 20 years. Here, the Mirror takes a look at who has dated who in the soap world and which happy couples are still together…
Tina O’Brien, Ryan Thomas and Bruno
Coronation Street’s Sarah Platt, played by Tina O’Brien, has certainly had her fair share of dramatic storylines and relationships. On screen Sarah had a relationship with Todd Grimshaw before they split and she moved on with his brother Jason, and ironically Tina has also had off-screen relationships with both of the lads.
When she was 17, Tina had a romance with Bruno, who played her character’s boyfriend Todd, but things ended after a year. Then she started dating Bruno’s pal and on-screen brother Ryan Thomas, who she had first met and been attracted to when she was just 13-year-old. The couple are no longer together but share a daughter Scarlet.
Lucy Benjamin and Steve McFadden
BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron)
Lisa Fowler and Phil Mitchell found love on EastEnders and had a daughter Louise together – and the stars who play them, Lucy Benjamin and Steve McFadden, also found love in the real world, dating between 1999 and 2003. Despite breaking up, the pair have worked together on EastEnders a few times over the last decade and have put their past behind them. Lucy has been married to oil businessman Richard Taggart since 2006, while Steve is in a relationship with girlfriend Karen Cairns.
Toby-Alexander Smith and Amy Walsh
LORNA ROACH PHOTOGRAPHY)
You wouldn’t want to date serial killer Gray Atkins – the husband of Chantelle Atkins on Eastenders in real life but actor Toby-Alexander Smith who plays him is married to Amy Walsh who played Tracy Metcalfe in Emmerdale. In Sept 2023 the pair married after three years together. The newlyweds met in the audience of Strictly Come Dancing back in 2019 when Amy was supporting her former castmate Kelvin Fletcher who played Andy Sugden while Toby was cheering on his co-star Emma Barton who plays Honey Mitchell. In 2021, Amy fell pregnant with the couple’s first child and they now have a daughter Bonnie.
Charley Webb and Matthew Wolfenden
The couple met when Matthew, 43, who plays David Metcalfe joined Emmerdale four years after Charley, 35, in 2006. He asked the actress who plays Debbie Dingle to marry him on Christmas Day in 2009 and they went on to have three sons; Buster, Bowie and Ace. After a nine-year engagement, the couple invited friends and family to Charley’s ‘30th birthday party’, only to surprise them with a wedding. The pair have been together for more than 20 years but, in recent months, they have reportedly been ‘living separate’ lives, although neither of them has confirmed this.
Rob Mallard and Daniel Brocklebank
Corrie fans were pleasantly surprised when Rob Mallard who plays Daniel Osbourne and Daniel Brocklebank who plays Billy Mayhew confirmed their romance back in 2017. The pair seemed smitten when Rob said his beau was “the best thing I’ve taken home this year” while picking up the Best Newcomer gong at the British Soap Awards in 2017. They also made their red carpet debut together at the British LGBT awards, but sadly split after just two months together.
Jacqueline Jossa and Tony Discipline
When Tony Discipline arrived on the Square as Tyler Moon in 2011 not only did his character hook up with Lauren Branning, but the pair started dating in real life. Heartthrob Tyler had a relationship with Whitney Dean and one night stand with Lauren (played by Jacqueline Jossa) but Tony and Jacqueline’s relationship went on for 18 months in real life. Jacqueline married TOWIE star Dan Osborne and have two daughters together. In September a spokesperson for the couple put to bed rumours that their marriage was on the rocks saying they were “as good as ever.” However, they have had their ups and downs and Jac has spent time away from the family family home to help her come to terms with accusations that her husband has been unfaithful.
Alan Halsall and Lucy-Jo Hudson and Tisha Merry
Alan Halsall who plays Tyrone Dobbs struck up a romance with co-star Lucy-Jo Hudson, who played Katy Harris from 2002 until 2005, away from the cobbles. The pair married in 2009 and welcomed their daughter Sienna-Rae into the world in 2013. They briefly split two-a-half years later, got back together after several weeks apart, but it was over for good when Lucy-Jo announced they were in the process of divorcing in May 2018. Alan also had a relationship with Tisha Merry, who played Steph Britton in 2019. The pair went public with their romance a month later by posting a snap of them laughing together at the wedding of Sam Aston who plays Chesney.
Nadia Sawalha and Marc Bannerman
Nadia Sawalha was in a relationship with her EastEnders co-star Marc Bannerman, who played Gianni di Marco from 1998 to 2000, opposite her character Annie Palmer. Annie and Gianni were together on screen and off, as the characters had a brief romance on the square. Nadia says Marc helped her through a horrific time in her life after the death of her first husband Justin Mildwater, who took his own life in December 1997 a few months after they split. Nadia is now married to TV producer Mark Adderley and they have two daughters together.
Sally Carman and Joe Duttine
Sally Carman, who plays Abi Franklin, and Joe Duttine, who plays Tim Metcalfe, are married to each other in real life after getting together on set back in 2018. On screen, Tim is actually married to Sally Webster, who is best friends with Abi Franklin. They moved in together in 2019 and although the couple had to put off their big day due to the pandemic, they finally tied the knot last year before enjoying a romantic honeymoon in Italy.
Sue Nicholls and Mark Eden
On the cobbles, Audrey Roberts has had her fair share of love interests including conman Lewis and her deceased husband Alf Roberts. Behind the scenes, actress Sue Nicholls fell in love with one of Weatherfield’s most infamous villains, Mark Eden, the actor who played Rita’s husband Alan Bradley, who was killed by a tram in Blackpool. The couple met under a cherry tree at a party in 1983 and became closer when Mark worked on the cobbles between 1986 and 1989. The pair didn’t have any children together but Mark had three kids from his previous relationships. Sadly, Mark died on New Year’s Day in 2021 following a battle with Alzheimer’s.
Jeff Hordley and Zoe Henry
Jeff Hordley and Zoe Henry met at drama school before joining the set of Emmerdale. Zoe who plays Rhona Goskirk and Jeff who plays Cain Dingle are now married with two children. For Jeff, it was love at first sight. “We met at drama school in 1994. I saw Zoe and realised she was the girl for me,” he said. Jeff popped the question the night Zoe, 50, won the Best Actress in a Leading Role award at the Manchester Evening News’ theatre awards and they married in a low-key ceremony in 2003. Daughter Violet arrived in 2005 followed by son Stan in 2008.
Charlie De Melo and Nicola Thorp
Phil Oldham / PinPep)
Pat Phelan’s daughter and Toyah Battersby’s womanising lawyer boyfriend Imran had a whirlwind romance in real life. Charlie De Melo and Nicola Thorp had been close friends for around 10 years before sparking up a relationship during their time together on the cobbles. They dated for around 10 months before calling it quits just before Christmas 2018.
Joe Swash and Kara Tointon
EastEnders’ Joe, 41, joined the cast as Mickey Miller in 2003 and met Kara, 39, when she arrived to play Mickey’s sister Dawn Swann in 2005. She dated co-star James Alexandrou (Martin Fowler) for a year. However, love finally blossomed between Kara and Joe just before he flew to Australia to take part in I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! in November 2008. While Joe and wife Stacey Solomon are the new power couple, having welcomed three children together with their latest baby, Belle, born earlier this year in February.