EastEnders icon ‘splits’ from hubby after 17 years following ‘rough few months’

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    EastEnders actress Lucy Benjamin has reportedly split from her husband Richard Taggart after 17 years.

    The couple are said to have called it quits on their relationship after a "rough few months".

    They are parents to two daughters Bessie, 16 and 12-year-old Rosie.

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    A source told The Sun: “Lucy and Richard tried to make it work but ultimately decided it was best they split up.

    “It’s been rough for them both in recent months but hopefully they can now start looking forward to the future.

    "Their children will always be their number one priority."

    Lucy and Richard met on a flight to Dubai, with the latter making the first move after recognising the actress from the telly.

    Speaking previously about their first meeting, the soap legend said: "He was sat next to me and while I was reading a book, he tapped me on the shoulder and said, 'This must be strange for you because I know a lot about you and you don’t know anything about me, but my name’s Richard and I’m going to Dubai'.

    "Fortunately, I found it very funny and we didn’t stop chatting. We were engaged within six weeks — and married within nine months."

    They rushed to tie the knot because Lucy said at the time she was "a bit pushy" and "you've got to get on with it".

    Daily Star has reached out to Lucy's representatives for a comment.

    Lucy joined the cast of EastEnders back in 1998 as "home-wrecking blonde" Lisa Shaw.

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    Her volatile relationship with Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) became part of some of the soap's gripping storylines.

    An estimated 22 million viewers tuned in to watch Lisa confess to Phil's attempted murder in 2001 after an unknown assailant gunned him down, causing the third-largest power surge on record.

    Other storylines included Lisa's pregnancy with Phil's child, in which she opted not to tell him and claimed that her partner Mark Fowler (Todd Carty), was the father.

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    A fiery romantic relationship on screen with Phil led to an off-screen love story between Lucy and actor Steve McFadden.

    The co-stars dated for four years between 1999 and 2003 and the pair went on to work together several times as Lucy made a return to EastEnders in 2010, 2017, between 2019 and 2020 and again in 2023.

    In 2016, Lucy told the Mirror doesn’t allow her daughters to watch EastEnders because it’s too depressing.

    The actress said at the time feels the heavy storylines would be too much for Bessie, and Rosie, to handle.

    EastEnders airs Monday to Thursday on BBC One at 7.30pm

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