EastEnders Roxy Mitchell had a shocking exit on New Years Day 2017

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EastEnders legends Ronnie (played by Samantha Womack) and Roxy Mitchell (Rita Simons), stumbled into the Queen Vic for the first time in 2007 at the reception of cousin Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) and Stella Crawford’s (Sophie Thompson) wedding. During their decade in the BBC One soap, Ronnie and Roxy were at the heart of gripping storylines like baby swapping, affairs, child abuse and drug addiction. So when it came to their turn to make their exit, fans expected nothing less than for them to go out on a bang.

WARNING: This article contains spoilers from EastEnders.

On New Years’ Eve in 2017, EastEnders’ Ronnie was supposed to be getting her happily ever after by marrying her true love Jack Branning (Scott Marsden).

The wedding without a hitch but trouble struck when she and drunk sister Roxy decided to celebrate by themselves at the hotel swimming pool.

Roxy wanted to take a swim fully dressed but started drowning and so Ronnie jumped into the pool to try and rescue her.

However, Roxy, who was still in her wedding dress, then suffocated herself as her dress’ material wrapped around her face, leading her to choke to death.

Both of the sisters’ bodies were only found the following morning, leaving Jack completely heartbroken and distraught at the loss of Ronnie.

A few months after the scenes aired and the dust had settled, EastEnders boss Sean O’Connor spoke out about the characters’ exits.

He stated there was a very good reason for the sisters dying rather than simply leaving Walford.

O’Connor said: “[Ronnie and Roxy] were not the sort of characters that would leave in the back of a taxi.

“We wanted to give them an operatic ending.”

Of course, Roxy’s memory lives on through her daughter with Jack, Amy Branning who has been at the heart of a self-harming storyline.

Why did Rita Simons leave EastEnders?

EastEnders’ Roxy actress Rita Simons, who is the niece of billionaire The Apprentice star Lord Alan Sugar, left the soap on her own merit.

The 46-year-old and her onscreen sister Samantha Womack chose to quit in order to pursue other projects away from Albert Square.

At the time, Simons told Express.co.uk: “It was mutual, for a start, so you know, I wanted to go.

“A new boss came in, he wanted us to go, which we were all happy with.

“I had to get out of there, it was weird. I knew I had to get out of there because as an actor I needed to spread my wings.”

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Womack quit first in August 2017 with Simons following suit a few days later, according to Metro.co.uk.

This was Womack’s second exit after leaving the show in 2011 after the baby-swapping storyline saw her receive verbal abuse in the street, only returning to the square two years later.

Even though the actresses had agreed it was their time to go, they didn’t believe they would be killed off.

Simons previously said she was “gutted” to say goodbye to Roxy for good after a decade in EastEnders.

Talking on Good Morning Britain, she said: “Obviously it’s no secret we were gutted to leave, because we loved our characters.

“I love Sam [Womack], she’s my best friend, you become a pretend family.

“We did want to leave but we didn’t want to die. And to watch your ‘sister’ die, and to willingly kill your own character you’ve played for 10 years and you love, is a weird dilemma to be in, because you have to do the filming…”

EastEnders is available to watch on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

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