Actress Bonnie Langford has begun her new job on EastEnders amid secret heartache off-screen – after splitting from her husband.
The 50-year-old is divorcing her husband of twenty years Paul Grunert after the pair “fell out of love” after being married for two decades.
A friend of Bonnie said: “She is getting over the pain in the best way possible by taking on a new challenge in her life.
“She split from her husband quite some time ago and it is very amicable and they remain good friends. Bonnie has not discussed the split publicly as she wants to talk about EastEnders now and not her personal life. The priority for her and Paul is their daughter.”
Bonnie and Paul have a 14-year-old called Biana and married in Mauritis in 1995.
Speaking about him in a 2006 interview she said: “I’d known Paul since 1987, when we’d done a show together. But I just hadn’t thought of him in that way. Then a friend suggested we all get together. In the end, she couldn’t make it, so it was just Paul and me. And that was that.
“It’s always the times in your life when you’re not looking that you find what you need.”
Bonnie joined Albert Square at the start of the month and will be seen on screen in June.
She takes on the role of Carmel Kazemi, Kush’s mother.
Known for her role as Mel Bush, Doctor Who ’s assistant as well as her stage roles in Chicago and Cats, Langford said earlier this month: “I’m so thrilled and delighted to be part of EastEnders.”
“I’m a great fan of the show and think the recent 30th anniversary was sensational and shows just how good British television can be. To be part of this family is an absolute privilege.”
Dominic Treadwell-Collins, executive producer for EastEnders, described Langford as a “British institution” as well as an “old-school hard-graft actress gifted at both comedy and serious drama”.
He added: “Bonnie brings wit, pathos and a touch of class to Carmel Kazemi – a thoroughly modern Essex divorcee who isn’t quite ready to cut the apron strings firmly attached to her son Kush.
“Even if it means clashing spectacularly with an already prickly Shabnam.”