Ahead of her Eastenders return, Tamzin Outhwaite opens up about life as a single mum and moving on from her divorce
“I’ve had boyfriends in secret but I’m happy being single”
It’s been 15 years I since her explosive exit from Albert Square, but Tamzin Outhwaite is making her return to Eastenders as feisty Mel Owen in the new year.
And the actress tells Closer it was her two daughters – Florence, nine, and Marnie, five – that encouraged her to take on the role, because filming in Borehamwood is so close to their North London home.
Tamzin, 46, says, “When I ask my kids for advice, they always ask where filming is and whether I can come home at night. If I can, then they make me do it. My eldest Flo doesn’t even ask what the role is. They love having me around. It’s very sweet.”
Tamzin first joined Eastenders in 1998 and featured in some of the show’s memorable storylines, including who shot Phil Mitchell. After leaving in 2002, she went on to star in TV hits like Red Cap, Hotel Babylon and BBC’S New Tricks and has also carved out a career in the theatre – appearing in productions of How The Other Half Loves and Sweet Charity.
But the star’s decision to return to the award-winning soap came after a painful foot injury earlier this year caused her to pull out of the West End show, Stepping Out, and re-think her future on the stage.
She says, “I fractured my metatarsal when I was rehearsing. I was tap dancing in heels and I got a stress fracture. I took painkillers and just carried on, but it’s taken months to heal. Thankfully, now it’s finally getting better. I can’t run but that’s OK. During my recovery, I’ve tried a bit of hot Pilates as I like to sweat so love being in the heat! But I’ve only just started working out again – I need to build it up.”
Tamzin’s private life has sometimes mirrored the dramas of her on-screen characters. Her love life hit the headlines in 2013 when her then-husband, Miranda star Tom Ellis, 38, reportedly admitted to cheating on her when he was working in America. The pair – who were introduced in 2005 by mutual pal, actor James Mcavoy – ended their seven-year marriage in 2014 and Tom relocated to LA where he now stars in the hit FOX show Lucifer.
At the time, insiders claimed Tom had a one-off fling with Lost actress Emilie de Ravin, yet Tamzin implied there was more to it last year when she said, “I wouldn’t not be with my husband over a one-night stand.”
But she reveals that, despite their difficult split, she and Tom are now on good terms and she regularly takes their daughters out to Los Angeles to spend time together as a family.
A DIFFERENT WAY OF LIFE
She says, “The girls do see their dad. He works in LA on his show most of the year so I took the summer off and we went to visit him. The girls have just worked out how their lives are – America is where their dad is and London is where their mum is. It also gives them a taste of a different way of living. So that’s the positive way I look at it.”
But Tamzin admits being a single mum isn’t always easy. “There is pressure. You always feel as though you have to get the balance of being able to work and do what you want, but also pay for your family to live and to be around for them,” she says.
She returns to Eastenders in the new year The star says she’s friendly with her ex-husband Tom