Known as "Queen Sharon," EastEnders star Letitia Dean has cemented her status as an icon of Albert Square over the past 35 years.
Playing Sharon Watts since the soap's inception, the 52-year-old star is one of the most familiar faces in modern British television.
Her character has seen it all, from scandalous affairs with the Mitchell brothers – fondly known as Sharongate – to having a baby with her step-daughter's boyfriend earlier this year.
However, Letitia's life off-camera is far more private, away from the explosive feuds and zesty love triangles of Walford.
Below, we take a look at the BBC star's private life, examining everything from her relationships to her net worth.
Her showbiz childhood
Born in Hertfordshire, Letitia got a taste of show-business early on in life, when she joined The Sylvia Mitchell School of Dance with her brother Stephen.
At the age of 10, she landed a place in the esteemed Italia Conti Academy Theatre Arts, which has famously produced stars such as Naomi Campbell, Kelly Brook and Louise Redknapp.
Just two years later she became a professional performer, landing roles on hit shows like Grange Hill and Brookside in her early teens.
Exposure at such a young age came with its downfalls, as Letitia confessed to undergoing a breast reduction in her teens as she grew self-conscious about her figure.
Speaking to Hello magazine in 2001, she explained: "Backache had a lot to do with that decision too.
"But I was a lot less secure about myself and there was a lot of focus on how I looked."
Letitia's EastEnders rise to fame
Letitia's big break came when she landed a role on a new BBC soap opera, named EastEnders, alongside the likes of Adam Woodyatt and Gillian Taylforth.
Playing the character of Sharon Watts, the show's creators revealed they were looking for a "bouncy, attractive, oddly vulnerable young woman" – and 17-year-old Letitia fit the bill.
Reflecting on her experiences on her first day on the job, she said: "I think it's probably harder for the youngsters today, it's a very different time now with social media and all that business.
"I had quite a lot of horrible things said about me. ‘She's too fat, the other actors complain they can't fit on the same set with her'."
Speaking on Secrets from the Square earlier this year, he co-star Adam added: "It was just vile, and it wouldn't be accepted now."
In both 1995 and 2006, she left the soap to pursue other acting opportunities, but returned for good eight years ago, after her character ditched fiancé John Hewland for life in Albert Square.
Over the years, Letitia has been nominated for a number of awards for her dazzling performance on the soap, but has lost out to fellow soap actors.
However, 2005 saw her scoop up the coveted award for outstanding achievement at the Inside Soap awards, paying tribute to her legacy on Albert Square.
Away from the Square
Aside from stirring drama on EastEnders, Letitia has appeared in a number of hit TV series, including medical shows Casualty and Doctors, and police drama The Bill.
2007 saw the soap star make a glittering debut on Strictly Come Dancing, swirling around the ballroom with her professional partner Darren Bennett.
Unfortunately, the duo was knocked out of the competition in week 10, but not before Letitia impressed the nation with her dancing skills.
On the stage, Letitia has taken roles in a number of pantomimes, starring in hit productions such as Snow White and Jack and the Beanstalk over the years.
She also appeared in theatre adaptation of hit films Calendar Girls and High School Musical, swapping the screen for the stage.
Sharing her workout tips with her fans, the EastEnders icon even released her own fitness DVD entitled Letitia Dean's Lean Routine back in 2009.
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Letitia's net worth
As one of the longest-running cast members, Letitia is said to be paid a high salary on the BBC One soap opera.
According to OK! Magazine, Letitia's salary is a rumoured £150,000 per year, thanks to her starring role on the soap.
Including her earnings from outside the hit soap opera, Celebrity Net Worth puts her fortune at an estimated £6.5 million.
Marriage to Jason Pethers
Letitia prefers to keep her relationships out of the spotlight, but in 2001, she made headlines when it was revealed she was engaged to actor Jason Pethers.
Holby City star Jason had reportedly popped the question after just a few months of dating, and the lovebirds went on to tie the knot the following year.
Speaking about their relationship ahead of the wedding, she told Hello! Magazine: "You hold back and wait for the person you hope will be the right one.
"By the time you reach your thirties you know what you want and what you don't want, and you're lucky if you find someone who is looking for the same thing who doesn't have baggage. You don't need to play all those games.
"If you pay attention to the papers, I've been engaged and married more times than Elizabeth Taylor, but the truth is I've wanted this before and I've never felt this way about anyone before."
After five years of marriage, the former flames announced their split in 2007, shortly before Letitia appeared on Strictly.
Jason's mum Joan told Daily Mirror the couple decided to split because Letitia wanted children, while her husband preferred to wait before watching their family grow.
She said: "They both wanted children, but Jason wanted to wait until he could afford it. She had a lot more money than him. I think, like any man, he wanted to look after his wife.
"They were happy. It was no dramatic thing – they haven't found someone else. I guess they just fell out of love for the time being."
Since their separation, Letitia has yet to go public with another romance.
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