Former EastEndersstar Jacqueline Jossa is hoping her return to Albert Square in a few weeks could kick start her working life again.
Jac, who played Lauren Branning from 2010 to 2018, is reprising her role for the funeral of Lauren’s step-grandmother, Dot Branning (played by the late June Brown).
And, according to a source who spoke exclusively to OK! this week, Jac, 29, is "thrilled" to get back to Walford.
"She’s really missed acting over the last few years and doesn’t want to be put into the box as a 'tabloid mum'. She wants to be known for her own talents, not the dramas of her private life."
During her time on EastEnders, Jac – who shares daughters Ella, seven, and Mia, three, with former TOWIE star husband Dan Osbourne – was praised for her performance as the eldest daughter of Max (Jake Wood) and Tanya Branning (Jo Joyner).
After taking over the role of Lauren (originally played by Madeline Duggan) when she was 18, she had a string of juicy storylines including coping with alcoholism, an unwanted pregnancy, the mystery of Lucy’s murder, and her sister Abi’s death when she and Lauren fell from the roof of the Queen Vic.
Meanwhile in her private life, in 2015 she and Dan, now 31, welcomed their first baby, Ella. Then in 2018, they had baby Mia.
Jac then decided it was time to leave the soap to concentrate on family life.
Since then, she’s rarely been out of the public eye, appearing on I’m A Celebrity in 2019, plus various other reality shows, launching her own clothing ranges and has also been in and out of the press as rumours of rows and cheating circulated around her marriage.
One thing she hasn’t been able to sink her teeth back into however, is acting.
"She was worried she was starting to lose her identity," our source continued. "Her kids are a little bit older, so she’s got more time to work on herself.
"Coming back to EastEnders for a few episodes is a chance for her to dip her toe into that world again."
Jac recently talked about the money problems she had after leaving EastEnders, when she appeared on Sam and Billie Faiers’ podcast 'The Sam And Billie Show' .
"I was on EastEnders for eight years where you got a set paycheque every week," she told the TOWIE sisters. "It was a set paycheque and I didn’t have to do anything else. It was my comfort blanket, it was what I knew. Then it just wasn’t.
"There’s no such thing for me as maternity pay, so when I had kids I had to leave and I had to do magazine covers to make money to feed my kids.
"Once you’re gone, when you’re not on the show, you don’t have money. You’re not paid anything else."
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