EastEnders' Jo Joyner has decided to take an indefinite break from the soap to pursue other directions as an actress.
During her seven years playing mother and businesswoman Tanya Branning, the 35-year-old star's storylines have included burying her husband alive and battling cervical cancer. But Jo - who had planned an eight-month sabbatical from the show to spend with her husband and three-year-old twins - has now decided to extend her break indefinitely.
Jo said in a statement: "I have come to realise that it's right for her [Tanya] to step away from Walford.
I feel that as a mother and an actress it is time for me to explore some other avenues for a while."
An Albert Square insider revealed that while the door has been left open for Tanya, her departure will make way for dramatic new changes for the rest of the Branning family.
Executive producer Lorraine Newman said: "As the mother of Lauren, Abi and Oscar and the on/off wife to the ever errant Max, life for Tanya has never been easy.
"However, Jo's portrayal of Tanya allowed viewers to instantly fall in love with her, creating the cement for a great family."