EastEnders' Denise Fox star's life off screen from split to hidden soap role

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Diane Parish has played Denise Fox on EastEnders since 2006 (Image: Mike Marsland/WireImage)
Diane Parish has played Denise Fox on EastEnders since 2006 (Image: Mike Marsland/WireImage)

For millions of TV fans, Diane Parish is best known for playing Denise Fox on long-running BBC soap EastEnders – a role she has held for almost two decades.

The 53-year-old star has played the role since 2006 and has appeared in more that 1500 episodes of the BBC show. However, she fears she could be written out of the series as a flash-forward that aired earlier this year, as it was hinted that Denise will be a prime suspect in a violent murder which is due to be aired at Christmas time.

She previously told the RadioTimes of the gripping murder plot: “I’m really scared it’s me, so I might have to make some plans, because I might be going down. If anyone out there can help me, help me.” Diane’s time on Albert Square might now be at risk, and fans may want to know more about the actress behind one of soaps’ most beloved characters. Here's everything you need to know about the BBC soap star.

EastEnders' Denise Fox star's life off screen from split to hidden soap role eidexiqreiqtrinvDiane had a role on The Bill before her EastEnders fame took off (Press Association)

Life off screen

Diane was born in Tottenham, London, and she continues to live in North London. The TV star has a quiet home life and is proud mother to two children; daughters Kaya and Kenya. When asked if she would ever consider having more children in the future, she told The Mirror: "No way! I've shut up shop. I'm done. I'm no spring chicken, you know. I feel very fortunate for having my lovely little girls. We're a very happy family."

She started her acting career after graduating from London’s prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, whose other past graduates include huge stars such as Tom Hiddleston, Sir Kenneth Branagh, and Sophie Okonedo. Before landing the role of Denise Fox on EastEnders, Diane played Beth Taylor on Lovejoy from 1993 until 1994, Eva Sharpe on The Bill from 2002 until 2004, and had roles on Casualty, Holby City, and a main role on drama Clocking Off.

EastEnders' Jake Wood's snap of son has fans pointing out the pair's likenessEastEnders' Jake Wood's snap of son has fans pointing out the pair's likeness

Secret marriage heartbreak

Diane shares her two children with ex-husband Sebastian Parish, an IT specialist. The TV star is generally quiet about her private life, but revealed during an appearance on Loose Women in 2018 that she had split from Sebastian.

The actress explained that her marriage had been crumbling the last time she had featured on the ITV talkshow, and she set the record straight when she returned as a guest on the show.

She told the panelists: "The last time I was here, I sort of got a bit ambushed with [questions about marriage] and, for the sake of my children, I didn't want to go into the break up with me and their father, and I'm usually quite a private person.

"I just wanted to protect my daughters by not discussing that, and I've been single quite a long time, I've been having fun, but I have now met the man of my dreams."

EastEnders' Denise Fox star's life off screen from split to hidden soap roleDiane is set to tie the knot with fiancé Gerry Zucarello (Facebook)

A very public engagement

While the collapse of Diane’s marriage was no doubt painful, she explained during the same Loose Women appearance that she had since found "the man of her dreams" – in the form of then-boyfriend Gerry Zucarello.

The couple had met in 2017 and Gerry didn’t take long to get down on bended knee to ask Diane to be his wife. The pair announced their engagement on social media in 2018 – but were baffled when the announcement didn’t gain traction until 2020.

One of Diane's friends told The Sun about the engagement two years after it was made public knowledge, telling the outlet: "Diane and Gerry met through pals and have been quietly dating for three years.

"Gerry said he and Diane were engaged after they had been spending time at home during the lockdown. She is thinking about a small, intimate ceremony involving all their kids and close friends."

And later, Diane revealed that she and Gerry had been laughing at the fact their engagement was making a delayed splash. A source told OK! Magazine: "Diane and Gerry are just laughing about it really – he's been meaning to update his profile for months and now when he does, people didn't realise the date and they got a huge spate of 'congratulations!'

"It's lovely to be congratulated but they had all that a couple of years back when they actually did get engaged. They haven't just made the decision now, they're very happily still engaged and were initially a tad baffled by the sudden news coverage it created but that's social media for you!"

EastEnders star Natalie Cassidy shows off grey hair and says 'it doesn't matter'EastEnders star Natalie Cassidy shows off grey hair and says 'it doesn't matter'
EastEnders' Denise Fox star's life off screen from split to hidden soap roleDenise previously played Lola Christie on EastEnders back in 1998 (BBC)

Past EastEnders role

Diane might be best know for playing Denise Fox on EastEnders – but dedicated fans of the BBC One soap might recall she played a different character years before. Back in 1998, the actress played a character named Lola Christie for six months.

The character appeared in no less than 27 episodes. She was a love interest of Mick McFalane, played by Sylvester Williams, and was a singer in his jazz band.

Reflecting on her first EE role in 1998, Diane said: "I had made a decision that I would stay only six months, whatever happened. But I was tempted to stay longer because it is such a great show and lovely people. Leaving was like ripping away from real friendships... Being a part of EastEnders is like nothing else, a whole different beast from other shows because practically everyone has watched it at some time and you get to be known wherever you go."

Mirror.co.uk

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