EastEnders Denise stars life – tough split, forgotten soap role and engagement

EastEnders Denise stars life – tough split, forgotten soap role and engagement

EastEnders favourite Denise Fox find herself at the centre of more drama in Albert Square in upcoming scenes.

Since joining EastEnders in 2006, actress Diane Parish has taken viewers on a wild ride including her relationships with Jack Branning and Ian Beale, as well as her one night stand with Phil Mitchell.

However before playing Denise, she had another forgotten soap role in EastEnders and has also led quite an interesting life herself.

READ MORE: EastEnders Jim Branning star's life – bus driver, Hollywood pals and tragic health woes

As Denise makes a shocking discovery about former lover Ravi Gulati (Aaron Thiara) this week, Daily Star has taken a look inside the life of woman who plays the fiesty character.

Forgotten soap role

Although Diane is fondly known for playing Denise in EastEnders, the star had another forgotten role in the soap a few years earlier.

In 1998, Diane starred as Lola Christie, who was the girlfriend Albert Square resident Mick McFarlane.

However speaking on the TV programme Secrets of The Square, Diane admitted that the role of singer Lola wasn't for her, saying: "I don't sing, I'm not a singer and it was horrible! Oh, it was awful.

"I remember Patsy Palmer came up to me at one point and she goes: 'Oh don't worry, it sounds really good, don't worry about it'. I thought: 'It don't, Patsy!'

"She goes: 'No, it's really good, it is!' She'd just be so positive. The role wasn't for me."

However before rising to soap fame, Denise already had a hugely successful acting career with regular roles in TV series such as Lovejoy, Holding On, Clocking Off and Picking Up The Pieces.

She is also well known for her role as DC Eva Sharpe in ITV drama The Bill from 2002-2004, which also starred her future on-screen EastEnders husband Scott Maslen as DS Phil Hunter.

Diane was also presented with the Royal Television Society's best actress award in 2001, for her critically acclaimed role in TV series The Babyfather.

Heartbreaking split

Diane was previously married to IT specialist Sebastian Parish and the couple had two children together called Kaya and Kenya.

When asked if she would ever consider having more children in the future, she told The Mirror at the time: "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."

However, it was later revealed that the couple had made the heartbreaking decision to split up.

Diane later told ITV Programme Loose Women in 2018 that she had "met the man of her dreams," saying: "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."

Engagement joy

Diane found romance in 2017 with the 'man of her dreams' Gerry Zucarello, and in 2020, the couple revealed that they were engaged after making the announcement on social media.

It was reported that they had met through friends, with one of Diane's friends telling The Sun: "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."

They added: "She is thinking about a small, intimate ceremony involving all their kids and close friends."

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However, Diane Parish later admitted that she was baffled by her engagement making headlines in 2020, as she had publicly announced the engagement on Loose Women in 2018.

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 airs Monday to Thursday on BBC One at 7.30pm

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