Samantha Womack has sent her heartfelt thanks to her fans after she revealed at the weekend that she’s to step down from her role in ‘Eastenders’ after nearly a decade.

The 43 year old British actress has held down the role of Ronnie Mitchell since 2007, with a brief break, and the news means that she’s set to leave Albert Square early next year, having played the character almost exactly ten years, in a reportedly explosive plot-line devised by the BBC soap’s new head Sean O’Connor.

Samantha WomackSamantha Womack at the Pride of Britain Awards 2015

Acknowledging the support from her fans on Twitter, the actress wrote: “Thank you SO much for all your kind words about me leaving EE. It's so humbling to know you loved Ronnie as much as I did! Very grateful Xxx”

The show’s producers are obviously keeping the details of Ronnie Mitchell’s exit a closely guarded secret for the meantime. However, it was reported by The Mirror the following day that Womack gladly agreed to participate in the storyline.

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“It was felt that with everything Ronnie has been through over the past nine years, it is now time to rest the character,” a BBC insider told The Sun on Sunday (August 14th). “She already has a few projects lined up so she won’t be off screen for long.”

A BBC spokesperson then officially confirmed the news later that day. “Samantha was recently offered a big storyline which she happily accepted that leads to Ronnie departing Walford. We wish Samantha all the best for the future.”

It ought to be remembered that this isn’t the first time that Womack has quit the role – in 2011 she announced she was walking away from the soap after a baby-swap / cot-death controversial storyline led to her being verbally abused in the street in real life.

When she eventually returned in 2013, she told the Daily Mail: “I did struggle with the way those two storylines, the death of a baby and the abduction, were mixed together. I thought one of those would have been enough.”

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