EastEnders legend splits from husband of 17 years after ‘rough few months’ for the couple

EASTENDERS actress Lucy Benjamin has split from her husband of 17 years.

The 53-year-old soap star and Richard Taggart called time on their relationship, saying it had run its course.

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EastEnders Lucy Benjamin has split from her husband of 17 yearsCredit: BBCThe soap star and Richard Taggart said their relationship had run its course

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The soap star and Richard Taggart said their relationship had run its courseCredit: Rex

Lucy and businessman Richard have two daughters together, Bessie, 16, and 12-year-old Rosie.

A source said: “Lucy and Richard tried to make it work but ultimately decided it was best they split up.

“It’s been rough for them both in recent months but hopefully they can now start looking forward to the future.

“Their children will always be their number one priority.”

The pair met during a flight to Dubai with Richard making the first move having recognised Lucy from TV.

She once said: “He was sat next to me and while I was reading a book, he tapped me on the shoulder and said, ‘This must be strange for you because I know a lot about you and you don’t know anything about me, but my name’s Richard and I’m going to Dubai’.

“Fortunately, I found it very funny and we didn’t stop chatting. We were engaged within six weeks — and married within nine months.”

Lucy admitted they rushed into tying the knot because “I was a bit pushy but you’ve got to get on with it,” revealing she was seven weeks pregnant at the nuptials.

She previously dated EastEnders co-star Steve McFadden, who played her on-screen love interest Phil Mitchell, between 1999 and 2003.

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The pair were reunited on set this summer when Lucy’s character Lisa Fowler returned to Albert Square.

Lucy first joined the BBC1 soap in 1998 before going on to have four separate stints.

During one of her breaks from Albert Square, she appeared in the 2009 series of I’m A Celebrity . . . Get Me Out of Here! where she was first to be voted out.

In 2002, she appeared alongside EastEnders co-star Jessie Wallace in a calendar for men’s magazine FHM.

Lucy has also had roles in BBC1 dramas Casualty, Holby City and New Tricks, as well as various panto jobs.

Lucy previously dated EastEnders co-star Steve McFadden, who played Phil Mitchell

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Lucy previously dated EastEnders co-star Steve McFadden, who played Phil MitchellCredit: PA:Press AssociationLucy and Richard have two daughters together

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Lucy and Richard have two daughters togetherCredit: RexA source said of the relationship: 'It’s been rough for them both in recent months'

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A source said of the relationship: ‘It’s been rough for them both in recent months’Credit: Rex

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