Former EastEnders actress Rita Simons admits it took her a YEAR to watch Mitchell sisters' funeral

Rita Simons exited EastEnders after the death of her character Roxy Mitchell on New Years Day.

But now, the actress has admitted it upset her so much to see Roxy killed off that she refused to watch the funeral - and still finds the soap hard to watch now.

Roxy drowned alongside her sister Ronnie, who was played by Samantha Womack, and the pair became best friends after auditioning for the roles together. So when it came to their deaths, their friendship made it even more painful to watch.

She explained, “It wasn’t [painful] because I can’t come back. I won’t have to spend the rest of my life wondering if I’ll get the call inviting me to return.

“We really loved those characters. We both found watching our death scene really distressing. It’s horribly strange to see ­yourself and your best friend floating dead in a swimming pool.

“I’ll always be grateful for a part that made me who I am today but the way Sam and I met our end was harsh, really traumatic."

Their characters met their deaths when Roxy jumped into a swimming pool and never resurfaced. Ronnie jumped in to save her, but also drowned.

Speaking of their friendship, she explained, “She’s like the sister I never had. One of the great sadnesses about leaving is I don’t see her nearly enough any more. I miss her.

“We’d work together all morning and then go off to get our nails done at lunchtime. We were inseparable.”

Still, it's been onwards and upwards for Rita, 40, as she's now playing Paulette in a nationwide stage tour of Legally Blonde.

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