Hollyoaks star Jennifer Metcalfe has claimed her character’s gripping storyline has left her too busy too eat.

The 25-year-old actress – who plays bitchy Mercedes McQueen in the Channel 4 soap – has dismissed rumours that she has an eating disorder.

Jennifer told Closer magazine: “I’ve got a big storyline at the moment, so for the last couple of months I’ve been manic, filming in the evenings and at weekends.

“I’ve also been having work done on my house, so it’s been chaos. I didn’t have time to eat and whenever I did, I burnt it off straightaway.”

Jennifer’s current storyline sees Mercedes fearing that she’s been infected with HIV by her boyfriend Malachy Fisher (Glen Wallace).

And while Jennifer – who split from footballer Jermaine Pennant in July – admitted that even she was shocked by recent pictures published of herself looking thin on holiday in Spain, she insisted: “I haven’t been on a heartbreak diet.”

She said: “I knew I’d lost weight, and when I weighed myself I’d gone from my usual 8 1/2 stone to about 8 stone.

“Yes, I was looking a bit skinny, but I certainly didn’t have an eating disorder. In fact, I’m very secure about my body.”

Later, this month the entire McQueen family will be involved in some explosive episodes in Hollyoaks when evil Niall Rafferty gets his revenge on birth mother Myra for abandoning him.