Neighbours actress Natalie Blair has spoken to OK! magazine about why she decided to quit the Australian soap.

Natalie, who plays Carmella Cammeniti, told the magazine: “My character has gone through so much. She’s become a very tortured, depressive character and there was no light at the end of the tunnel.

“After a while I’d open my script and say, ‘Please give me one scene where I’m smiling’. And then I’d read the script and think, ‘Damn – no smiling scenes again’.”

The actress first appeared in 2003, and popped up again a year later, when her character’s love interest, Connor, went on a mission to find her – and discovered she had become a nun.

She returned to the show for a permanent place in the cast in 2006, but her character had a dark secret – that she sold her cousin Teresa’s baby. In one of Carmella’s most explosive scenes, Teresa scolded her with boiling water.

Most recently, Carmella has been locked in a bitter custody battle with old flame Oliver Barnes over their daughter Chloe, because Oliver doesn’t approve of Carmella’s new love Marco.

Natalie has revealed her determination to work in New York in musical theatre once her time on Neighbours has ended.