Coronation Street star Michelle Keegan has big plans for her future and doesn’t rule out trying her luck in Hollywood.

But just now she is feeling emotional. She’s left the soap after six and a half years as barmaid Tina McIntyre and, even though it was her own decision to go, she admits: “I’ve not stopped crying”.

No wonder. You may only live once, but if you’re a soap star you can die many times – and Michelle has filmed four different departures in which her character is murdered by lover Peter, his wife Carla, Peter’s sister Tracy or her lover, Carla’s brother Rob.

Tina is attacked on May 27 and dies on June 2.

But Michelle admits she wishes writers had left room for a possible return, reports the Express newspaper.

“When I said I wanted to leave, the door was going to be left open,” she says.

“I thought, ‘There’s my safety net’. Then they called and said, ‘We’re thinking of killing Tina…’ I remember being in shock.

“I understand. The storyline is running for the next year. Maybe it was fate they didn’t tell me to begin with. I might’ve got too nervous. Now, it’s given me the drive to pursue other things. I’m excited.”

Michelle’s dream role would be a period drama. “Something like Mr Selfridge or The Tudors,” she says. Comedy is also on her to-do list.

Will she try her hand in Hollywood?

“I don’t see why not,” she says. “I’d love to do a film. I don’t want to look back and think: ‘What if?’ I want to try everything while I can.”

Although her fiancé Mark Wright found fame on The Only Way Is Essex, a reality show isn’t on the cards and Strictly Come Dancing is another no-no.

“I want to concentrate on acting,” says Michelle – now a lot more confident in her own ability than she was when she filmed her first Coronation Street scenes in 2008.

“Tina was in the doctor’s surgery and called Gail a jumped-up little midget,” she laughs.

“I was mortified saying that to Helen Worth. I remember apologising. She was laughing.”

It was just sixth months since Michelle had begun her course at the Manchester School of Acting and Coronation Street was her TV debut. She wasn’t full of confidence.

Her doubts didn’t subside until the 2008 British Soap Awards when she won Best Newcomer. This year she’s nominated as both Best Actress and Sexiest Female in the British Soap Awards. On Twitter, she has more than two million followers. But becoming public property wasn’t easy.

“No one could prepare you,” she says. “It’s hard when people have opinions on your life and relationships. That’s what I find difficult.

It’s never made me think I don’t want to do the job. I’ve found something I love and can’t imagine doing anything else, but it has taken me to the point where I miss being anonymous.”

Peter Barlow’s attraction to the barmaid is understandable, but Michelle didn’t think Tina would sleep with a friend’s husband. Then she realised why her character acted as she did.

“She wanted stability,” she says. “She sees her dad in Peter. He is an addict, like him. She misses that father figure. I see her as a vulnerable girl who just needed to be loved. Peter showed her that attention.”

If only she’d found love with a safer prospect. Is there a moment when she feels Tina should have made a different choice?

“Tina would’ve been better staying with Jason Grimshaw [Ryan Thomas],” Michelle nods. “He really loved her. He proposed, but she was going through a hard time with her dad’s death and he couldn’t relate to it.

“She could have had a happy ever after, but she was stupid and went with Graeme the window cleaner who cheated on her with her best friend, Xin. Then, she ended up with an alcoholic bigamist. She picks the bad ones, doesn’t she?”

And this time, her choice proved fatal…

Click here to view the four different endings.

British Soap Awards, ITV1, Sunday, May 25, 8.15pm