Helen Flanagan says she didn’t enjoy playing Rosie Webster when she went through her ‘promiscuous phase’ in Coronation Street.

The 21-year-old, who is dating Swansea City footballer Scott Sinclair, told Hello! magazine that the decision had nothing to do with having panic attacks.

Helen, who spent 12 years on the cobbles, said: “I didn’t feel I would have grown as a person if I stayed. I’d always felt that I would leave by the time I was 21, but when I made up my mind to go, it wasn’t even as if I had a choice.

“I just knew instinctively that this is what I had to do.

“Now I just want to be Helen. It’s time for me to be myself…”

She said: “I didn’t enjoy playing her when she went through a promiscuous phase, though. Luckily she shows more heart these days.”

The actress, who will finish filming next month for final scenes to be shown in February, added: “They thought I was leaving Coronation Street because of them (panic attacks), but in fact I’d already decided, long before they started affecting me at work.”

Helen, who took a three-month sabbatical until June this year, said: “During my time away from the Street, I felt free. One of the first things I did was cut my hair short and I dyed in bright blonde.”