EastEnders actress Danniella Westbrook has claimed that the soap is where she belongs.

The 36-year-old, whose character Sam Mitchell will leave Albert Square on Friday, said being back in the show for the fourth time gave her a sense of “closure”.

She told The Mirror: “It’s where I feel I belong, for me EastEnders was unfinished business – it was great to be asked back, I wanted closure.

“They’ve never recast a character, then invited back the original actress. I’ve had so much fun and the cast are a great bunch.”

The actress, who fought a public battle with cocaine in the 90s, also addressed criticism she’s received about her looks since returning to screen.

“I think they expected me to come back looking like I did when I was in my 20s,” she said.

“They’ve said I look old and called me the Bride of Chucky – I’ve even been compared to a burns victim.

“But, you know what, I don’t care. People will say things about you, but as an actor you have to develop a thick skin. You can’t worry about it all.”

She said the ‘tanned and brassy’ look she sports in the show is just part of Sam’s character.

“I don’t go to Tesco with curlers in my hair, false eyelashes and a Dynasty hairdo! It just doesn’t happen. But I think Sam looks awesome – that’s part of her character.”

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