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EastEnders’ recently departed Jo Joyner has said a recent trip to Brazil’s favelas made her realise how lucky she was with her own family.

Jo played Tanya Branning for seven years in the BBC soap but recently left to spend more time with her husband and twins, moving to an Oxfordshire village.

The 36-year-old actress recently travelled to Sao Paulo in Brazil with ITV’s Daybreak and charity CAFOD and told the Daily Mirror about the poverty she’d seen, as well as her reasons for leaving EastEnders.

She said: “I felt I missed out on the kids. The hours on a soap are so long, sometimes I couldn’t see them for three days. Every woman tries to find a balance.

“But in Brazil I met plenty of women who don’t have the luxury of feeling guilty – they’re off at 5am to work and the kids are with grandma because that’s just what has to happen for them to live.”

Jo said she would love to have more kids but after going through IVF to have the twins, was not sure she could face it again.

“We would love more kids but we’re just going to leave it in the lap of the gods – which hasn’t done much for us so far. You have a luck pot in life and we’re very grateful for the IVF we had. I don’t want to push it,” she said.

“Being a mum is amazing and I feel like the luckiest woman alive. My favourite times are when the four of us are together.”