Emmerdale‘s Rokhsaneh Ghawam-Shahidi tells Soaplife Leyla’s hiding a big secret… The secret that her sister Alicia doesn’t want her in her life!

How is Leyla dealing with her mum’s death?
“Not very well. They were very close until her mum had a stroke and stopped recognising people. Leyla couldn’t handle that and sent money instead of going to see her. But Leyla loved her mum and feels very guilty that she wasn’t there for her at the end.”

How does she feel when her sister Alicia arrives and tells her to stay away from the funeral?
“It’s upsetting. Leyla and her sister used to be close, but in the last few years they’ve had very little to do with each other. It’s partly to do with the fact that Leyla couldn’t handle seeing their mum once she’d fallen ill, but there’s also more to it than this. It’s complicated.”

We’ve heard that Leyla defies her sister and turns up at the funeral. What happens?
“The atmosphere is very tense, but Alicia holds back from starting anything.”

Why doesn’t David go with Leyla?
“Because Leyla knows a big row could be in the offing and she wants to keep her new life with David separate from her former life.”

Alicia’s husband Justin tells Leyla to leave the wake. Does she?
“Yes and without a fuss. The thing is, Leyla wants to make up with her sister so they can have a proper relationship again. Leyla knows if she kicks off that will never happen.”

Justin turns up at the shop the next day… Why does Leyla tell David he’s a sales rep?
“She just blurts it out in a kind of panic – because of a secret in her past that has a bearing on things.”

What kind of secret?
“As I said, it’s complicated… There’s more than just one thing going on here.”

Why does Justin turn up anyway?
“He cares for Leyla and wants to know she’s OK. In the past, Leyla did a lot for his and Alicia’s marriage. At one time Justin, Alicia and Leyla were good friends.”

David senses Leyla’s on edge. What explanation does she give him?
“He keeps asking her to talk to him, but she just says she’s fine and there’s nothing wrong. She’s shutting him out and it’s very frustrating for him.”

We have a feeling this secret will blow Leyla and David apart…

“I honestly don’t know what’s going to happen. All I do know is that they’ve been through a lot together, but somehow they always manage to come out of it stronger. I hope that’s the case this time. Leyla’s big fear is that David will leave her once he finds out what she’s hiding – or maybe he just won’t see her in the same light any more. She wants to avoid that at all costs.”

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