Former EastEnders star Rita Simons has opened up about her decision to have a hysterectomy aged 45 as she prepares to give soap fans a candid look at her life in new ITVBe series Drama Queens

Rita Simons has opened up about her decision to have a hysterectomy aged 45.

The former EastEnders star, 47, who played Roxy Mitchell on the BBC One soap and is now playing Marie Fielding on Hollyoaks, is set to give soap fans a candid look at her life in new ITVBe series Drama Queens.

The new show, which launches on Wednesday 10 April at 9pm for eight episodes, will give viewers a real-life glimpse into the lives of some of the nation’s favourite soap stars as they give an inside look at their lives away from their characters.

Rita joins the line-up, which also includes Amy Walsh, Ellie Leach, Brooke Vincent, Jamelia, Jorgie Porter, Laura Norton, Lucy Fallon and Roxy Shahidi. Ahead of the show launching, Rita has candidly opened up about her health, revealing she even let crew film her having a IV Drip and colonic.

The soap star, who underwent a hysterectomy in early 2023 after debilitating and irregular periods, which worsened her OCD and anxiety, said: “I had a hysterectomy a year ago. So I was suddenly in medical menopause, you’ll see all the things I do to work all hours and not fall on my a***e.

“It changes your whole life. Your body reacts differently to diet and exercise. A lot of the show follows weird, wonderful and crazy stuff I now do. It’s been a year. And it actually takes longer. I tried the gym at six weeks, all I did was damage myself.”

Explaining her reasons for the hysterectomy, Rita added: “It was the best thing I ever did. I’d never change it… It’s the best for my state of mind. A lot of my issues were hormone driven. I had the hysterectomy because of stress. It was causing me so much anxiety. And that mental load has gone.

“That’s been the most amazing thing. I’m a lifelong anxiety sufferer. Every two weeks it was. So, I joined up the dots, and did the procedure. It took a while to get my hormones and HRT

correct but I feel 100 times better than I ever have. Because I’m so busy I try not to stress. I’m protective of my boundaries.

“If I think something is going to stress me out, I consider if I want to do it. On a menopausal body stress is so bad for you. The minute I get stressed and overtired my stomach (which is not fully healed) will immediately bloat. That’s inflamed cells. So, I do the ice bath, meditation, yoga, walks on the beach… as much as I can. But it’s hard. I’m up at 5am and work until 7:30pm. But keeping stress down is key.”

Talking about filming for ITVBe series Drama Queens, Rita added: “I had an IV Drip and a colonic and let the crew film it! I was on my last legs from Panto… 44 shows in three weeks. It is so tough going – the hardest gig. Two weeks rehearsal, three weeks back-to-back shows.

“I spent Xmas day in my digs in Tunbridge Wells, then came back to Liverpool to start the next day. I had no sleep. I felt a whole load better. It’s really good for energy levels – which are so affected by menopause. I get one every three months.”

The soap legend continued of filming: “It was access all areas, I literally let them film me when I was in the loo! You’re not going to see me sobbing. I did that when I left London. But I do talk about my kids not being here. They’re going to be 18 and off to uni soon so it’s like I’ve got empty nest syndrome a bit early. I’ve been trying to talk them both going to Liverpool Uni!

“They’ve been up to stay. We are very close. I speak to Maiya 100 times a day – I just take her around the house on FaceTime… I miss my entire family but mostly the girls. I desperately miss my best friends but I love it up north. We’re in a beach village. The pace of life is so chill… it’s very idyllic. I feel much less hectic.”


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