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Rita Simons says she had a 'nervous breakdown' after splitting from ex Theo Silveston


Rita Simons has emotionally revealed that she had a ‘nervous breakdown’ after splitting from her ex-husband Theo Silveston following 14 years of marriage.

Labelling it as ‘one of the worst times of her life’, the ex-EastEnders actress, 43, who has now finalised her divorce after two-and-a-half-years, said she battled depression, anxiety and insomnia during the period as she threw herself into work.

Rita credited her new partner Ben Harlow, who she initially met while touring with Legally Blonde in 2017, for helping her, adding that she ‘wouldn’t have made it’ without him.

Difficult time: Rita Simons has emotionally revealed that she had a 'nervous breakdown' after splitting from her ex-husband Theo Silveston following 14 years of marriage (pictured in 2017)

Difficult time: Rita Simons has emotionally revealed that she had a ‘nervous breakdown’ after splitting from her ex-husband Theo Silveston following 14 years of marriage (pictured in 2017) 

Reflecting on the difficult time, the star, who only announced her shock split in August, admitted that she knew during her stint on I’m A Celebrity in 2018 that her marriage was over. She shares twins Jaimee and Maiya, 15, with her ex. 

Rita, who is now the ‘happiest she has ever been’, told OK! Magazine: ‘I had terrible insomnia for about a year. When I’m unhappy, my sleep is the first thing to go and then the knock-on is depression and anxiety.

‘I’d go as far as to say I had a nervous breakdown while working because I was so physically and emotionally finished, but I had to keep going.’

Rita added that she had already lost one stone on I’m A Celebrity, then she lost a further three-and-a-half pounds, due to the difficult period.

Moving on: Rita credited her new partner Ben Harlow, who she initially met while touring with Legally Blonde in 2017, for helping her, adding that she 'wouldn't have made it' without him (pictured on stage in 2018)

Moving on: Rita credited her new partner Ben Harlow, who she initially met while touring with Legally Blonde in 2017, for helping her, adding that she ‘wouldn’t have made it’ without him (pictured on stage in 2018)

The actress said that at the time she was appearing on Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, she starred as Miss Hedge in 2019, adding that she ‘didn’t have a life’ as she would ‘cry, go on stage, come off, cry’.

Rita was able to see her psychologist during the difficult period, who she has been seeing since she was 14 due to her battle with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), as well as visit ITV’s I’m A Celebrity therapists. 

The star admitted that it ‘did her head in’ having cameras on her all day during I’m A Celebrity and that she wouldn’t have ‘survived’ without the show support on hand. 

Rita said: ‘There were days where, I wouldn’t say I was suicidal because I’ve never got to that point and I would never do it, but I was aware life could be better dead than alive because I couldn’t see my kids and I was so far from home.’ 

'Worst times': Labelling it as 'one of the worst times of her life', the ex-EastEnders actress, 43, who has now finalised her divorce after two-and-a-half-years, said she battled depression, anxiety and insomnia during the difficult period as she threw herself into work (pictured 2017)

‘Worst times’: Labelling it as ‘one of the worst times of her life’, the ex-EastEnders actress, 43, who has now finalised her divorce after two-and-a-half-years, said she battled depression, anxiety and insomnia during the difficult period as she threw herself into work (pictured 2017)

Twins: Rita shares twin daughters, Jamiee and Maiya, 15, with her ex-husband who she tied the knot with in 2006 (pictured in throwback snap)

Twins: Rita shares twin daughters, Jamiee and Maiya, 15, with her ex-husband who she tied the knot with in 2006 (pictured in throwback snap) 

Reflecting on the ‘scary’ and ‘dark’ time, the star said that during the production of Peter James’ The House on Cold Hill in 2019, she often thought about ‘accidentally’ falling from the stairs on stage so she could be ‘looked after in hospital’.

Rita said that she kept the troubled times and divorce quiet, throwing herself into work and being her ‘bubbly’ self to co-stars.

Talking about why she decided to split from her ex-husband, Rita said they met aged 19 and that they had ‘just changed’.

Over: Reflecting on the difficult time, the star, who only announced her shock split in August, admitted that she knew during her stint on I'm A Celebrity in 2018 (pictured) that her marriage was over

Over: Reflecting on the difficult time, the star, who only announced her shock split in August, admitted that she knew during her stint on I’m A Celebrity in 2018 (pictured) that her marriage was over

Rita admitted she had to be ‘brave’ and it was ‘horrific’, especially as Theo, who only moved out in March 2020 before lockdown, ‘didn’t agree at first but understood at the end’.

After their divorce was finalised earlier this year, the star said that she didn’t get emotional due to all her past tears and she was ‘relieved’. 

The actress also added that her former EastEnders co-star Samantha Womack, who played her on-screen sister Ronnie, has been her ‘rock’ as she too split from her husband Mark in 2018. Samantha only announced the news in September.    

Sad: Rita, who is now the 'happiest she has ever been', told OK! Magazine : 'I had terrible insomnia for about a year. When I'm unhappy, my sleep is the first thing to go and then the knock-on is depression and anxiety' adding that she had a 'nervous breakdown'

Sad: Rita, who is now the ‘happiest she has ever been’, told OK! Magazine : ‘I had terrible insomnia for about a year. When I’m unhappy, my sleep is the first thing to go and then the knock-on is depression and anxiety’ adding that she had a ‘nervous breakdown’  

Rita is now the ‘happiest she has ever been’ and she also spoke about how she first started dating her new partner Ben.

After meeting while touring with Legally Blonde in 2017, the duo remained friends and they went out for lunch before the first lockdown where she realised she liked him. 

The duo’s romance has blossoming during the coronavirus pandemic and he has even come to stay with Rita during the third lockdown, although he will move back to his own place once it ends.

Rita said Ben is the ‘sweetest’ and ‘kindest’ man she has ever met, admitting she wouldn’t have ‘made it through’ without him during ‘all of her insanity’.

'Rock': The actress also added that her former EastEnders co-star Samantha Womack, who played her on-screen sister Ronnie, has been her 'rock' as she too split from her husband Mark in 2018. Samantha only announced the news in September (pictured in 2019)

‘Rock’: The actress also added that her former EastEnders co-star Samantha Womack, who played her on-screen sister Ronnie, has been her ‘rock’ as she too split from her husband Mark in 2018. Samantha only announced the news in September (pictured in 2019) 

The star said that her twin daughters get on really well with Ben and that they are ‘happier’ as their parents are ‘happy’.

Rita shares twin daughters, Jamiee and Maiya, 15, with her ex-husband who she tied the knot with in 2006 after apparently meeting through a mutual friend when they were just 19. Theo runs the award-winning, Kink hair salon in London. 

In May, Rita cryptically implied she had been in a bad place as she wrote on Instagram: ‘I’ve been to dark places in the last few years.’

She divulged that she was battling problems in her personal life and admitted that she has finally found ‘healing’ and ‘peace’. 

Dedication: In May, Rita cryptically implied she had been in a bad place as she wrote on Instagram: 'I've been to dark places in the last few years' while showing her physique

Dedication: In May, Rita cryptically implied she had been in a bad place as she wrote on Instagram: ‘I’ve been to dark places in the last few years’ while showing her physique

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