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Charlie Brooks — things you didn’t know about the ‘EastEnders’ star

Charlie Brooks plays Janine in EastEnders
Charlie Brooks plays Janine in 'EastEnders'. (Image credit: Mike Marsland/WireImage)

Charlie Brooks blasted back into EastEnders as Janine earlier this year, with fans rejoicing at her return. Charlie has played the role since 1999 when she was just 17 and has spent over 20 years on and off defending Janine’s place as Walford’s biggest-ever bitch.

Over the years, Janine’s been involved in plots from cocaine addiction to prostitution, and viewers have gasped at everything from gold-digging marriages to cold-blooded murders.

So, what do we know about the actress behind the iconic villain? We all saw her join the list of I'm A Celebrity winners in 2012 when she was crowned Queen of the jungle, but there’s far more to Charlie than feasting on witchetty grubs…

Charlie Brooks petitioned her parents to become an actress

Charlie’s parents tried to put her off a career as an actress, but after she wrote them a passionate 16-page letter explaining her love for acting and why she wanted to go to drama school, they became her 'biggest supporters'. She had had early roles in kids shows The Demon headmaster and Out of Tune before joining EastEnders in 1999.

She was brought up in Wales

Although born in Hertfordshire – where EastEnders is filmed – Charlie’s family moved to Barmouth, Wales when she was just a child and she spent most of her younger years there. She considers the Gwynedd town her hometown, but moved back south to London to go to drama school when she as just 13, boarding with a family while she studied.

Charlie Brooks was not the first Janine

Janine in EastEnders

Charlie has played iconic Janine since 1999. (Image credit: BBC)

Janine is such an iconic character that it’s hard to believe that there was a time Charlie didn’t play her. However, she’s actually the third actress to take the role.

When Frank’s troubled daughter first arrived in Walford in 1989, she was played by Rebecca Mitchell, then Alexia Demetriou took over in 1993.

However, it was only when Charlie took over in 1999 that the fun really began. Her first big plot her seduce Jamie Mitchell then spread rumours about the inadequacy of his ‘performance’. And Janine would only get worse…

She lives downstairs from her ex

Charlie gave birth to daughter Kiki in 2004, when she was 23. Charlie and partner, club owner Tony Truman, split in 2007.

However, the pair remain extremely close, they have spent Christmas as a family and Tony even lives in the flat upstairs! “We are going to grow old together, just in a very different way,” Charlie told Yahoo’s White Wine Question Time podcast.

Tony even threw Charlie’s 40th birthday party for her!

Charlie’s given up the booze

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Former party girl Charlie ditched the drink last year, realizing that alcohol was feeding her anxiety – and her hangovers were taking longer and longer to shake off.

And admits she hasn’t looked back, feeling the change has made her more focused.

“I really wanted to explore what else was out there for me to do and I love the clarity that has come from me giving up wine,” she told ITV’s Loose Women. “I miss the odd glass, not going to lie, but fundamentally life is so much better.”

She’s happily single

Charlie split from her most recent ex-boyfriend, architect Ben Hollington, in 2018, and is enjoying the solo life, feeling she’s managed to refocus on who she is during this time.

“I’ve been single for pretty much four years and, hand on heart, it’s been the most important time of my life,” she told Closer Online.

She’s got a killer instinct

While Janine famously pushed Barry Evans to his death, and fatally stabbed her hubby Michael, Charlie has had a bit of a run on murderous roles away from the Square.

Her first role after quitting EastEnders was portraying the real-life killer Beverley Allitt, a nurse who murdered four children in 1991, in BBC drama Angel of Death, alongside Ian Kelsey. Meanwhile, her role in Channel 5 drama Lie With Me this year saw her character, Anna, kill her husband and then frame his mistress for the crime.

Charlie’s an entrepreneur

Someone call Dragon’s Den! As well as starring in EastEnders, Charlie also runs a business with her brother Ben. IamPro is a platform that provides online drama coaching. Charlie started the business so that that people from smaller towns – as she was - can access training, not just those close to big cities

Her daughter Kiki is following in her footsteps

Charlie’s daughter Kiki is 17 this year and has already had a role in CBBC series The Dumping Ground.

Charlie is determined to support her on her career choice. “She comes alive on stage,” Charlie told The Sun. “She’s gonna outdo me! Like my parents did with me, I will support her as best I can.”

Charlie admits as Kiki was growing up the pair have had some stormy times, but they are now the best of friends. “She is a fantastic young woman and I absolutely love being around her,” she says.

Charlie Brooks’ Fact File

Answers to the most frequently asked questions about the EastEnders’ star…

What is Charlie Brooks’ full name?

Charlie’s full name is Charlene Emma Brooks.

How old is Charlie Brooks?

Charlie is 40. Her date of birth is 1981.

Where was Charlie Brooks born?

Charlie Brooks was born in Hertfordshire, England.

Is Charlie Brooks married?

Charlie is currently single. She remains close to the father of her daughter, Kiki, Tony Truman.

How tall is Charlie Brooks?

Charlie Brooks is five foot five.

Twitter:  CharlieBrooks0

Instagram: charlie_brooks_xx

EastEnders airs Mondays at 8.05pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7.35pm and Fridays at 8.30pm on BBC One - see our TV Guide for full listings. 

You can also catch up on episodes on BBC iPlayer now. 

We work hard to ensure that all information is correct. Facts that change over time, such as age, will be correct, to the best of our knowledge, at the time of the last article update.

 

Steven Murphy

Steven is a writer, editor, and commentator with a passion for popular TV and soap operas. He spent 20 years as the editor of Inside Soap magazine, documenting every punch up and pucker up in the Street, the Square and the village. As a feature writer he’s covered TV crime dramas, period dramas and even some real-life star dramas. He’s been seen as a talking head on more TV clip shows than he cares to remember, has a 

a life-long passion for TV sci-fi – the older and creakier the better – and is a slight obsessive about any reality show featuring hotels.