'EastEnders' fans heartbroken as divorce looms for much-loved couple

Ben Mitchell is out with Callum Highway in EastEnders
'EastEnders' fans are worried about Callum Highway and Ben Mitchell's marriage. (Image credit: BBC)

EastEnders viewers were gutted to see fan-favourites Ben Mitchell (Max Bowden) and Callum Highway’s (Tony Clay) relationship begin to break down during last night’s episode (Tuesday, Feb. 1) which ended with Callum threatening divorce.

The couple’s relationship has been on the rocks since Ben has been struggling to cope with the aftermath of the homophobic attack which saw Callum brutally beaten, while Ben was frozen in fear. 

The shocking attack has been a harsh reminder for Ben, whose ex-boyfriend Paul Coker (Johnny Labey) was killed in a homophobic attack in 2016. Since then, Callum has been trying to help and support Ben with his emotions, but Ben has been adamant they can’t be open about their marriage in public, as he’s petrified that Callum will meet the same fate as Paul.

Even though Ben thinks that the distance is saving Callum’s life, in reality, it’s actually been destroying their marriage and Callum has been finding it hard to cope.

Last night’s episode saw Ben admit to Kathy Beale (Gillian Taylforth) the reason why he gave Stuart Highway (Ricky Champ) money to help him escape the hospital while awaiting his breast cancer treatment, despite knowing it would hurt Callum, who kicked him out after finding out what he did.

He explained to Kathy: “When I was in that hospital, I saw a boy who had been really badly beaten up. That reminded me of Callum.”

“I mean, Stuart wanted to run away, he had no money so I gave it to him, and then I told Callum about it because I knew it would make him angry. I thought it would make him break up with me. And then if we’re not together, we’re not targeted, and we’re not beaten,” he continued.

Kathy told Callum about Ben’s confession and encouraged him to fight for the marriage and support Ben. 

Later on, when Ben returned the keys to Callum and said that he would collect the rest of his stuff tomorrow, Callum took the opportunity to tell him that he understood why he did what he did. But as Callum tried to have a heart-to-heart about the topic, Ben refused to listen.

Callum Highway

Callum begged Ben to help them save their marriage. (Image credit: BBC)

Callum told Ben that he was organising a party at the Albert to take back the streets and that he wanted him to be there, but Ben declined the offer. The topic of divorce then came up after Callum tried to explain that Ben needed to try and put his issues behind him. However, Ben was still thinking of the past events with Paul and refused to compromise on his decision.

“Then let’s get a divorce,” Callum threatened. “So that when I am set-upon for being gay, you don’t have to watch any more. Is that what you want? Yeah? Us two not being together? I love you, Ben. So much. And I want to shout it from every single rooftop, all right? And I don’t care who hears it, or who’s got a problem with it. That is their problem, and it ain’t mine and it ain’t yours."

Callum then pleaded with Ben to meet him outside the Albert in an hour if he thought that their marriage was worth saving, but as the time came it looked as though Ben wasn’t going to show up. 

Callum waits for Ben outside the Albert

Callum waited for Ben — but will he show up? (Image credit: BBC)

“He’s given up on us,” Callum said to Kathy. But will Ben turn up and fight for their marriage? Or could divorce be on the cards for the couple?

Fans at home are hopeful that the couple will reconcile their relationship and are desperate for them not to divorce…

EastEnders continues tomorrow at 7:30pm on BBC1 — see our TV Guide for full listings.

Grace Morris
Staff Writer

Grace is a freelancer writer with WhatToWatch.com, and she now writes for our sister site TechRadar. She graduated from Anglia Ruskin University in 2020 with a degree in Writing and Film Studies, which only made her love for creative writing, film and TV grow stronger.

You'll usually find her watching the drama unfold in the latest reality series or much-loved UK soaps (usually with chocolate by her side!). She's an expert in EastEnders, Emmerdale, Coronation Street and everything reality-related from Selling Sunset and Married At First Sight UK to 90 Day Fiancé UK. Plus Netflix megahit Virgin River!

Grace also likes to explore new places with her friends and family and, of course, watch and read about the latest films and TV series.