Sharon Watts — everything you need to know about the EastEnders character

Sharon Watts holding a glass
Sharon Watts is a much-loved Walford resident. (Image credit: BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron)

Ever since she appeared on our screens in the first episode of EastEnders, Sharon Watts (Letitia Dean) has captured the heart of the nation.

The character is now such an iconic part of EastEnders that it's hard to imagine Walford without her glossy blonde hair and tight miniskirts.

Now, Sharon is at the forefront of a huge Christmas murder mystery which will see the perpetrator exposed over the festive season after an unknown man is killed in the Vic at the hands of one of the six Walford women.

From teenage drama to the queen of Walford, here is everything you need to know about EastEnders legend Sharon Watts...

How old is Sharon Watts star Letitia Dean?

Letitia Dean is 55 years old. She was born on 14 November 1967.

When did Sharon Watts first arrive in EastEnders?

Sharon Watts appeared in the first ever episode of EastEnders, which aired on 19th February 1985. She was introduced as the adopted teenage daughter of pub landlords Den (Leslie Grantham) and Angie Watts (Anita Dobson) and she was raised at The Queen Vic.

Over the last three decades she has grown from a grumpy 80s teenager to a sassy business woman and mother.

Sharon, Den and Angie Watts with Roly the dog

Sharon with her adoptive parents Den and Angie Watts with their dog Roly. (Image credit: Getty)

Was Sharon Watts adopted?

Sharon is the adoptive daughter of EastEnders iconic landlords Den and Angie Watts, played by Leslie Grantham and Anita Dobson.

She grew up in The Queen Victoria pub, often finding herself caught in the middle of her parents' constant fighting.

Angie's battle with alcohol was eventually her downfall and she died of cirrhosis of the liver in 2002.

Den finally met his maker in 2005 after being bludgeoned to death by second wife Chrissie Watts (Tracy-Ann Oberman).

(L-R) Letitia Dean, Anita Dobson and Leslie Grantham in a scene from the BBC soap opera 'EastEnders', April 5th 1991.

Sharon was raised by Den and Angie Watts at The Queen Vic. (Image credit: Don Smith/Radio Times/Getty Images)

At one stage Sharon decided to track down her birth mother, Carol Hanley. The pair met several times, but sadly for Sharon, Carol admitted she had no maternal feelings towards her.

In 2015 Carol got back in touch, writing to Sharon and asking to meet again. But by the time Sharon decided to reconnect with her birth mum, Carol had died.

Sharon later discovered that villain, Gavin Sullivan (Paul Nicholas), was her biological father and was disgusted to learn that he handed her over to Den Watts as part of a business transaction.

In 2021, Sharon discovered the bombshell that Gavin had a son called Zack Hudson (James Farrar), who turned out to be her long-lost brother.

Sharon Watts and Zack Hudson with a bandage on his hand

Sharon with her brother Zack Hudson. (Image credit: BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron)

What have been Sharon's biggest EastEnders storylines?

Over the years Sharon has been at the centre of many Walford dramas.

One of Sharon's most memorable storylines was dubbed 'Sharongate' in 1994, which saw the character, who was married to Grant Mitchell (Ross Kemp) at the time, have an affair with his older brother, Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden). The episode is still one of EastEnders' highest viewed episodes to date.

But while you might have thought Sharon would have learned her lesson, history repeated itself more recently when the character had an affair with Keanu Taylor (Danny Walters) while she was still married to Phil Mitchell.

Another of Sharon's most iconic storylines saw her dad, Den Watts, come back from the dead in 2003. The character appeared to be murdered in 1989 after getting involved with criminal organisation The Firm.

Fast forward 14 years and Sharon discovered that Den had survived and fled to Spain, leading to the pair being reunited once again.

More recently Sharon's faced the biggest tragedy of her life when her teenage son Denny was killed in the Thames boat party episodes, which were aired in celebration of the soap's 35th anniversary.

EastEnders Phil Mitchell Sharon Mitchell and Grant Mitchell in 1994

Sharon was involved in a famous love triangle between the Mitchell brothers. (Image credit: BBC)

When did Sharon Watts marry Phil Mitchell?

Sharon and Phil's relationship has been on and off for years — the pair, it seems, just can't stay away from one another.

After Sharon's failed romance with Jack Branning (Scott Maslen), Sharon and Phil's relationship was revisited in 2013. The pair finally tied the knot in 2014, and while Sharon might have had Shirley Carter (Linda Henry) as her love rival, she has always been confident in the knowledge she is the love of Phil's life.

But things came to a messy end when Sharon had an affair with Keanu Taylor — not only breaking Phil's heart, but the secret fling also led to Sharon's son Kayden (now called Albie) being born.

Despite Phil and Sharon trying to patch things up, Albie came between the pair, and they went their separate ways once again.

Sharon and Phil's romance was nearly reignited at his wedding to Kat Slater (Jessie Wallace), after Alfie Moon (Shane Richie) gatecrashed the ceremony. However, Sharon was left heartbroken when Phil chose Kat over her.

Kat Slater and Phil Mitchell's marriage drama

Sharon tried to win Phil Mitchell back despite his engagement to Kat Slater. (Image credit: BBC)

When did Sharon's son Denny die?

Sharon's teenage son, Denny, who she shared with late husband Dennis Rickman (Nigel Harman), met a watery end after being caught up in the Thames boat disaster that took centre stage for EastEnders' 35th anniversary episodes.

Denny snuck onto the boat against Sharon's wishes, only to have a confrontation with Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt), who then locked him in a room below deck.

Despite Ian then going back to save Denny when the boat started to sink, Denny sadly didn't make it.

While everyone has been hailing Ian a hero, Phil has taken the blame for Denny's demise after being the one to cause the boat crash while fighting with love rival, Keanu Taylor.

Following Denny's devastating death, Sharon discovered that he had a baby with his friend Jada Lennox (Kelsey Calladine-Smith) — a daughter called Alyssa.

Sharon Mitchell buys Dennis Rickman a treat

Sharon's world fell apart when Denny was killed. (Image credit: BBC)

Who is Sharon's best friend?

While growing up in Walford, Sharon's best friend was Michelle Fowler, played by Susan Tully.

Sharon's since formed a close friendship with landlady Linda Carter (Kellie Bright) and the pair can often be found sharing their troubles.

But one constant friend that Sharon has always had by her side since day one is Ian Beale.

The pair dated briefly in 1986, but their teenage romance ended when Sharon fell for Simon Wicks (Nick Berry).

Years later, they tied the knot in 2020, but their marriage broke down when Sharon poisoned Ian in revenge for killing Denny and asked Phil to murder him.

Luckily, Ian managed to escape Walford, although it's safe to say that the pair no longer have a friendship.

Ian Beale and Sharon Mitchell in EastEnders

Ian Beale and Sharon had been friends since they were teenagers.

EastEnders airs Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings at 7.30 pm on BBC One — see our TV Guide for full listings. You can also catch up on episodes on BBC iPlayer now. 

Claire Crick
Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch

Claire is Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch and has been a journalist for over 15 years, writing about everything from soaps and TV to beauty, entertainment, and even the Royal Family. After starting her career at a soap magazine, she ended up staying for 13 years, and over that time she’s pulled pints in the Rovers Return, sung karaoke in the Emmerdale village hall, taken a stroll around Albert Square, and visited Summer Bay Surf Club in sunny Australia. 

After learning some tricks of the trade at websites Digital Spy, Entertainment Daily, and Woman & Home, Claire landed a role at What’s On TV and writing about all things TV and film, with a particular love for Aussie soaps, Strictly Come Dancing and Bake Off

She’s interviewed everyone from June Brown — AKA Dot Cotton — to Michelle Keegan, swapped cooking tips with baking legend Mary Berry backstage at the NTAs, and danced the night away with soap stars at countless awards bashes. There’s not a lot she doesn’t know about soaps and TV and can be very handy when a soapy question comes up in a pub quiz! 

As well as all things soap-related, Claire also loves running, spa breaks, days out with her kids, and getting lost in a good book.