How did EastEnders' Ian Beale become homeless and what happened to him?

27 July 2020, 12:56

Ian Beale was homeless in 2012
Ian Beale was homeless in 2012. Picture: BBC

Ian Beale was left homeless after he suffered serious mental health struggles, but what happened to him in 2012? Find out below...

EastEnders’ Ian Beale has become one of the most iconic soap characters on British TV.

Actor Adam Woodyatt has been giving us endless marriages, family drama and hilarious one-liners since the first episode of the BBC soap aired in 1985.

But as well as entertaining the nation for 35 years, Ian Beale has also faced some tough times, most notably eight years ago when he became homeless.

So, why did Ian Beale end up living on the streets? Take a trip back down memory lane…

Ian Beale was part of a mental health storyline
Ian Beale was part of a mental health storyline. Picture: BBC

Why did Ian Beale end up homeless?

Back in 2012, Ian Beale fled Albert Square after suffering a devastating breakdown.

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As well as finding out his half-brother Ben Mitchell had killed Heather Trott, he was also jilted by his fiancée Mandy Salter on their wedding day.

He was also seen walking down the motorway wearing a pair of pyjamas after his financial problems became too much for him.

The character went missing from Walford for a whole month, with his daughter Lucy lying to fellow residents that he was on his honeymoon.

He was first spotted by Lauren Branning at a soup kitchen, before Alfie Moon, along with Max and Tanya Branning, found him sleeping rough under an underpass.

When he returned to Walford, he had a matted beard, old wooly hat and dirty clothes.

Ian's breakdown was a major story as viewers saw him struggle while trying to juggle his financial situation and family drama.

At the time, EastEnders bosses worked closely with various mental health experts and charities, including Time to Change - a partnership between Mind and Rethink Mental Illness.

Adam - who plays Ian - said he was "overwhelmed" by the viewer response to the story.

Speaking to the Daily Mirror, Jenni Regan, of charity Time to Change, said: “We set up a meeting between the scriptwriters and someone who has suffered from depression so they could reflect accurately what Ian has been going through.

“Mental health problems can happen to anyone and we hope EastEnders will help eliminate the stigma and taboo that still surrounds the issue.”

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