Essex: Corrie Keegan To Move To County

Coronation Street star Michelle Keegan is quitting Manchester when she leaves the soap next year and setting up home in Essex with boyfriend Mark Wright.

The actress, who plays Tina McIntyre in the ITV drama, said her decision to leave was not down to her romance with the Heart presenter and The Only Way Is Essex star.

She told Hello! magazine the couple were going to "start house hunting after Christmas".

The 26-year-old said: "We'll have been together for over a year by then and we'll look at areas around Essex, so it's easy to travel to London. I am really excited about it.

"I didn't decide to leave because of Mark. It's just how things have worked out. I'd actually been thinking about leaving on and off for a couple of years.

"It was a huge decision to take and a very scary one, as you never know what you'll do afterwards. I will miss it but after six years, I know it's the right thing to do. If I don't do it now at my age, when I have no children or ties, then when will I? I don't want to look back in 10 years' time and think 'what if?'."

Keegan, who grew up in Manchester, said: "I've never lived away from home or even lived with a man. But I've grown up fast over the last few years and know what's right or wrong for me."

But she is not ruling out a return to the cobbles after show bosses decided not to kill her character off.

She said: "They are leaving the door open for me, which I am very grateful for. Who knows what will happen to Tina? You never know with a soap. But I'm sure it will be a dramatic exit."