EastEnders' Patsy Palmer returns to Albert Square - Where has she been? What has she been up to?
23 May 2019, 14:30
The soap star swapped London for the bright lights of LA five years ago – here, we take a look at how she and her family have settled into life across the pond.
Eastenders favourite Patsy Palmer quit her role as Bianca Jackson in 2014 and has since reinvented herself over in Los Angeles.
The 46-year-old traded the grey skies of Walford for a beach-front house in Malibu, California, and has not only carved out a new career for herself, but her children have fast become rising stars in Hollywood, too.
Here, we take a look at what life has been like for the British actress since leaving the BBC soap as she prepares to make an explosive comeback later this year.
Where has Patsy Palmer been?
Patsy Palmer announced she was leaving BBC soap Eastenders back in 2014.
Shortly after her departure, the cockney favourite relocated to LA in an attempt to kickstart a new career.
She set up home in Malibu, moving into a glamorous property that overlooked the beach with her husband Richard Merkell and their three children, Fenton, Emilia and Bertie.
Patsy's son Charley, from her previous relationship with boxer Alfie Rothwell, reportedly remained in the UK to pursue his acting career, which has seen him appear in iBoy, Dunkirk, star opposite Tom Hardy in Legend and act alongside Gary Oldman in The Darkest Hour.
Since moving to the States, Fenton and Emilia have had a huge amount of success.
Both teens were snapped up by LA’s exclusive modelling agency, Dragonfly, which saw them bag jobs for some of America's hottest, high-end brands.
The siblings have now made a name for themselves in California and Fenton was even linked to supermodel Cindy Crawford’s famous daughter, Kaia Gerber, catapulting him further into the spotlight.
At the time, a source said: “Fenton and Kaia have been close pals for a while through their mums’ friendship and in recent months it has grown into something more.
“It’s early days but they have grown close and seem very happy together and it helps that they are both trying to make it in the same industry.
"Plus Kaia has also become best friends with Emilia and they often hang out together. You wouldn’t think it likely for sunny LA and rainy Walford to mix together."
What has Patsy Palmer been up to?
Despite being famed for its acting opportunities, mum-of-four Patsy took a different career path when she moved across the pond.
The 46-year-old built up a community of stars around her for support, including supermodel Cindy Crawford and The Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills star Camille Grammer, and turned her hand to DJ-ing at celebrity-packed events instead.
An insider said: “Patsy has been DJ-ing all over the place and she really is in demand. Here you can be an EastEnders star and DJ in a top club whereas that wouldn’t happen in London.
"People don’t know about her acting but she is well-connected and has been able to create a new life for herself out here.
"LA has been life-changing for her.”
Speaking about her decision to move to America with her family in tow, she said: “We just decided that we wanted to go. We said we either go now or we don’t go.
"My kids are big tennis players and I wanted the outdoor life for them. My kids are really happy. It is a really beautiful life.
“It was a little bit strange getting used to the idea you’re not ‘on show’ everywhere you walk about, you don’t have to be ready to speak to someone about EastEnders,” she said.
“You can go out and just completely be yourself. It’s kind of weird, it is something you probably need therapy for though I haven’t gone down that route since I’ve been here. But I’m not going to lie. I don’t miss acting one bit.”