Martine McCutcheon has "taken a step back from TV" to spend time with her son.
The 46-year-old actress - who has seven-year-old Rafferty with singer husband Jack McManus - shot to fame by playing barmaid Tiffany Mitchell on BBC soap 'EastEnders' in the 1990s but has not been seen on screens since she finished in 10th place as the Swan on 'The Masked Singer' in 2021 nor has she acted since appearing in the 2018 film 'The Bromley Boys' because long days keep her away from her family.
She said: "With filming, you have to be on call 24/7 and it's normally 17-hour days. So that's the reason why, for TV dramas and movies, I've taken a step back. We've only got one child and I don't want to miss anything. I'm not going to get another one to get those moments with. When jobs come in for myself and Jack, we say, 'Family first for us.' Rafferty is so precious... we're so lucky to have him. And what is the point if we're never going to be around to do the school pick-up or drop off. We have to say, 'OK, take that job and leave the other three’. It's hard. You want to be able to do them all, but you just can't."
The former 'Loose Women' panellist enjoyed an Olivier Award-winning stint as Eliza Doolittle in 'My Fair Lady' after leaving 'EastEnders' and explained that it would be "nice" to also play a lady on screen at some point but does not wish to return to the BBC soap as Tiffany - who was killed off when she was run over by a car - because it "wouldn't be the same."
She told The Sunday Mirror newspaper: "I’ve been the barmaid, the maid with the biscuits and the maid in 'At Bertram’s Hotel' by Agatha Christie. I learned on 'My Fair Lady' on stage that it was nice to be the lady, so it’d be quite nice to be the lady on screen as well as on stage. That would be really good! [Tiffany] went out with a bang – literally! If you’re gonna go, that’s the way. If I went back now, it just wouldn’t be the same. I had the time I was meant to have."