Jacqueline Jossa, who is most famous for playing Lauren Branning on EastEnders, said acting was like ‘therapy’ for her when she was going through tough times
Jacqueline Jossa has revealed how she coped after her dad was sent to prison when she was 19.
The actress, famous for portraying Lauren Branning on EastEnders, said playing the role while dealing with the fall out in her family helped – as it was like “therapy”.
Her dad John Jossa was jailed for four years in 2012 after stealing nearly £500,000 of taxpayer’s money from Enfield Council in North London.
The Old Bailey heard he created false invoices and lied about his wife working at the council so he could make payments to her between 2006 and 2010.
He also received a £170,000 pay out when he was made redundant in 2010 and lost all but £25,000 of the cash in dodgy investments.
He admitted three charges involving 104 fraudulent transfers to a savings account over three years.
At the time her dad was jailed, Jacqueline had just won Best Newcomer at the National Television Awards and her career was going from strength to strength.
The soap star, who played Lauren in the BBC soap from 2010 to 2018, said acting for her turned into an escape.
Speaking on Vicky Pattison’s podcast, Jacqueline said: “I spent more time on Lauren than I did on me.
“I would get so into it that all I would think about was ‘I wonder what the next script is going to say’, because I loved it so much
“So when that was gone, I was like ‘who am I?’ It’s all on me now.’”
The I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here winner, who was crowned Queen of the Jungle in 2019, said all her pent up emotions would get released on set.
She continued: “I think it was therapeutic for me. If I’ve got something personal going on – like my dad went to prison all while I was on EastEnders.
“I was lucky enough that I’d be able to come on to set and cry my eyes out and scream and shout.
“And physically go off on someone – if she [Lauren] was drunk I could go ‘yeah’ and my whole body would feel it. Then I would go home and I’d feel alright.”
Jacqueline quit the soap in 2018 to “try new things” – but no longer having the mental release of acting meant her mental health suffered.
She said: “When that was taken and that was gone, I didn’t have that release and it was all in here then.
“When I was going through something, it just continued to stay in, stay in, stay in.
“Had I had still had that release of getting it out, it would have been better for my head.”
Since leaving the soap, Jacqueline has got married to former TOWIE star Dan Osborne, who she shares daughters Ella, six, and three-year-old Mia with.
She still continues to act and make TV appearances and has also carved out a career for herself as a social media star, clocking up 3.2 million followers.