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Daniella Westbrook

Danniella Westbrook is a British actress known for playing Samantha Mitchell in the popular BBC soap opera EastEnders. She is probably more famous for her much publicised personal life rather than her acting credentials.

Life in EastEnders

Daniella Joined the Sylvia Young Theatre School at a young age and after appearing in several advertisements she was put forward for the role of Sam Mitchell (the younger sister of Phil and Grant) in EastEnders. Her audition was successful and she made her first appearance on the hit soap in 1990. During her intitial stint on the show Daniella became a regular on the London party circuit and was rarely out of the British tabloids. Press interest esculated due to her off screen and turbulent relationship with Brian Harvey, who was a member of British boy-band East 17. Despite featuring in some prominent storylines, rumours of Daniella's recreational drug-taking and poor and tardy attendance on set, prompted the producers to ask her to leave the hit soap in 1993.

In 1995, thinking that Daniella had cleaned up her act, the producers asked her back to the soap a second time. However, Daniella was still regularly using drugs and in 1996 she was written out of the soap again. Following her second departure, Daniella was involved in a near fatal car accident, which left her with severe facial injuries, including a dislocated eye. Miraculously Daniella survived, and after corrective surgery sustained no long-term or majorly disfiguring injuries.

In 1999 the EastEnders producers decided to reintroduce the character of Sam Mitchell back into the show. Although they initially considered recasting the role to another actress and despite all her past problems, the EastEnders producers decided to give Daniella another chance and she was asked back for a third time. During this time Daniella's excessive use of cocaine had completely eroded away her nasal septum. In order to hide this from the audience Daniella was only filmed in ways that would keep her septum hidden from view. In doing this Daniella was able to keep her damaged septum a secret from both the viewers and the press. However, Daniella's Drug taking only worsened and in 2000 she was asked to leave EastEnders for a third and final time. Since her departure the character of Sam Mitchell has been recast and was played by Kim Medcalf from 2002-2005.

Cocaine addiction

In 2000 Daniella was photographed at the British Soap Awards, where an image of her missing septum was given to a series of tabloid newspapers, unveiling her secret and highlighting her excessive drug-abuse. Hounded by the press and with public concern at its peak, Daniella was checked into rehab and 6 months later she appeared on the Channel 4 show 'The Priory', with the claim that she was clean and had been free from drugs for months. However, hosts Jamie Theakston and Zoe Ball struggled to get coherent answers from Daniella, who appeared to be heavily under the influence of drugs (despite her claims of abstinence). Daniella has since been quoted as saying that the shocking image of her drug induced performance on 'The Priory' was the motivation she needed to prompt her to re-enter rehab in order to kick her drug habit, which she has now successfully done. Daniella has since undergone reconstructive surgery on her nose to replace her eroded septum.

Daniella has been painfully honest about her drug addiction, featuring in several documentaries, including an interview with British Journalist Martin Bashir for the Tonight with Trevor McDonald show. Her motivation behind this was to deter people from using drugs and to show the effects that drugs can have. It has been reported that during the worst period of her addiction, she was using 6 grammes of cocaine a day, and spending over 300 a day. She has estimated that she has spent over 250,000 on drugs and has admitted that during her lowest ebb she attempted to commit suicide several times. Since Daniella's recovery many EastEnders cast members, including Martine McCutcheon, Mike Reid, Barbara Windsor and Sid Owen, have stated that Daniella's abuse became so bad that they feared she would not live much longer because of it.

Recent work

In 2003 Daniella was a contestant in the British ITV reality series I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here!. Despite being a popular contender for winner, Daniella found the environment traumatic, saying that she missed her children and wasn't psychologically prepared for the hardship of jungle life. She quit the show before being voted off.

She recently co-presented Cosmetic Surgery Live alongside Vanessa Feltz and also presents a series of fitness DVDs. She has also appeared in the reality series I'm Famous and Frightened! and Most Haunted and in the television comedy sketch show Bo' Selecta. She is currently presenting 'Derek Acorah's Ghost Towns' with Derek Acorah on LIVINGtv.

After Kim Medcalf quit the role of Sam Mitchell in 2005 a tabloid rumour suggested that Daniella would be reprising the role in her place, the rumour was however denied by the BBC.

She married her second husband, millionaire businessman 'Kevin Jenkins' on 27th December 2001 and they have one daughter together, as well as a son from her first marriage . Daniella now lives in America with her husband and children and comes back to England only to work.

Daniella is also known to have had several breast enhancements.


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Daniella Westbrook Facts

OccupationActress
BirthdayNovember 5, 1973 (41)
SignScorpio
BirthplaceEssex, England, United Kingdom

Selected Filmography

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