It's never easy when your favourite character leaves a soap, but it's even more disappointing when it means that they have to leave their on-screen partner behind too. As the nature of Soapland means comings and goings are inevitable, our much-loved soap couples are often torn apart for bizarre reasons. And we are not talking deaths here, either.
So we've been thinking about couples who broke up to accommodate an actor's departure and here are seven soap supercouples who split when one of them left the show:
1. Curly and Raquel (Coronation Street)
Hapless Curly Watts seemed doomed to a luckless love life until he met Raquel and everything changed. Well, not exactly. The nation rejoiced when the pair tied the knot following a prolonged on-off-on again relationship, but it wasn't to last. Despite having weathered many a Weatherfield storm over the years, it was, bizarrely, an aromatherapy job in Kuala Lumpur that tore these soulmates apart for good.
Sarah Lancashire's decision to depart the role in 1996 left writers with little choice but to split the lovebirds up. But if fans were hopeful for a long-awaited reconciliation when Raquel returned four years later, they would have been disappointed.
Upon Raquel's return to the cobbles, she kindly informed Curly that she had actually been pregnant when she left to go overseas and had subsequently given birth to his daughter. Oh and she was pregnant again and marrying her employer. Charming!
2. John Paul and Craig (Hollyoaks)
John Paul and Craig's loyal 'McDean' fans might have fought for them to get their sunset ending, but even that wasn't enough to keep them together forever. Guy Burnet's exit crushed any hopes of a happy ending for the pair back in 2007, but Craig returned a year later for John Paul's exit – thanks to some serious campaigning from their shippers.
The pair might have quite literally got their sunset ending this time, but sadly, it didn't last, as John Paul returned to the show in 2012. Alone. Without Craig. And his love life has gone from one car crash to another ever since.
But could there be hope on the horizon for a McDean reunion? As John Paul jetted out of the UK with his son Matthew for a fresh start abroad in March 2017, he got a phone call from Craig. Did he answer it? Well, that was left a mystery...
3. Bianca and Ricky (EastEnders)
They are one of EastEnders' most iconic couples, but even Bianca and Rrrrrickaaaaay fell victim to the soap curse back in 2012. The duo were torn apart back when Bianca had an affair with her mother's boyfriend Dan Sullivan back in the '90s, but found love again 10 years later – marrying during the show's 25th anniversary week in 2010.
Unfortunately, a combination of Patsy Palmer's maternity leave and Sid Owen's decision to take a break from the show meant that Bianca and Ricky were apart during their new marital life more than they were together. But Sid's later decision to leave the show for good meant that something was set to go drastically wrong for Ricky and Bianca. And it did. In the form of Mandy Salter.
After learning that Ricky had slept with Mandy, Bianca decided that she couldn't forgive him and they said their farewells at none other than Walford East tube station. All a bit underwhelming for this once so popular couple, but Bianca soon moved on.
4. Steve and Karen (Coronation Street)
Doctor Foster star Suranne Jones might be enjoying a successful career away from Corrie, but her decision to bow out of her role as Karen McDonald led to this Weatherfield couple breaking up as well.
Steve and Karen had a happy marriage until she had a miscarriage and everything fell apart. The final nail in the coffin came after Karen fought Tracy on the roof of Underworld, leaving Steve to tell her their relationship was over. They divorced off screen, but luckily it didn't put Steve off marrying again…
5. Steve and Becky (Coronation Street)
Despite Steve's marriage with Karen ending badly (not to mention his first wife Vicky Arden, remember her?), it didn't put him off getting married for a third time when he fell for troubled Becky Granger.
Unsurprisingly, there was no happy ending here either, and when Katherine Kelly's exit was announced in 2011, we knew trouble was brewing. Becky bowed out of Weatherfield the following year – exposing Tracy Barlow's lies in the process – and leaving Steve to pick up the pieces yet again. Is it just us or is there a pattern emerging for Steve here?
6. Ste and Brendan (Hollyoaks)
They are one of Hollyoaks' most loved power couples of recent times, but not even Ste and Brendan were granted a happy ever after. Emmett J Scanlan chose to bow out of his role as Brendan in 2013 following a three-year stint in the soap, breaking the hearts of their army of ardent 'Stendan' fans. In true soap style, Ste powered on and has since had relationships with John Paul, Harry and even his friend Sinead. But in our eyes, Brendan will always be the love of his life.
7. Lauren and Peter (EastEnders)
It was a moving moment when Lauren and Peter walked off into the sunset together (it was the actually the tube station, but it'll do), but their cute little exit is all a bit bittersweet now. While we always knew that Ben Hardy was leaving the show permanently – and at that time, Jacqueline Jossa probably wasn't – it didn't make their off-screen split any less disappointing. And it doesn't end there, either. In a shocking development, Lauren not only returned to the Square Peter-less, but instead loved up with his brother Steven. Talk about rubbing salt in the wound!
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