From soap stardom to the 9-5: How a whole host of TV favourites swapped the limelight of the small screen for VERY regular day jobs
For many actors, landing a role on a major soap can be the ultimate break, with your character being a decades-long fixture on TV with huge ratings and awards to your name.
But once stars bid farewell, a fickle industry can mean the end of an illustrious career, and the need to retrain as something new.
Recently this has been more prominent than ever, with Emmerdale star Adele Silva revealing she’s given up acting to become a teacher at National Film and Television School.
And after quitting the cobbles in 2015, Coronation Street star Georgia May Foote has revealed she’s retrained as a nail technician.
So, as soap stars ditch the acting world for a slew of wholly different roles, MailOnline takes a look at the household names who have stepped away from the limelight with ‘normal’ jobs.
Quit fame: Adele Silva, 42, who played the character Kelly Windsor on Emmerdale, is now a mother and teacher at the National Film and Television School
Silva lining: She starred on the soap in a selection of different stints from 1993 until 2011
Adele, 42, who played the character Kelly Windsor on Emmerdale, is now working as a teacher at the National Film and Television School.
The actress also shares an eight-year-old daughter Sienna with Oliver Farber, after suffering three miscarriages.
Adele, who also made an appearances in Hollyoaks in 2015, is remembered for being part of a number of steamy affair storylines during her time on Emmerdale from 1993-2011.
The star quit Emmerdale following her pregnancy with Sienna and decided not to return for her on-screen sister’s final scenes in the soap because she wanted to concentrate on her first child.
Adele moved to Los Angeles in a bid to find fame as a movie star, but her dreams were dashed and she was revealed to have taken a job as a shop assistant.
After the Daily Mail published pictures of the actress cleaning and stocking up in Ted Baker on Melrose Avenue, Adele said: ‘I’m a jobbing actress and in this climate you can either sell your soul or do an honest day’s work.’
The actress, who returned to the soap for another brief stint in 2011, revealed last year that she wouldn’t rule of making another return to the soap.
Georgia May Foote
Nailed it! Coronation Street star Georgia May Foote has retrained as a nail technician, opening her own salon in Manchester
Actress: The actress is best known for her role as Katy Armstrong on the ITV soap, and after leaving the soap in 2015, her character was killed off-screen in 2017
Georgia, who is best known for her role as Katy Armstrong on the ITV soap, has launched her own business GMF Nails in the beauty world.
Georgia, who still works in acting and voiceover work according to her social media, first qualified as a nail technician in 2021.
The former soap star has even opened her own salon in Middleton, Manchester, and has an Instagram following of 5,000 people.
Georgia’s page reveals that she offers services including 1-1 lessons, as well as builder gel, gel polish and a variety of nail art.
Georgia, who married her boyfriend Kris Evans last month, recently revealed that she will now be offering lessons, priced at between £150-£400, for two or six hours respectively.
The announcement read: ‘I will now be offering 1-1 lessons with myself! These lessons are for qualified nail techs who are looking to enhance and perfect their skills.’
Killer storyline! Hetti was at the centre of one of EastEnders’ most explosive Whodunnits, when her character Lucy Beale was murdered in 2014
Pulling pints! Since then, the young actress has got a job in a bar in north London
Hetti was at the centre of one of EastEnders’ most explosive Whodunnits, when her character Lucy Beale was murdered in 2014.
Since then, the young actress has got a job in a bar in north London, with a source telling The Sunday Mirror: ‘She was clearing glasses while punters watched football and smoking fags outside with colleagues.’
Hetti revealed her hatred of Lucy when she hit back at an Instagram troll who had been commenting on her pictures and called her a ‘trampy little w***e’.
She wrote: ‘Seeing as you kindly comment on many of my stories I will now take the time to respond to each one.
‘Firstly, this “posh white” girl is allowed to talk in whatever way she pleases. As much as I’m very found of the English language, I’m free to use words as I see fit. (sic)’
But she agreed with one comment, writing: ‘I’m glad Bobby killed Lucy too, I hated her.’
Answering another point from the troll, she said: ‘LGBTQIA+ history is an extremely important part of education. To believe otherwise is ridiculously problematic and homophobic.’
Hetti then added: ‘Trampy s**t? Fair comment. I do love gay men yes I also love straight men. (The ones who aren’t homophobic or sexist.)’
Jobbing actor: After leaving EastEnders in 2020, Adam began working on food stalls, and was seen selling vegan dishes at a festival in Cheshire
Grand return: And while Adam has delved into the catering world, he is set to reprise his role as Ian Beale later this year, alongside old flame Cindy (played by Michelle Collins)
After stepping away from EastEnders in 2020, Adam was spotted selling vegan food at a festival in Cheshire.
The actor was helping to run a plant-based street food trailer with catering company Kilty & Co.
He was spotted selling Cajun wedges and kedgeree at Pub In The Park in Wimbledon in 2022, and was seen working in a food stall in Marlow in 2021, telling customers he was ‘getting paid in burgers’.
Adam was on EastEnders from its very first episode in 1985 and was the longest-serving member of the cast of EastEnders when he stepped back from the role three years.
And while Adam has delved into the catering world, he is set to reprise his role as Ian Beale later this year, alongside old flame Cindy (played by Michelle Collins).
Throwback: Tony Discipline, 34, who portrayed Alfie Moon’s cousin Tyler Moon from 2011 until 2013, has completely changed his life outside of the spotlight after leaving EastEnders
Wow: Despite being part of several dramatic storylines during his two year stint on BBC soap, Tony has since left acting behind and now works as a firefighter and a barman
A decade after bidding farewell to Albert Square, Tony has completely changed his life outside of the spotlight.
The actor, who portrayed Alfie Moon’s cousin Tyler Moon from 2011 until 2013, has since left acting behind and now works as a firefighter and a barman.
Tony has now opened up about his career move but didn’t rule out returning to Albert Square if the opportunity ever arose.
He told The Sun: ‘I love it. Every day is different and you feel you’re helping your community. I love it.
‘I loved my time there. It was a great chapter in my life and if the opportunity ever came up, I would definitely be interested. Tyler’s still alive, so it could happen. He left to join his brother Anthony on a cruise. They must have got stuck in the Arctic because it’s been a long old cruise!’
Tony also runs and serves drinks at a travelling bar for events, and weddings, where he has regular run-ins with long-time fans of the soap.
He added: ‘A lot of people call it “The Little Vic” after they see me bartending and recognise me from Eastenders.’
RIP: Charlie Clements played Bradley Branning in EastEnders between 2006 and 2010, leaving the soap when his character was killed off
Branching out: Charlie continued acting after leaving the popular soap while also working as a chef, and posting lots if food photos on his Instagram account over the years
Charlie starred as Bradley Branning in EastEnders, winning multiple awards between 2006 and 2010 for his role as Max Branning’s downtrodden son, before his character was killed off during the soap’s live 25th anniversary episode on 19 February 2010.
Soon after EastEnders he played the part of David Filde in a touring production of The Haunting. And in 2012 he played the role of Mick in Meredish Oakes’ controversial play Faith at the Courtyard Theatre in Hoxton, London.
But in 2020 he started posting photos on his Instagram with hashtags chef and the acting chef.
He later told Loose Women he’d been working in a garden centre, both in the kitchen as a chef, and in the plant section, when acting work dried up during lockdown.
‘Working there has increased my knowledge of everything plant related. The acting stopped for everybody, it was way to support my family. At end of the day, I’ve never been afraid of work,’ he said.
‘I’ve never been work shy and it does get picked up by the media.
‘There’s the mentality that if you had a job in the public eye, you can’t get a normal job. I’m a jobbing actor and I have to support my family.’
Explaining he had been furloughed during the UK’s first lockdown not long after picking up work in a kitchen, he said: ‘I just did home-schooling with the kids and my wife. We tried to have fun with the kids.’
In April 2021 he posted a photo of himself as a chef, but captioned the pic: ‘Last day as a chef today! Onto rehearsals next week.’
Blast from the past: Adam starred as Nick Tilsley in Coronation Street, between 1997 and 2004
Drink up: Adam and his wife Katy, a Good Morning Britain presenter, bought a popular craft beer bottle shop, gin specialist and micro bar called Dexter and Jones in Knutsford in 2020
Adam starred as Nick Tilsley in Coronation Street, between 1997 and 2004, and during that time he signed a six-album deal with Polydor and released a album – Good Times – in 1999. ‘I Breathe Again’, reached number five in the UK charts.
Adam went on to star in New Zealand’s soap opera Shortland Street and became well knows as Kyle Kelly in Hollyoaks for some time but when he left the soap in 2020 he bought a popular craft beer bottle shop, gin specialist and micro bar called Dexter and Jones, in Knutsford.
He and his wife Katy, a Good Morning Britain presenter, bought the place and relied on it solely for their income during the early days of the pandemic.
That summer he was banned from the roads for drink driving when he was stopped by police for driving without his lights. The Sun reported his solicitors in court saying: ‘He’s found the whole process very upsetting and takes full responsibility for his actions.
‘He owns a bar and had had a difficult day, he’s put most of his savings (into the bar) and spent some time getting it up and running only for Covid to hit and caused a strain.
‘He is also known as an actor but that work ended for him in March and there is no acting work at the moment because of the situation with Covid. That work has all but dried up for him and he is relying solely on his bar to keep him afloat.
‘He’s only receiving £1,000 a month, a modest income and anything he does have is going back into the bar. He offers a takeaway service so he’s doing everything he can to work on that for him and his family.’
Stepping away: Kate played Kat Slater’s boisterous cousin Hayley Slater in EastEnders for a year until February 2019, and that October, she began working on the door at B&M store
Raging: She went on to appear on Victoria Derbyshire’s BBC show, followed by an interview with Grazia magazine, to admit she had felt ‘hurt and embarrassed’
Kate played Kat Slater’s boisterous cousin Hayley Slater in EastEnders for a year until February 2019, and that October, she began working on the door at her local B&M store, in Romford, east London, and looking after her two children.
She said at the time: ‘I’ve taken a step back from acting. I’ve got a job and I’m looking after my kids.’
She went on to appear on Victoria Derbyshire’s BBC show, followed by an interview with Grazia magazine, to admit she had felt ‘hurt and embarrassed’ for being ‘made to feel ashamed for having a normal job’.
She added that she was proud to speak out on behalf of hard-working single mums because providing for her family is paramount to her.
Jarvis said: ‘It’s the nature of being an actor; gigs come and go, and after my contract with EastEnders ended in February, I found a new job as soon as I could. Doing work like this is also what keeps me grounded.’
Legend: Sean starred on Coronation Street as Martin Platt for 20 years before leaving the soap in 2005, and has delved into the world of cheese-making
Foodie: After quitting the soap, Sean became a chef, and after meeting Susie Fenwick and the pair set up a cheese-making business called the Saddleworth Cheese Company
Sean was on Coronation Street as Martin Platt for 20 years, and after quitting in 2005, he subsequently appeared in several other UK television dramas, including an appearance in Waterloo Road.
Sean, 57, then became a chef, and after meeting Susie Fenwick and the pair set up a cheese-making business called the Saddleworth Cheese Company.
He told Lorraine: ‘We have 46 international and national cheese awards since 2009. Anybody that knows me knows I’m a big cook,’ he said.
‘I became really interested in the science of foods back in the 80s when it wasn’t fashionable, and then in 2005 I went to work at a Michelin star restaurant after leaving Coronation Street.
In 2012, he even published The Great Northern Cookbook and secured a four-part Channel 5 TV series. He’s also cooked in several Michelin-starred restaurants
In 2018, Sean announced he was returning to Reaseheath College to become a lecturer in cheese. He said: ‘I’ll be returning to the class where it all started 10 years ago, as the lecturer.’
Sean appeared back on Coronation Street briefly in 2018 and he told ITV’s Lorraine: ‘I went to the butchers the day before filming and he said, ‘How are you gonna feel? Are you nervous?’ and I said, ‘I don’t know’, but everyone kept asking me and making me nervous!’
‘I walked into the building and when I arrived it was all the same people on the set. The first scene is with Jack [P Shepherd], and the first on-set take they said ‘Thank you very much,’ it was like rolling back the years.
‘It felt like just putting on an old jumper. Everybody made me feel really welcome, I make it sound easy-going but it was really nice.’
Soap favourite: Gemma, 38, played Carmen McQueen in Hollyoaks for eight years from 2006 until 2014, winning awards for her comedic performances
Branching out: After departing Hollyoaks, Gemma committed to her fitness career and went on to work as a yoga instructor and personal trainer
Gemma, 38, played Carmen McQueen in Hollyoaks for eight years from 2006 until 2014, and after departing the soap, Gemma committed to her fitness career and went on to work as a yoga instructor and personal trainer.
On her Instagram pageshe calls herself an accredited Mind & Wellness Coach, and always posts photos of her yoga or fitness.
Gemma said she had always planned to give up acting and retrain as a yoga teacher in Morocco and finally took the plunge in 2015 after being persuaded by a friend.
Speaking to Digital Spy, Gemma explained: ‘Yoga is my life at the moment, so it doesn’t ever feel like something I’m ‘falling back on’. I do it day to day, but then if another [acting] job comes in and it suits me, it’s all quite flexible.
‘When people first come into the room for one of my classes, they may see me as ‘Gemma from Hollyoaks’. But by the time they leave, I’m just “Gemma the yoga teacher” and they’ve had a great class.
‘I’m very tough in my classes – nobody gets away with anything! So when they’re in the room, they need to focus on their breathing and just do the class.’
In March 2016, Gemma helped to keep Liverpool Yoga Studios open up for 24 hours when she volunteered to teach drop-in classes to raise money for Sport Relief.
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