THE EastEnders cast are some of the hardest working soap stars in the business but many of them look worlds away from their characters in real life.
Some of the stars have undergone surgery while others have shedded the pounds – whatever it is, a lot of the cast have had dramatic makeovers.
Here, Fabulous delves into some of the most dramatic transformations from the stars of EastEnders including Danniella Westbrook’s changing face and Natalie Cassidy’s epic weight loss makeover…
There’s no denying Danniella Westbrook’s face has changed since she shot to fame in EastEnders in 1990.
After years of cocaine abuse and botched surgery, the actress – who played Sam Mitchell on the BBC soap – is almost unrecognisable from the fresh-faced younger sister of Grant and Phil Mitchell.
After appearing as an extra in EastEnders she was put forward for the role of Sam at the age of 16 and successfully auditioned before first appearing on the BBC soap in July 1990.
She has been open about her drug addiction and previously admitted that she tried cocaine as young as 14.
In 2000 fans were shocked when pictures were published that showed Daniella's eroded nasal septum due to excessive drug use.
Then in 2018, Danniella shocked fans during an emotional appearance on Jeremy Kyle where she admitted she was still drinking alcohol and taking cocaine.
She told how her left cheekbone was “wasting” away and she’s been left with screws instead of teeth, which cut her tongue as she spoke.
The star went back to rehab to try and beat her drug habit again and underwent reconstructive surgery on her nose.
In May, Danniella completed the first stage of surgery to rebuild her face.
She was forced to have her jaw rebuilt after the bones started “rotting away,” due to osteoporosis from the amount of cocaine she’s consumed.
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More recently, Danniella took to Instagram to let fans know that she's quit smoking after 32 years.
She also showed off a new glam look after getting lip filler and Botox ahead of her next facial surgery.
Sharing a selfie, she wrote on Instagram: "Over the moon with how my skin is looking.
“Huge thank you to the @knightsbridgeaesthetics8 amazing team what they have done to boost my confidence before my surgery is due at some point this year still waiting on the surgeon for dates…"
Former soap actress Melissa Suffield, now 28, has gone from a child star to a body positive mum – and she makes our list for one of the most dramatic EastEnders transformations.
Melissa played Lucy Beale on BBC soap EastEnders from 2004 to 2010 during the character’s rebellious teenage years, making on-screen dad Ian Beale’s life hell by drinking, smoking, becoming pregnant and even going missing.
But she was axed in 2010 amid rumours bosses weren’t impressed with her off-screen behaviour.
Melissa’s life now is a world away from her EastEnders days – and she’s a mum-of-one to River.
Melissa is now incredibly popular online thanks to her candid and honest social media posts. The beauty regularly shares frank updates on motherhood, as well as her post-baby figure.
But Melissa says she has faced criticism online about her decision to show off her post-baby body, including her stretch marks.
She says: “People paint a picture online that isn’t true. I like to tinge my profile with honesty because I am definitely far from perfect, and I would never want to put myself across as perfect because honestly I am far too lazy to keep that up.
“I am trying to marry up that I am valid whatever has happened to me. I was valid when I was a size eight and I am valid now. That is what mums tend to struggle with — sometimes it’s more that their shape has changed, rather than they’ve put more weight on.
"It’s about where the weight now goes, and how your body has changed shape and I don’t think enough light gets shone on that.
"After birth, the skin is looser and, even if you can still fit in your size-six jeans, when you take those jeans off you may hate what you see underneath because it is just not what you are used to. And your boobs go through a whole other journey. I am not seeing that realistic postpartum mother figure anywhere — that is what I try to promote.”
Natalie Cassidy, who plays Sonia Fowler in EastEnders, has lived most of her life in the public eye.
The star has fluctuated from a size 16 to a 6-8 throughout her life and has spoken candidly about her changing shape.
Natalie was thrust into the limelight on Albert Square before her 10th birthday, and she now looks a world away from when she joined the cast aged just nine.
Unfortunately she faced bullying and was called a 'beached whale' before reaching her teens.
In 2007, Natalie revealed how she was “bordering on having an eating disorder” after she released her weight loss DVD Then and Now.
She later reflected: “I really wasn't well. I was bordering on having an eating disorder.
“There were nights I would go out for dinner and then I'd go home and take laxatives because I didn't want the food inside me.”
Her weight crept back up to a size 14, but shrunk back down to just under nine stone in 2011 following the birth of her daughter.
Following the release of her second fitness DVD The Perfect 10 in 2013, the star seemed content with her body.
In 2019, Natalie credited her trimmer frame to training for the London Marathon and since then, she seems to have kept up the healthy habit.
She has lost three stone in recent years, dropping from a size 16 down to a size six, after revamping her lifestyle.
And now the mum-of-two is finally 'at ease' with her body after years of 'ups and downs'. The mum-of-two said she now feels ‘much more confident and comfortable’.
She said: "I have learnt how to eat and how to be comfortable with who I am."
Former EastEnders babe Jacqueline Jossa also looks completely different from when she played Lauren.
The actress first appeared in EastEnders as Max Branning's daughter in 2010 and was a fan favourite for seven years.
She left with screen sister Lorna Fitzgerald, who played Abi, with their final scenes airing in February 2018.
In 2019 she won I'm A Celeb and the star has since showcased her incredible 8lb weight loss after rejecting the "plus size label".
Last year she said, “I don't call myself plus sized. I'm not plus-sized. I'm like size 12” after receiving angry messages from fans.
The former EastEnders has been on a healthy kick, which has seen her shed the pounds and she started a strict new diet, limiting her calories to just 1,200 calories a day.
She revealed to fans on Instagram, “(I’ve lost) over half a stone. But I've got a while to go.
"I have tried to be as good as possible. You guys know I'm on a bit of a healthy reboot plan.”
The star recently joked that she had piled on the lockdown weight and was ready to get back into shape.
Jac said: "I'm on a weight-loss journey. Everybody is saying to me in the DMs that you look like you're losing weight.
"I am losing weight, I've lost over half a stone. I'm really happy, I've got a long way to go.
"But I'm feeling good, more confident and positive. It's changing my mood most importantly."
Riley Carter Millington
Another EastEnders star who looks very different to when they starred in the TV soap is Riley Carter Millington.
He has had one of the most dramatic transformations – and lost a huge amount of weight.
The 26-year-old was the first transgender actor to play a trans character in a British soap.
Riley joined the Square in 2015 as Stacey Fowler's long-lost half brother and left for a job in France a year later.
He then started his weight-loss journey with an extreme boot camp – where he lived off 400 calories a day for TLC's Celebrity Fat Fighters.
Last year the actor – who played Kyle Slater on the popular BBC soap – took to Twitter to display all of his hard work with a before-and-after snap which left fans shocked.
He captioned the post: "Don't say you can't change. Because you can. It can take time but you will get there.
"I'm still on my journey but loving me more each day. #happy#Loveyourself #weightlosstransformation."
He still seems like he's on a total body transformation journey as in February, the star shared that he wanted to gain muscle and definition with his body after shedding the pounds.
He captioned a post: "Muscle gain and definition is my next long term goal.
"Hard work ahead again but will definitely be worth it. If I can get from the left pic to right, then I can do the next."
EastEnders famous red-haired beauty Maisie Smith has had a dramatic transformation over the years – from cute child star to sassy viral teen.
Maisie shot to fame at the age of seven in 2008 after landing the role of Bianca Butcher's daughter Tiffany in EastEnders.
Her acting talent won her a British Soap Award at the same age as she quickly impressed viewers and bosses with her cheeky wit and personality.
Maisie left EastEnders with her on-screen family in 2014 but returned in 2018 and got caught up in a dangerous drug-ring in one of the soap's gritty storylines.
She even released her own single Good Thing back in 2016.
And last year she got to show off a different side to her when she competed on Strictly Come Dancing, landing a spot in the final before losing out on the Glitterball trophy to Bill Bailey.
Now at 20, Maisie describes herself as an actress and recording artist who enjoys posting videos of herself singing on Instagram and TikTok.
She documents her glamorous life to her Instagram followers, giving fans a sneak peak at her day-to-day routine which includes taking her health and fitness seriously.
She doesn't miss an opportunity to show off her gym results, flaunting her incredible abs and toned body in tight workout gear!
Another star who easily makes the list for the most dramatic EastEnders transformation is Kacey Ainsworth.
We barely recognised the star when she debuted her blonde hairdo at the Autism Hero Awards in London in 2019.
The 52-year-old actress, who played the downtrodden character between 2000 and 2006, looked miles away from her character Little Mo.
She sported a short blonde hairstyle which looked totally chic and stylish.
In January, Kacey temporarily hung up her acting boots after her 11-year-old son Elwood was diagnosed with autism aged six.
But then the actress showed off her short blonde hair once again on the set of The Mallorca Files in February.
Kacey shared snaps behind-the-scenes with co-star Tim Whitnall, writing: "Look at that fake tan! Not sure it suits a Scottish/scandi like me.
"When we could travel to film. Happy memories! Mallorca Files all this week or BBC iPlayer."
Kacey originally played Little Mo in the BBC One soap from 2000 until 2006 and her character was involved in a harrowing domestic abuse storyline.
Mo famously attacked abusive husband Trevor with an iron and faced prison for attempted murder before being released without charge.
Trevor died in a fire in 2002, with Mo going on to briefly find love with Billy Mitchell.
Kacey quit the show in 2006 to pursue other projects, and previously ruled out returning to Walford – even though much of her onscreen family have returned to the square in recent months.
EastEnders legend Jake Woods has recently shown off his dramatic makeover after filming his final scenes as character Max Branning.
The star, 48, left the soap in February after first joining in 2006 – and it hasn’t taken him long to ditch his EastEndgers alter ego looks.
Jake has already transformed his image with some impressive facial hair.
His character Max was always either completely clean-shaven or had very minimal stubble.
Taking to his Instagram recently, Jake posted a selfie taken from a low angle to show off the true extent of his beard.
Covering the entirety of his chin, upper lip, and his lower cheeks, Jake has kept his fuzz trimmed and well groomed.
He simply captioned the post: "#BeardWatch."
The star announced in September that he will be leaving Walford – he has since teased fans with a glimpse into what the future holds, including taking on the role of director.
Jake’s appearance has also undergone a transformation in other areas – his physique.
He recently left followers swooning as he showed off his ripped six-pack on Instagram.
The actor took to his popular social media page to share the smouldering snap, which showed off his impressive muscles and rock solid abs.
Jake simply captioned the post: "💪🏼❤️".
Jessie Wallace is best known for playing feisty Kat Slater in EastEnders after landing the role in 2000.
Her Walford alter-ego has had a dramatic 2021 in Albert Square, having found love with hard man Phil Mitchell.
But she was left hospitalised after Whitney accidentally hit her with a car instead of one of the Mitchell family, and the downtrodden character was mugged.
However, her luck appears to be changing – with Phil going into business with his new missus.
Jessie has played mouthy Kat on the show on-and-off for the past 20 years, and has been at the centre of several dramatic storylines.
But her appearance has changed over the years too. Back in 2009, when she was 37, the actress lost two stone.
Jessie dropped from a size 14 to an eight in just two months – by working with personal trainers, cutting out carbs and eating protein and fat.
She told the Mirror at the time: “I go to the gym three times a week and do half an hour on the running machine, interval training.
“And then I work on my arms, my legs, my a***, my tummy, every part of the body, doing weight machines. And then on the days when I’m not in the gym, I just go for a really long run.
“And every night in front of the telly, religiously, I do 300 stomach crunches.”
She then released her own weight loss DVD called “Jessie Wallace: Look At Me Now” in December 2009.
However, just a year later in 2010 Jessie did claim she may have been too strict on her diet.
She told MSN: “At one point I went down to a size six.
"It was just too much so now I'm between a size eight and 10. I just want to stay there."
Elsewhere EastEnders’ Lorraine Stanley looks nothing like her soap character Karen.
To celebrate her 7th anniversary with partner Mark Perez, Lorraine, 45, posted a throwback picture from their first date – and she looked nothing like her soap character.
Posting the snap on Instagram as Lorraine put her arm around her other half Mark Perez, she said: "Happy 7th anniversary to this beaut @markyp1977.
"Thank you for putting up with me. Seven years has taken its toll haha look at us here on one of our first dates looking so young and slim.
"I love you to bits!! Here’s to many more xxxxx #anniversary #love #soulmate #friends #bff."
Lorraine plays single mum Karen Taylor, who rocked up to E20 in 2017 with her children Keanu (Danny Walters), Keegan Baker (Zack Morris), Bernadette (Clair Norris), Riley and Chatham – played by real life brothers Tom and Alfie Jacobs.
Best known for her portrayal of the feisty Karen, the star looked worlds apart from her alter-ego as she glammed up.
In the BBC One soap, Lorraine styles her hair in a messy bun and wears minimal makeup to portray Karen and is often wearing dodgy double denim.
But Lorraine, who plays Karen on Albert Square, often stuns fans with her off-duty transformations. She looked effortlessly glam in a host of recent Instagram shots.
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