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Where your favourite soap hunks are now – unrecognisable EastEnders star, I’m A Celeb scandal & horror waterfall plunge

OVER the years our screens have been peppered with soap hunks but good looks don’t always guarantee a straightforward life.

EastEnders fans have been left shocked by the transformation of Jack Ryder 20 years after his character Jamie Mitchell was killed off.


Jack Ryder was one of the most loved heartthrobs as Jamie Mitchell in EastEndersCredit: Rex
Jack looks extremely different 20 years on from his exit9

Jack looks extremely different 20 years on from his exitCredit: BBC

The actor, 41, made his debut on the BBC1 soap in November 1998 aged just 17, and won over viewers with his boyish good looks.

Here, we take a look at what became of his hunky soap rivals.

Mike Parr

Mike Parr recently got approached about doing porn9

Mike Parr recently got approached about doing porn

Since appearing in Emmerdale as Ross Barton, Mike has shed his boyish image and bulked up significantly.

The 36-year-old has a physique that could rival most bodybuilders.

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And his hunk status has afforded him some bizarre opportunities – including a chance to star in a porn film.

He shared the work offer on social media after his acting work dried up during the pandemic.

He jokingly wrote: “I WILL TAKE IT!!!.. After a year of not working this is actually looking like the only option I have left :)”

Former co-star Kelvin Fletcher joked “Why not?” in a comment on the post.

After leaving Emmerdale in 2018, Mike had hopes to crack Hollywood, but they remain unfulfilled.

Stuart Manning

Stuart Manning was on I'm A Celebrity after his role in Hollyoaks9

Stuart Manning was on I’m A Celebrity after his role in Hollyoaks

Hollyoaks heartthrob Stuart Manning, 43, has come under fire since leaving the soap.

His decision to go into I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here in 2009 caused controversy as he caught, killed and then cooked a rat with chef Gino D’Acampo, 46.

The duo faced animal cruelty charges and ITV was fined £2,000 for showing it on telly.

Nine years after the fiasco, Stuart briefly returned to Hollyoaks as Russell Owens, only to be killed off three months later.

He is married and has also appeared on Ackley Bridge but hasn’t worked in telly since.

Paul Nicholls

Paul Nicholls has struggled since his stint as Joe Wicks on EastEnders9

Paul Nicholls has struggled since his stint as Joe Wicks on EastEndersCredit: Rex/Backgrid

EastEnders hunk Paul Nicholls, 43, has struggled since his stint as Joe Wicks on the BBC1 show.

His partying spiralled out of control and in 1997 he quit the soap, later admitting he doesn’t remember much of his time acting in the series.

He said: “I can’t really remember it. It’s really weird. I remember driving to work and being on set a few times. But if I ever look back now, it’s just blank. I just can’t really remember being in it.”

Paul admitted taking drugs during this time and in 2008 he went public with his struggles, vowing to go tee-total.

Things were far from smooth sailing, however, and in 2016 he had a cancer scare after losing his voice.

It was eventually concluded that the lump was benign, but the stress of the scare saw him fall off the wagon with his boozing.

A year later, he had a horror fall at a waterfall in Thailand which saw him spend three days stuck at the bottom after falling when running away from wild dogs in Koh Samui.

He broke both his legs in the fall and was discovered to have 37 infections including dengue fever, malaria, and cholera.

Paul ended up spending six months alone in the hospital. Tragically, in 2019 the infections led to him having a devastating stroke.

“The right side of my body was paralysed. I knew it was a stroke,” he told The Sun at the time.

A year later he relapsed into drug addiction but has since got sober and returned to acting in Ackley Bridge.

Stephen Beard

Hollyoaks actor Stephen Beard has a very different job these days9

Hollyoaks actor Stephen Beard has a very different job these days

Hollyoaks bad boy Archie Carpenter, played by Stephen Beard, proved a hit with the ladies both on-screen and off.

But it seemed acting wasn’t the career the young actor really wanted as he disappeared after leaving the soap in 2010.

Stephen changed to pursue becoming a surveyor and the director of a global data centre.

The job change has worked well for him and he’s now one of the heads of a successful company and has advised on billions of dollars of data centre transactions.

It’s a far cry from the drug-taking and drinking that personified his character on the Channel 4 soap.

Adam Rickitt

Adam Rickitt exploded on to screens as Nick Tilsley in Coronation Street9

Adam Rickitt exploded on to screens as Nick Tilsley in Coronation StreetCredit: ITV/Instagram

Adam Rickitt, 44, exploded onto screens as Nicky Tilsey in Coronation Street and has dipped in and out of the ITV show ever since.

But things have been far from easy for him. At 16 years old he suffered from bulimia and once weighed just six stone.

Bravely, he opened up about being sick 30 times a day in a bid to help other people suffering from the condition.

Since his stint on the show, he has struggled with scammers who stole almost £50,000 from him in an elaborate bank sting.

He initially left Corrie to start a music career – and his first first single, I Breathe Again, reached number five in the UK in 1999.

Sadly, Adam became a one-hit wonder, with none of his following releases getting anywhere near as many sales.

But, in 2014, he became part of the supergroup 5th Story, on The Big Reunion, along with Kenzie from Blazin’ Squad, Dane Bowers from Another Level, Kavana and Gareth Gates.

Chris Fountain

Chris Fountain played teen heartthrob Justin Burton on Hollyoaks9

Chris Fountain played teen heartthrob Justin Burton on Hollyoaks

Chris Fountain played teen heartthrob Justin Burton – who famously had an affair with his teacher Becca Hayton – on Hollyoaks from 2003 to 2009.

He then went on to play Tommy Duckworth in Coronation Street from 2011.

However, he was fired in 2013 when he was exposed as a masked rapper who had boasted of raping a woman in a sickening YouTube video under the guise of his alter-ego The Phantom.

Chris recently opened up about that time of his life.

He said: “I’ve been in some very dark, horrible places, to the point where I realised I needed to start changing the way that I was thinking – otherwise I might not have been here.”

The actor recalled his downfall, saying: “My life, my job, my image, my reputation – everything was just ripped away. Within 24 hours. I didn’t leave my house for four days.”

Earlier this year, he also revealed he embarked on a health kick and lost weight before suffering a terrifying stroke, which left him “speaking like a toddler”.

Speaking on This Morning, he said: “I found out that I have a hole in my heart. Apparently this is quite common but a blood clot got through the hole and moved to the left hand-side of my brain.

“As traumatic as it has been it could have been a lot worse. I could have lost the use of my arm or my face could have dropped.”

He spent five days in The Royal London Hospital where doctors diagnosed a Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA) after finding the blood clot in his brain.

Ricky Whittle

Ricky Whittle manages to make a shaved head and bleach blonde locks look good9

Ricky Whittle manages to make a shaved head and bleach blonde locks look good

Ricky Whittle was known for making a shaved head look good when he played Calvin Valentine in Hollyoaks from 2006 to 2010.

But he now looks very different, having recently debuted bleached blonde hair – somehow managing to make that look good too.

Ricky, who was a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing in 2009, went on to make it big in LA after his character was killed off.

He has starred in the US remake of BBC drama Mistresses, action series The 100 and fantasy show American Gods.

He also has several film credits to his name, including Netflix film Nappily Ever After, as well as 2013 romcom Austenland.

Back in his Hollyoaks days, Ricky dated his co-star Carley Stenson, who played Steph Cunningham in the soap.

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Since moving to the US, he has been linked to former Gossip Girl actress Jessica Szhor and Demi Moore’s daughter Rumer Willis.

He splashed £1.2 million on a lavish LA property back in 2019.




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