EastEnders’ Branning family now – bikini snaps, body advocate and career U-turn

The Branning family have been at the centre of dramatic EastEnders storylines for years.

But it’s fair to say tensions started to rise in Watford when Max Branning and his family rolled into town back in 2006.

The red-headed womaniser brought along his two daughters Lauren and Abi with his son Bradley soon rocking up at number 5 Albert Square.

And shortly after their arrival in the town, the family soon caused chaos on the long-standing show where at least one Branning family member became embroiled in almost every plot on the show.

Throughout their time on the show, the family have had their fair share of explosive arguments and sordid love affairs before they gradually left the show in a string of shocking exits.

After 15 years on the show, Jake left the legacy of the Branning family down to his onscreen brother Jack Branning, who continues to fly the flag in Watford.

Daily Star has taken a deep dive into what happened to the rest of the Branning clan and where the actors who played the beloved characters are now.

Max Branning (Jake Wood)

Max left the show after he revealed Mick Carter’s abuse hell to his wife Linda and accused her of staying with the pub landlord rather than starting a relationship with him out of pity.

It was at this point that Mick flew into a violent rage as he flung Max halfway across the room before he threatened to kill him.

Mick told Linda that the pair couldn’t move on in their marriage with Max around which pushed the blonde belle to force Max out of the village and never speak to her again as she makes it clear that her heart lies with Mick.

Jake said his final goodbye to the iconic London square back in February 2021 after he decided to take the plunge and delve into other acting roles outside of the ladies' man on the square.

After more than a decade on the show, the dad-of-one decided to switch up his appearance for the first time in years after the shackles of continuity needed for the show were removed.

He decided to grow a long bushy beard which he wore with pride when he debuted for the first time during a celebrity edition of The Chase.

The actor also embraced his love of boxing after throwing his all into his podcast titled Pound for Pound, as listeners were treated to a slew of new interviews with many of his boxing heroes.

Unlike his TV character, the star also got to spend more time with his loving wife Alison who he has been happily married to for more than 20 years and their gorgeous daughter Amber.

After leaving his TV role behind, the award-winning actor decided to take to the stage after he appeared in London’s West End alongside chart-topping singer Lily Allen in the stage play 2:22 A Ghost Story.

Tanya Branning (Jo Joyner)

Jo Joyner had played the role of Max’s long-suffering wife Tanya for more than six years on the soap before she decided to turn her back on the show in 2013.

During her time in Watford, Tanya was involved in many storylines including owning her own beauty salon called Booty, and giving birth to a third child with her then-husband Max before their divorce.

But the drama between the former flames didn’t end there, as the blonde bombshell went on to bury him alive, marrying again before having an affair with her ex-husband before she discovered that Max had a secret wife.

She was also diagnosed with cervical cancer which left a lasting impression on viewers at home as her relationship with her children was drastically affected by her condition before the actress bid farewell to the show.

But it turns out it wasn’t for good after the blonde bombshell returned to the square on multiple occasions – once for the EastEnders ’ 30th-anniversary celebrations in 2015 and a second time on Christmas Day in 2017 to kick start Lauren and Abi’s exit storyline.

Since she left the show, Jo has gone on to appear in a slew of BBC series including Ordinary Lies, Sky’s Mount Pleasant, Shakespeare and Hathaway: Private Investigators.

Most recently she announced her exit from the high school comedy-drama series Ackley Bridge after three series on the show in the role of secondary school teacher Mandy Carter.

Now EastEnders fans are hoping that the star will return to the soap after nearly 10 years after she left the show now that the star has extra free time on her hands.

Lauren Branning (Jacqueline Jossa)

Jacqueline Jossa may have been the second actress to play the role of Max and Tanya’s rebellious daughter Lauren, but it’s fair to say the actress certainly made her mark on the show.

Throughout her time on the BBC One soap, Lauren has been involved in a number of dramatic storylines including attempting to kill her father in a dangerous hit-and-run, exposing her dad’s affair on Christmas Day, her life-threatening alcoholism and being groomed by paedophile Tony King.

After eight years in the role, Jac decided to say goodbye to her TV character alongside her onscreen sister Lorna Fitzgerald who acted as a springboard for the star to launch her reality TV career.

She went on to tie the knot with TOWIE legend Dan Osborne back in June 2017 shortly before the happy couple welcomed their two daughters Ella, six, and Mia, two, she took part in the 19th series of I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here! where she was crowned Queen of the Jungle.

And it’s fair to say Jac’s participation in the jungle went on to award her with even greater fame and riches after she took on a slew of six-figure endorsement deals to add to her £75,000 fee for doing the show.

She has also launched her own clothing range with fashion giants In The Style with the brand taking her on glamorous shoots all over the world.

Abi Branning (Lorna Fitzgerald)

Abi Branning was introduced to the show as the sweet and sensitive, animal-loving 10-year-old back in 2006, but the blonde belle quickly morphed into a manipulative man-eater throughout her time on the show.

During her 12 years on the soap, her character developed into a complex three-dimensional character who showcased a darker side through her complex storylines, including her fleeting relationship with Jay Mitchell, the accidental death of their family dog Tramp and her messed up relationship with Ben Mitchell.

Nonetheless, Abi’s death was still utterly devastating for viewers tuning into the long-standing show-up and down the country.

Going out with a bang, Max’s youngest daughter was left brain-dead after she fell from the roof of the Queen Vic in a shocking Christmas Day twist back in 2017.

Luckily, doctors were able to deliver her child successfully but the loving mum died just days later.

Since she left EastEnders, Lorna went on to make her stage debut in The Shadow Factory, starred in the Hitchcock adaptation The Lady Vanishes and has recently appeared at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival after she took on a role in Till Love Do Us Part.

Bradley Branning (Charlie Clements)

With his famous nut allergy, dairy intolerance and his vast collection of old man style jumpers, it’s fair to say Bradley Branning didn’t stand out on paper as one of your typical residents of Albert Square.

And just as surprising as his fashion choices was his bizarre relationship with Stacey Slater, which was riddled with affairs most memorably between Stacey and Bradley’s father Max.

But despite their rocky past, the pair tied the knot for the second time in February 2010 with Stacey later finding out that she was pregnant after she was raped by Archie Mitchell.

After learning that his wife had been attacked and her child wasn’t his, the fiery redhead stormed over to the Queen Vic and punched him.

But things soon went from bad to worse after Archie was found dead the following day with Bradley thought to be behind his untimely death.

Surprisingly still, it was Stacey who killed her attacker after she confessed her involvement in his murder to her husband before they attempted to flee the town.

Just like his sister, their loveable brother Bradley also met a grisly end thanks to the horrors of the Queen Vic roof after he fell from the building eight years before his sister’s death.

Since leaving the show, the hard-grafting star decided to embark on a career U-turn during the pandemic after he took up a job as a chef before he ditched his life in the kitchen for outdoor work at a garden centre.

Charlie – who is now a dad-of-three – explained: “It was just a way of me supporting the family. At the end of the day, the kids and the family come first. I’ve never been afraid of work.”

After things started to open back up again, he later popped up in the medical drama Casualty and also joined the cast of the long-running whodunit show The Mousetrap in London’s West End and continues to act and perform on stage.

EastEnders airs Monday to Thursday on BBC One at 7.30pm

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