The EastEnders heart-throb has changed so much over the years...

Life as an EastEnder

Jack Ryder is best known for playing Jamie Mitchell in EastEnders from 1998 to 2002. His character was brought up by his uncle, Billy Mitchell, after the death of his father. Horribly, Billy used to beat his nephew, and this prompted Jamie’s godfather, Phil Mitchell, to raise him as his surrogate son.

The right place at the right time

The 36-year-old admitted, ‘EastEnders came about by accident when I was 16. I went to a workshop with a mate, who wanted to audition, and I was spotted. I’d never even done a school play before then.’

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Chance meeting

In August 2002, Jack married Hear’Say band member turned Coronation Street actress Kym Marsh. Their first encounter was in a BBC canteen when she appeared on Top of the Pops. Kym revealed in her autobiography that she ‘could sense something between them’.

Marital woes

The couple divorced in 2009 and maintained that the spilt was amicable. In December that same year, the singer began dating Hollyoaks star Jamie Lomas – who she later went on to marry but subsequently divorced.

Life behind the camera

Since leaving the soap that made him famous, Jack established a career in the world of directing film and theatre. This year, he stepped back into the limelight, and

was photographed at Take That’s musical, The Band, which he directed. Last year, he also directed The Fully Monty tour. On top of that, he’s appeared in a number of films, such as Popcorn, and starred in the West End show, Calendar Girls.

A different kind of look

It’s been years, but Jack is still friendly with his EastEnders colleagues. Dean Gaffney, who plays Robbie Fowler, posted an unrecognisable snap of the star, sporting a skinhead and glasses. He captioned it, ‘Wow what a change… Love this guy… But how many of you will know who this is… #ryder!’

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