Nikki Sanderson raised eyebrows by bringing her married date to the British Soap Awards afterparty on Saturday

She’s used to drama on screen but now Hollyoaks star Nikki Sanderson is involved in a real-life love scandal.

The 31-year-old actress has caused a stir by dating a married friend whose wedding she attended less than a year ago. Awkward…

Insurance boss Greg Whitehurst started seeing Nikki earlier this year and was by her side at the British Soap Awards afterparty in Manchester on Saturday night.

Yet just 10 months ago Nikki was a guest at Greg‘s nuptials to wife Sarah. The marriage collapsed within a few months but friends of Sarah have expressed their shock at how quickly his relationship with Nikki has unfolded.

‘The whole thing is a mess. A marriage split is always devastating for everyone involved, let alone when it ends so quickly,’ the pal tells the Mirror.

‘It’s like a tangled plotline from a soap.’

Sarah‘s family members have also told the paper that they didn’t know about Greg and Nikki until this week and are ‘worried’ about Sarah‘s welfare.

The furore surrounding the romance has caused Nikki to issue a statement stressing that their relationship has only recently began.

‘I have known Greg and his family for many years,’ the actress tells the Sunday People.

Greg‘s marriage ended in January. It was a very difficult time for him during which all of his friends and family supported him.

‘We have started recently dating and it’s early days, so we are not rushing into anything but are both enjoying each other’s company.’

Greg‘s wife Sarah has refused to comment.

Nikki hinted that she was upset by the gossip about her and Greg on Sunday when she posted a meme with the words: ‘Lies. Lies everywhere.’ The message was re-Tweeted by Greg.

The actress and her man first started popping up on each other’s social media pages around February and by March they seemed to have grown very close.

On 8 March Greg sounded very comfortable with Nikki when he Tweeted: ‘Not my night to cook and I’m being treated #fishfingerbutties #lucky #toptea @NikkiSanderson’

Later in the month he treated her to a fancy designer Mulberry handbag for her birthday.

Things seemed to have progressed even further in April when the twosome attended Hollyoaks star Kieron Richardson‘s wedding to partner Carl Hyland and posed for a photo posted on Nikki‘s Instagram.

Nikki previously dated her former Coronation Street co-star Danny Young from 2005 and 2009, who recently had a relationship with Chloe Madeley.

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Anna Francis