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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Eve Wagstaff

Inside EastEnders star Jamie Borthwick's life – long-lost celebrity cousin and co-star crush

Jamie Borthwick first burst onto our TV screens in 2006 as cheeky 12-year-old Jay Brown in EastEnders, who was in town to attend the funeral of his grandmother, Evie Brown.

Once a tearaway who terrorised the locals shouting racist insults and breaking into Pauline Fowler's house, Jay has been on an rollercoaster journey including gang fights, several deaths and having to sign the sex offenders register.

But over 15 years later the character and actor are still going strong, after he was taken under Billy and Phil Mitchell's wing – becoming like a brother to Phil's son Ben and falling madly in love with Billy's granddaughter Lola.

Jay has since flourished from the tearaway tween viewers were first confronted with has he now owns the car lot on Albert Square and co-owns Les and Pam Coker's funeral directors, which is now called Coker & Mitchell Funeral Directors.

However, tragedy is set to strike Jay and the Mitchell's as they are preparing to say goodbye to Lola Pearce, just months after Jay and Lola finally got together.

Jamie is currently at the centre of a heartbreaking storyline with onscreen wife Lola Pearce, played by Danielle Harold (BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron)

Jay is currently at the heart of a gripping and heartbreaking storyline with his on-screen wife Lola Pearce, played by Danielle Harold, who is dying from a brain tumour.

As Jay and the Mitchells brace themselves for the heartache of losing Lola in the coming weeks, we take a look at the actor behind the beloved character...

Growing up on the set of the BBC soap, London-born Jamie, 28, was stunned to discover he was related to fellow EastEnders co-star Charlie Winter, who played Hunter Owen between 2018 and 2019.

Jamie decided to do some digging into his family background when he realised the Hunter actor, who was in the soap from 2018 until 2019, shared the same name as a relative of his.

Speaking to The Sun in 2019, Jamie said: "My great uncle is called Charlie Winter, so when they said there was a kid coming in called Charlie Winter, I was like, 'Seriously?' Turns out we are second cousins."

Jamie’s character Jay has had relationships with lots of women over the years – some good, mostly bad, but one famous face caught his eye in real life, too.

In 2017 the actor revealed he’d had a teenage crush on one of his co-stars – Emma Barton, 45, who plays Honey Mitchell in the soap.

While Jay and Honey were together for around a year between 2021 and 2022, romance never spilled over into real life despite some of his fellow cast members encouraging Jamie to take a chance and chat her up.

Speaking to Digital Spy, Jamie said: "I was about 14 when I first set eyes on Emma Barton. I fell in love with her long, shapely legs and I wanted to marry her.

Jamie discovered he had a second cousin while on the soap (INSTAGRAM)
Jamie confessed he had a crush on his co-star Emma Barton, who plays Honey Mitchell in the soap (Instagram/ @jamie_b10)

"Perry [Fenwick, who plays Billy] told me to chat her up, and I remember walking over to her and saying, 'Alright darlin'…, wow, you smell nice.' It brought the house down and we still laugh about it now.

"I love working with Emma. I won't say what it is, but we have something in common that's very rare and very special that brings us together. I still try and chat her up and say that one day, we'll get married, but she's having none of it!"

Emma also revealed how she didn't see Jamie in a romantic light as she told Digital Spy: "He’s like my baby brother. I am so protective over him, it's unreal."

Offscreen, Jay keeps his love life notoriously private and never posts anything personal on social media.

Regularly sharing snaps on Instagram with his 294,000 followers, the star gives fans an insight to what he gets up to in his trendy London flat and out with the cast and crew of EastEnders, most recently showing off the highlights from Natalie Cassidy's 40th birthday.

Danielle shared a photo of her and Jamie posing together from one of her final days of filming (Instagram)
The Jay actor tends to keep his off-screen life private (Instagram)

Although it's not known if Jamie is in a relationship, it's often been speculated if he and Lola actress Danielle Harold are romantically involved.

The co-stars shared cosy snaps together while they filmed Jay and Lola's recent trip to Margate – which saw the pair break out of the hospital to enjoy one last day of fun together.

Sharing a photo of the emotional scenes on Instagram, ahead of Lola's upcoming soap exit – following the news her character has an incurable brain tumour – Danielle wrote: “The best memories with the best crew.”

Danielle is seen staring into Jamie's eyes from their filming location, leaving fans speculating if there is something more between the actors.

"Can someone tell me if these are a couple in real life? As if they ain’t they need to be!!!," one of Danielle’s 286,000 Instagram followers wrote.

Another commented: "Jamie and Danielle should get together in real life."

"I was going to say the same!! Both are single so there’s hope yet," a third chimed in.

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