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Annie Roberts

Most iconic soap divorces from EastEnders' Den and Angie to Coronation Street's Deirdre and Ken

Soap operas are no stranger to couple spats, arguments and temporary splits. The classic Corrie couple Jack and Vera Duckworth even went on a break for a short period in the noughties showing even the most stalwart of couples in soaps have their moments but not all soap marriages span a lifetime with many ending in divorce.

From today, no-fault divorce legislation will come into force, meaning married couples in England and Wales who wish to split amicably without placing blame, will now be able to do so. So we've taken a look back at some of soaps most iconic divorces, some amicable, others... well not so much.

It was only back in 2019 that The Irish Mirror reported that Emmerdale had been revealed as the divorce capital of the soap world, with almost three-quarters of marriages, a whopping 70 per cent, of marriages in the village fail. On average it was also revealed that a divorce happened on average every 189 episodes.

EastEnders closely followed with 60 per cent of couples ending up in the divorce courts with Hollyoaks ranking third. We've taken a look back at some of the soaps most devastating splits: How many of these heartbreaking moments can you remember?

Den and Angie - EastEnders

This episode is still up there with the most memorable Christmas Day episodes in soapworld. Den, who was played by Leslie Grantham made the shock announcement to Angie played by Anita Dobson, that he wanted a divorce on December 25, 1986. Viewers watched as he dropped his divorce bombshell, handing Angie the papers right there and then in the back of The Queen Vic while the punters merrily chat away in the background.

Zak and Lisa - Emmerdale
Emmerdale's Zak and Lisa (ITV)

Back in 2015, Zak (played by Steve Halliwell) broke Lisa's (played by Jane Cox) heart after more than 15 years of marriage when he decided to have an affair with Joanie Wright, the adoptive mother of Amy and Cain's son, Kyle. It shook Emmerdale fans as the pair were one of the ITV soap's most iconic couples and the split caused division among the Dingle family.

Thankfully, it didn't last too long and they remarried in 2019 just weeks after returning to the soap and telling daughter Belle, Lisa had only months to live after being diagnosed with a terminal health condition. Sadly their second marriage day ended in heartbreak when Lisa returned home to change out of her wedding dress and tragically died only for Zak to discover his soul-mate shortly after.

Karen and Steve - Coronation Street
Karen (Suranne Jones) makes a pass at Steve (Simon Gregson) in 2001 (ITV)

Steve's had plenty of failed marriages throughout his time on the cobbles with five wives and seven marriages in total! Steve and Karen first married in 2001 for a bet, just a year after Karen (Suranne Jones) arrived in Weatherfield. They split in 2003 and Steve had a daughter, Amy, with Tracy Barlow. Just a year after they had divorced the couple rekindled the flame and decided to get wed for the second time but in iconic soap fashion, Tracy crashed the nuptials by announcing Steve was Amy's dad. In emotional scenes in 2004 Karen McDonald left the soap.

Viv and Bob Hope - Emmerdale
Viv Hope (Deena Payne) and Bob Hope (Tony Audenshaw) (Neil Sherwood/ITV)

Ever since Bob Hope turned up in the village selling 'Naughty Nylons' tights, shopkeeper Viv Windsor was smitten. The pair were an iconic duo but had a very on/off relationship and had countless arguments and disagreements. They married twice once in 2001 and for a second time in 2004 before having twins Cathy and Heath. They later split up not long after Viv had the twins but she desperately wanted to reignite the flame, but sadly Bob wasn't interested, Viv tragically died in the soap fire in 2011.

Deirdre and Ken - Coronation Street
Bill Roache and Anne Kirkbride best known for playing Ken and Deirdre Barlow (Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire)

Ken and Deirdre's love story started back in 1981 when she married Ken Barlow who at the time was 16-years older than her. Their marriage didn't get the best start as just a couple of years later, Deirdre's eyes were turned by businessman Mike Baldwin. An on-screen affair that was one of the most talked-about soap moments of the time.

A few years later Ken also had an affair with his secretary which saw Deirdre throw him out of their home and start divorce proceedings. They did eventually find their way back to each other in 2005 and remarried. Deirdre's on-screen death took place 10 years later in 2015.

Kat Slater and Alfie Moon - EastEnders
Jessie Wallace as Kat Slater and Shane Richie as Alfie Moon (BBC)

Kat and Alfie got married on Christmas Day in 2003 but they have had a turbulent relationship tainted by infidelity and only stayed together for two years before divorcing in 2005. Alfie and Kat remarried in 2014 and then had a spin-off show Alfie and Kat: Redwater. Alfie left EastEnders in 2019 after the revelation he had a child with Kat Slater's cousin Hayley.

Karl and Susan - Neighbours
Karl and Susan Kennedy in Neighbours (Channel 5)

Childhood sweethearts Karl and Susan first married in 1978 and have three children, but they didn't get the happily ever after they hoped for - it's soapland after all! The couple were a staple on Ramsey Street but Dr Karl has cheated on Susan twice during their time on the soap, with Izzy Hoyland and GP receptionist Sarah Beaumont. The couple did later reunite and remarried while on holiday in London on a boat on the River Thames.

Robert Sugden and Aaron Dingle - Emmerdale

Both actors have now left the Yorkshire Dales for pastures new but during their time on the soap were part of some huge storylines and were a popular on-screen couple amongst Emmerdale fans. Their story first began back in 2014 when Aaron (Danny Miller) and Robert (Ryan Hawley) started an affair whilst Rob was engaged to Chrissie White. In 2018 they finally tied the knot after an on-off relationship in 2018 but in 2019 Robert filed for divorce from prison where he is serving a life sentence. Devastated Aaron finally agreed to go ahead with the divorce in 2020.

Sally and Kevin - Coronation Street
Sally Whittaker (Sally Webster) and Michael LeVell (Kevin Webster) in 2002 (PA/Phil Noble)

Sally (played by Sally Dynevor) and Kevin (Michael Le Vell) first got married back in the Weatherfield soap back in 1986 and welcomed two daughters Rosie and Sophie but in 1999 the pair divorced after both having affairs. In 2002, Sally and Kevin agreed to remarry but in 2010 after Sally is told the shocking revelation by Molly Dobbs that Kevin is the father of her baby Jack, Sally ends their relationship and they later divorce once again.

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