Barbara Windsor left 'EastEnders' because her character was "taking over" her life.
The veteran actress - who played matriarch Peggy Mitchell in the BBC One soap for 16 years until earlier this year - revealed she needed to leave the show after her husband, Scott Mitchell, pointed out she wasn't "switching off" from her on-screen persona.
She explained: "He said it was 'Peggy this' and 'Peggy that'. She was taking over my life. Then we started filming on Saturdays and my weekends would be gone. I'd have breakfast on Sunday and then get my head down to learn scripts.
"I didn't have a life. I wanted to go to the theatre, have lunch with friends, spend time with my husband, chat to people on the phone. I wanted a normal life again."
However, the 73-year-old star admitted the decision to leave was something she agonised over for a long time.
Barbara added to Hello! magazine: "It was a very hard decision to leave. It took me two years to decide. But I just want to spend time with my old man, I came out of 'EastEnders' to get a life and that's what I'm going to do."
26 November 2010, 08:00am