How the Hollyoaks Curse has plagued young stars – from death to bankruptcy

With the tragic deaths of Mike Thalassitis and Sophie Gradon, Love Island has quite rightly stepped up its aftercare process to ensure its young reality stars receive the help and support they need while navigating the pitfalls of fame.

And as the conversation around mental health draws more awareness, all eyes are on TV shows to show how they too are taking care of their cast members.

Love Island and The Jeremy Kyle Show are just two programmes that have come under fire in recent months, with questions also raised about the high turnover of the Coronation Street cast.

Now with the news that ex-Hollyoaks star Andy Newton Lee has had to be put into a coma after collapsing at the wheel of his car, let's take a look back at other Hollyoaks stars who have had to battle more than their fair share of trials and tribulations

Kristian Ealey

Kristian tragically died in May 2016 after playing Matt Musgrove in Hollyoaks between 2000 and 2004.

The 38-year-old actor had played the same character on Brookside between 1998 and 2000, and was the singer for rock band Tramp Attack.

He died in his sleep while on holiday in Italy, and had complained of a pain in his arm hours before he was found dead.

His friend and Brookside co-star Suzanne Collin said at the time: "I'm very privileged to have called him a friend.

"There were a gang of the young ones who grew up on the set of Brookside, we called ourselves the Brooki Brat Pack and have an incredible bond.

"We were together nearly every day on set and we socialised out of work together, we became family."

"It has shocked us all to the core. Kris was full of life, full of smiles and so full of music."

Kristian's death ironically led to the reforming of The Zutons, who had known him through the Liverpudlian music scene, and decided to get back together after playing a one-off tribute concert in his honour.

Stephanie Davis

Steph, 26, has had the kind of ups and downs that would make any Hollywood producer reject a script of her life story because it would be too far-fetched.

The mum of one originally found fame on BBC1 talent competition Over The Rainbow in 2010, and scored the role of Sinead O'Connor in Hollyoaks off the back of it.

But in September 2015, Stephanie was sacked from the soap over a series of incidents, culminating in turning up to work drunk.

"Stephanie's contract was terminated following warnings for lateness, attendance and after a final incident in which she turned up to set unfit to work because of alcohol consumption," her rep said at the time.

Sadly, that was only the beginning of Steph's troubles, as she ricocheted from drunken party to flashing her underwear on nights out.

She landed a place in the Celebrity Big Brother house in January 2016, where she embarked on an ill-feted fling with Irish model Jeremy McConnell, despite still being in a relationship with ex Sam Reese at the time.

Steph and Jeremy's rocky relationship went from bad to worse over the next few months, with frequent break-ups, Twitter fights and drunken rows, fuelled by his cocaine habit and her drinking.

An incident at a hotel saw Jeremy jailed for just 34 days after being convicted of assaulting Stephanie, who by that point had given birth to their son Caben-Albi.

The pair split for good in 2017 and Stephanie addressed her alcoholism with a four-month stint in rehab

"At the beginning it was a solution and I thought it was helping me but then it starts to take and take and in the end I was going to die, it was really sad," Stephanie revealed afterwards.

"I did try to kill myself and when I was drinking it got quite bad I was either going to hit my head or my body, I couldn't take it any more."

She told Good Morning Britain: "I was young and I grew up on TV and I felt like maybe in my head at the time I thought I was missing being a young teenager. So I was wanting to party but now I know obviously because I'm an alcoholic I wanted to go out and drink but I didn't understand.

"I knew something was wrong with me but I couldn't pinpoint when I was that young what it was because typically, the stigma. I thought I can't be an alcoholic that's a homeless guy in the street with a paper bag and it was only years later when someone said this, this and this I was like: 'That's me.'"

Stephanie was rehired by Hollyoaks bosses not long after she dried out, and returned to her role as Sinead in October 2018.

Gemma Merna

Poor Gemma found herself spiralling into debt after a home improvement project went drastically wrong – leaving her bankrupt.

The star, who played Carmel McQueen in the soap between 2006 and 2014, had a dispute with an artificial lawn company over the bill they'd charged for redoing her garden back in 2009.

Gemma initially refused to pay up because her garden was left flooded with brackish water on top of the fake grass, but a complex legal situation left her facing £10,000 in combined charges and costs.

Three years on, Gemma was declared bankrupt in 2012. She did not appear in court for the decision.

"It's been the icing on the cake for a terrible year for me. I can't wait for this year to be over with everything I've had to go through," she told the Daily Mail at the time.

Gemma had also lost her dad and granddad that same year – just weeks after marrying husband Ian Minton.

Her rep said in a statement at the time: "Due to a legal loophole Gemma was declared bankrupt earlier this week, being left with the choice whether to keep paying money to a company she was unhappy with or to take a stand out of principle and do what she felt was right."

Mirror Online has contacted Hollyoaks for comment.

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