Who plays Shirley Carter in EastEnders? All the details on actress Linda Henry and her life away from the soap

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EastEnders actress Linda Henry has played the role of Shirley Carter since 2006.

Shirley has been embroiled in some turbulent storylines over the years, including her best friend Heather Trott being murdered by then-boyfriend Phil Mitchell’s son Ben.

The character has a complicated family life, with her son Mick Carter – played by Danny Dyer – originally thought to be her brother, while her two other children, Deano and Carly, no longer live in Albert Square.

However, Linda's life away from the soap is vastly different, as the actress, who appeared in Bad Girls, is happily married with her long-term partner and they have one child together.


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From her family life to her soap career, here’s everything you need to know about the actress who plays Shirley Carter…

Who is Linda Henry married to?

Linda Henry, who was born in January 1963, is married to Stavros Virillis and lives in South London.

The couple tied the knot in 1992 and have one daughter together, Ellie, who they welcomed in 1993.

Linda is notoriously private about her personal life but appears on EastEnders: Secrets from the Square in a rare interview about her longtime role as Shirley.

In an old interview on GMTV, Linda said she doesn’t usually like doing TV interviews, which is why it’s rare to see the EastEnders favourite outside of the soap that made her famous.

However, on the Paul O’Grady Show in 2011, she said “it’s fun” to play a character so different from herself when Paul commented on how lovely she is in real life.

Linda Henry arrested

In 2014 Linda was arrested when she was accused of racially aggravated harassment. Linda stood trial in 2015 and was supported by her real life best friend Cheryl Fergison, who plays Heather Trott on EastEnders. She was later cleared of all charges.

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Linda Henry career

Linda is best known for her role as Shirley Carter on EastEnders, joining in 2006.

But it's not the first time she appeared on the long-running BBC soap – the actress had a short role in EastEnders in 1991, playing Lorraine Salter, the mother of teenage tearaway Mandy Salter.

She only played the character for one year, before returning to the soap as Shirley 15 years later.

And for those hardcore TV fans you will likely recognise Linda from another hugely popular drama, as she starred in Bad Girls as Yvonne Atkins back in 1999.

She was lauded for her portrayal as the feisty prisoner on the series which ran from 1999 to 2006, with Linda starring in seasons one to five before she was killed off.

Linda has also starred in The Bill and Birds of a Feather. But it's her role as queen Shirley Carter that has achieved huge popularity with soap fans.

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