Rita Simons says best friend Sam Womack inspired her to ‘put health first’

Former EastEnders actress Rita Simons made the difficult decision to have a hysterectomy, after years of suffering.

It wasn't an easy choice for the 45 year old, but has been inspired to put her health first, especially after seeing what best friend Samantha Womack has "been through" on her journey with breast cancer.

“I just want to be happy and healthy, especially when you look at what Sam’s been through,” Rita told us.

“Health is so important when you see your best friend going through what she’s going through. We’ve all got to put it first. I don’t need a stadium of people to clap at me and tell me I’m wonderful – I can get that at home.”


EastEnders’ Rita Simons introduces boyfriend Ben Harlow in first photoshoot

The actress made the hard decision to have a hysterectomy after speaking to a consultant about her debilitating and irregular periods, which affected her ability to work and had also been causing spikes in her OCD and anxiety. Because of the procedure she felt she was being robbed of her femininity, as well as the chance to be a mum again.

“It’s a really strange thing because you don’t think you’d be that bothered until you’re in that situation, and then suddenly you’re like, ‘What if I do want kids in five years?’” she said.

Rita has been in a relationship with former actor Ben Harlow for two years and he's been a huge support to her through this time.

“Ben knows… he’s not stupid and he knows it upsets me that, as a woman, I’m not able to become pregnant any more and I think, being so sweet, he wouldn’t have dared say, ‘But I want kids!’" Rita said.

"He knows what those conversations meant and he knows it meant potentially, in the future, we could have, but that it’s completely off the table.”

Rita has Ben to lean on as she recovers from the procedure and as she opened up on their romance, she described their relationship dynamic as "yin and yang."

"I have ADHD," she said. "I’m too fast, too quick, too speedy with everything. I don’t stop to breathe – ever. If I want something done, I want it done yesterday. Ben’s completely chilled out, doesn’t worry about anything, whereas I worry about everything. He’s helped me calm down a little bit.”

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