FORMER EastEnders actor Charlie G Hawkins was forced to quit his role on the soap which “almost destroyed” his life.
The 29-year-old who debuted on the BBC soap at the age of 13 said the fame and online trolling was too much for him to bear.
The attention and scrutiny lead to crippling anxiety issues and the young actor knew he needed to leave the soap to save his life.
“I struggled to deal with the profile of the show and I went from being this cheeky chappy who was really confident to being someone who wanted to be at the back of the room,” Charlie told The Daily Star.
Charlie played Darren Miller from 2004 to 2011 for which he was nominated for best young actor at the British Soap Awards.
He explained: “EastEnders really helped me in every avenue of life.
“The one thing it couldn’t manage me for was the feeling of fame.
“I’ve never been able to shake the feeling that people only want to talk to me about EastEnders.
“You’ve got one strand, you’ve got nothing else to your bow.”
But it was taking a glance at online fan site the ‘Walford Web’ that “absolutely broke” him.
He said: “You may have got 100 good comments but you’d get one bad one.
“I would stare at that one comment and it absolutely broke me. It really affected me.
“I did struggle with that but I never really wanted to turn my back on acting.”
As a result the actor has shunned social media and preferred to keep a low profile.
But he has not ruled out returning to the show in the future.
The last EastEnders heard of Darren was that he had just returned to England after a jaunt in India.
Social services had asked him to come back to look after his son George, because his mother Heather Trott had died.