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EastEnders Miller family now – bankruptcy, career U-turn and two co-star splits

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EastEnders has seen many famous families move to Albert Square throughout the years, including the Watts, the Mitchells and the Fowlers.

In 2003, the first member of another famous family stepped onto the square, introducing us to Joe Swash's Mickey Miller who was soon to become a fan favourite.

One year later, the rest of the Miller clan arrived, bringing with them new dramas and iconic moments – including the birth of new family members, deaths and weddings that did not go to plan.

Nearly 20 years since Mickey Miller arrived in EastEnders, Daily Star takes a look at where the actors who played the Miller family are now.

Joe Swash – Mickey Miller

Joe Swash rose to fame as eldest child Mickey Miller on EastEnders in 2003, but viewers may not know that he originally auditioned for another role two years before – Spencer Moon.

However, Mickey soon became a fan favourite, providing some much needed comic relief on the square.

Sadly two years later, Joe had to take three months leave after he was diagnosed with meningitis and encephalitis, causing a swelling of the brain.

He spent six weeks in hospital following the diagnosis, and with the help of physiotherapists had to learn to walk again.

Joe soon returned to Albert Square, and during his time on the soap, he dated co-star Kara Tointon who played half-sister Dawn Swann – but the couple split up in 2010.

In 2008 Mickey Miller was also axed from the soap along with his father Keith Miller, played by actor David Spinx.

Talking to The Mirror, wife Stacey Solomon admitted that Joe is still disappointed over his character's EastEnders exit, saying: "When I speak to Joe about his exit in EastEnders he's always devastated he never got a 'doof doof'."

After leaving EastEnders, Joe won I'm A Celebrity 2008, but this happiness was short-lived as the actor was declared bankrupt in the same year.

He told The Sun: "I fell behind on tax and bills and buried my head in the sand, which was the worst thing to do. I should have faced up to it."

However, Joe's life has since gone onwards and upwards, with appearances on TV programmes including Celebrity Masterchef, Dancing on Ice and Celebrity Gogglebox.

Fans also shared their messages of congratulations too, when in 2021 he became a dad to a baby girl with partner Stacey Solomon.

Stacey regularly shares insights into their family life on social media, including one particularly embarrassing incident when she blamed Joe for not telling her that her new leggings were see-through on a trip to the shops.

"You said come on let's go," Stacey clapped back to Joe on her Instagram story, after Joe said: "You're a grown woman, you should pay more attention to what you were wearing."

Stacey said: "Joe let me walk around in them all day without even letting me know.

"We got dressed in the dark before the school run and I didn't even think of looking in the mirror. Joe thinks it's hilarious. Apparently, he noticed but 'forgot' to say anything because we were in a rush."

Shana Swash – Demi Miller

Joe is not the only talented Swash family member, as his sister Shana starred alongside him as Demi Miller, one year after Joe had joined the soap.

During her short time on the square, Demi was involved in storylines including the death of her baby's father and tensions between her family, before the character was written out of the soap in 2006.

Since then, Demi has had a career U-turn and moved into the restaurant industry, as well as launching a coffee business in 2021 with her husband Nick Jones.

Joe took to social media to pay tribute to his sister and new business, sharing an Instagram story about the news.

In the story, Joe said: "My sister is opening up her very first Swash and Jones coffee stall, look at this.

"Super proud of my little sister and her partner."

Kara Tointon – Dawn Swann

Long before she went on to lift the Glitterball trophy on Strictly Come Dancing, Kara Tointon played Mickey and Demi Miller's half sister Dawn Swan.

Dawn's huge storylines included having a baby with married man, before his wife tried to blow up the house that she was staying in.

When Dawn was written out of the show in 2009, leaving on a canal boat with Gary Hobbs and daughter Summer, Kara admitted that she was "heartbroken."

During her time on the series, Kara also had relationships with two of her EastEnders co-stars, dating Martin Fowler actor James Alexandrou from 2006 for 18 months.

Soon after, she began dating Joe Swash and the couple were together for over two years – even starring in a Snow White pantomime at the Bristol Hippodrome together.

However their relationship came to an end in 2010, leaving Kara devastated, with Joe telling The Sun: "She genuinely does everything right. It was my fault it broke down. I didn't know what I had until she was gone."

In the same year, Kara showed off her moves on the dance floor and won the 2010 series of Strictly, as well as the heart of professional dance partner Artem Chigvintsev, who she dated for four years.

The former EastEnders Dawn actress has continued to show off her impressive dance moves on stage since leaving the soap, performing in West End shows such as Pygmalion and starring as Maria in ITV's Sound of Music.

She also hasn't left our TV screens, appearing in programmes including Mr Selfridge, Henry IX and is listed as appearing in a number of TV series currently in production.

In 2016, Kara also gave birth to her first child with fiancé Marius Jensen, with the happy couple welcoming their second child in 2021.

David Spinx – Keith Miller

David Spinx played father Keith Miller in EastEnders, five years after he had originally appeared in the soap as Steve Owen's prison cellmate Sharkey in 1999.

During his time on the square, Keith was left devastated when wife Rosie cheated on him, before the couple decided to reconcile when he proposed.

Their happiness was short lived however, as Rosie jilted Keith at the altar and in 2008, the character was written out of the show.

Since leaving the soap, David has continued to act in TV programmes including Casualty, Doctors and most recently, the film South of the River.

He also showcases his flair for art on Twitter, sharing photos of his creations including paintings.

Charlie G Hawkins – Darren Miller

Charlie Hawkins played Demi's twin Darren, with the character involved in story lines such as being revealed as the father of Heather Trott's baby George.

Unlike other members of the Miller family, Darren was not written out of the show, remaining on the square for seven years until actor Charlie Hawkins announced that he was leaving the soap.

Speaking about his time on EastEnders, he told The Mirror: "I've enjoyed my time at EastEnders immensely, it's been a terrific chapter in my life and I've loved every minute of it.

"I've had tremendous support throughout my duration on the show and I would like to thank Bryan and the whole team for believing in me."

However, he has since revealed that he struggled with the fame that the soap brought him, telling Distinct Nostalgia podcast: "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.

"EastEnders really helped me in every avenue of life. The one thing it couldn’t manage me for was the feeling of fame."

He has since taken a step away from the spotlight, with his last acting role listed as Miles Stones in an episode of Casualty in 2014.

Gerry Cowper – Rosie Miller

Like David Spinx, Gerry Cowper had also appeared in EastEnders in another role, before landing the part as mother Rosie Miller.

During her time on the square, Rosie was embroiled in arguments with Pauline Fowler, an affair with her ex and jilting Keith Miller at the altar, before moving to the Cotswolds in 2008.

Gerry was already a huge star before appearing in EastEnders, having landed lead roles in The Wicker Man, Yes Minister and The Bill.

Since then, she has also appeared in various roles in Casualty and Law and Order: UK.

In her personal life, Gerry was married to Mark Foley from 1998 to 2006, and they had one child together.

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  • Eastenders
  • BBC
  • Joe Swash

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