Jacqueline Jossa says EastEnders job helped her when dad was jailed for fraud

Jacqueline Jossa has hailed her acting career as the "therapy" that she needed to get her through a difficult time in life.

The 28-year-old, who first appeared on EastEnders in 2010 as Lauren Branning, was pleased to have the soap role after her dad was sent to prison.

Back in 2012 when Jac was 19, her father, John Jossa, was sent to prison for stealing £500,000 from Enfield Council in North London.

During the court hearing at the Old Bailey, it was heard that John sent out fake invoices and pretended his wife had been an employee – sending the funds to her account from 2006 to 2010.

In 2010, he was made redundant and paid out £170,000 by the council but the fraudster managed to lose £145,000 on double-dealings.

At court he pleaded guilty to three charges which involved 104 fraudulent transactions and was sentenced to four years behind bars.

Speaking on Geordie Shore star Vicky Pattison's podcast, Jacqueline opened up about Lauren being her escape at the time.

The mum-of-two said: "I spent more time on Lauren than I did on me.

"I would get so into it that all I would think about was 'I wonder what the next script is going to say', because I loved it so much."

However, it left her confused about herself in reality as she'd ploughed so much time and effort into Lauren that she'd ended up forgetting herself.

The I'm a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! queen said: "So when that was gone, I was like 'who am I?' It's all on me now.'"

She went on: "I think it was therapeutic for me. If I've got something personal going on – like my dad went to prison all while I was on EastEnders.

"I was lucky enough that I'd be able to come on to set and cry my eyes out and scream and shout.

"And physically go off on someone – if she [Lauren] was drunk I could go ‘yeah’ and my whole body would feel it. Then I would go home and I’d feel alright."

Jacqueline, who is married to TOWIE star Dan Osborne, left the show to try her hand at other career avenues but soon returned after her mental health began to suffer.

She told Vicky: "When that was taken and that was gone, I didn't have that release and it was all in here then.

"When I was going through something, it just continued to stay in, stay in, stay in.

"Had I had still had that release of getting it out, it would have been better for my head."

After leaving the BBC soap Jacqueline focuses on being a mum to daughters Ella, six, and three-year-old Mia while making odd TV appearances.

She has also taken the fashion world by storm after signing up to create her own clothing range with In The Style.

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