EastEnders legend Jo Joyner opens up about ‘longed for’ twins as she speaks about her IVF battle


EX-EASTENDERS star Jo Joyner has opened up about her struggle to get pregnant revealing that her twins were “longed for”.

The actress, 44, was feeling broody in her late teens but it took until her 30s before she fell pregnant through IVF.

Jo Joyner and husband Neil with twins Edie and Freddie
Jo played Tanya Branning in EastEnders

She and husband Neil turned to IVF after three years of trying to conceive naturally and only needed one round of treatment to fall pregnant with twins Freddie and Edie, now 12.

Jo is now documenting her experience in a book made up of her journals from the time, which she said she kept for her own sanity.

Speaking to the Mirror, she said: “I started journalling as it’s like a form of CBT [cognitive behavioural therapy] really, because a lot of it is laugh or cry. But there are funny situations which arise during IVF. It sounds a bit harsh to say, but there are such stupid scenarios that happen – let alone men giving their ‘samples’, bless them.

“We tried everything – acupuncture, fertility diets, reflexology – but nothing worked. We had tests and knew there was a slim chance anything [natural] would work and that was when we made the decision to try IVF. The twins were very longed for – we were incredibly lucky because we had them with our first round of IVF.”

Tanya Branning actress Jo previously revealed how she feared her gruelling EastEnders schedule would affect her pregnancy.

Her toxic relationship with on-screen husband Max [Jake Wood] was full of drama and blazing rows.

It culminated in her burying the serial womaniser alive in scenes filmed in the dead of night.

Jo explained to You magazine: “When I was pregnant with the twins I’d be doing scenes where I was shouting and screaming, rowing with whoever was my partner at the time, going at it nonstop because that was my character.

“It was difficult. As an actress you want to give everything to the part, but as a woman I was pregnant. I had these two little lives inside me and I was horribly aware that on some level they would be conscious of the screaming.”

The decision to walk away from her high-profile Eastenders role was not an easy one, but Jo said it was important to achieve some much-needed “balance.”

She revealed: “Leaving a huge show is always a massive decision, but it had become too much.

“I felt I wasn’t doing a good job in any part of my life and I needed to make some big changes, get balance in my life.”