Inside EastEnders legend Patsy Palmer’s incredible US life with her famous kids after beating addiction


DANCING On Ice’s Patsy Palmer lives an incredible life in America with her famous kids.

The EastEnders icon, 50, shared the news with hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby on Monday’s episode of ITV’s This Morning.

Patsy Palmer has signed up for Dancing on Ice

Patsy Palmer with kids Fenton, Emilia and Bertie, and husband Richard

Patsy joined EastEnders as Bianca Jackson in 1993

Patsy Palmer and first husband Nick Love

Appearing live from her home in Los Angeles, Patsy said: “I wanted to challenge myself, get back to work and get out of my comfort zone. I thought I’d just go for it”, said Patsy, who turned 50 this year.

“It seems a lot of fun and I love ice skating, but I’m not an ice skater.

“I’ve been asked to do it before, but I was absolutely terrified.

“The pact I made to myself when I turned 50, which I did this year, is that I have to do things to challenge myself for the next couple of years.

“I don’t want to get stuck in this weird phase of ‘ahh I’m 50’. It’s such a weird age.

“This is for all the 50-year-olds who think they can’t do this – I’m actually quite scared now.”

The EastEnders icon – who overcame a 20-year addiction to drugs and booze – and partied her way through the ’90s and previously admitted “I’m amazed I survived”.

Yet she now lives an idyllic life in Malibu, just west of Los Angeles, where her days are filled with yoga, meditation, walking and family time.

She told HOAR last year: “I’ve done so much work around it, I’ve had so much therapy and now I feel my life is more balanced than it’s ever been.”

Patsy started drinking booze at eight, sniffing solvents at 11, and taking cocaine at 13.

She was just 20 years old and a single mum to baby Charley when she landed the part of Bianca Jackson in EastEnders back in 1993.

After the breakdown of her first marriage to film producer Nick Love in 1998 she found herself living in a one-bedroom flat with Charley, but her life revolved around drink and drugs.

She wrote in her 2007 autobiography, All Of Me: “By my 20s I was bingeing my life away on cocaine, ecstasy, and enough vodka and Laurent Perrier Champagne to quench a small village’s thirst for several hours.

“I would be out of my head for two or three days in a row – whole chunks of time were lost. I took so many drugs I’m amazed I survived.”

A producer on EastEnders spotted her struggling and made her go to rehab where she finally got clean.

“I’m an addict. I have it in my genes, but the thing was I didn’t know how to deal with it back then,” she later told Fabulous magazine.

“I don’t know how I survived. It was the producer who first sent me away to get help when she realised things were getting out of control. I was basically having a nervous breakdown.”

Patsy went on to marry London cabbie Richard Merkell in 2000, saying he provided her the stability she needed to steer clear of booze.

“We don’t have drink in our house. Richard is a social drinker but he doesn’t drink at home. I follow the 12-step ­programme from ­Alcoholics ­Anonymous and Narcotics ­Anonymous.”

They went on to have three more children – Fenton, 20, Emilia, 19, and nine-year-old Bertie – and moved to Malibu from Brighton in 2014 where Patsy took up DJ-ing.

Patsy has given fans a glimpse of their magical lifestyle on Instagram, which is worlds away from her on-screen character Bianca.

For their final year of education, Fenton and Emilia quit school and completed their studies via online classes in order to give them the flexibility to travel to castings as and when they needed to.

“They’d got to the age of around 16 where you’re deciding what you want to do and they just wanted to be at home getting little jobs,” Patsy told HOAR.

“They’re just being teenagers, really. They’re good-looking kids and always get asked to model, so they’re doing it. Emilia does it to pay for her car. They both have things to pay for, cos I’m not paying for it!

“Emilia likes acting and she’s a good designer. She goes to thrift shops and buys stuff and sells it online, so she’s getting a business sense, trying a bit of everything.

“Charley is doing amazingly well. He’s all over the place travelling for work. He’s always doing movies and he loves to write as well.”

Bertie is a promising athlete and hopes to be a footballer (or a “soccer player” as he puts it, having grown up in the States).

There had been rumours about the family starring in a Kardashian-style reality series and Patsy confirmed they are in discussions with producers.

“Yes, it’s happening. We’re talking about it seriously with an American production company. The Kardashians are great – I know a couple of them and they’re really nice people, but we’re not them,” she said.

“We’ve got a lot more male energy in the family for a start, even the dogs are boys. And there’s me and Emilia trying to sort it all out.

“My daughter has an extremely close relationship with her father, which I love. It’s something I didn’t have personally.”

Patsy took up DJing and inspiring women at her Malibu Members breakfast club when she moved to California

Patsy modelling at Night of the Big Cat fashion show in London in 1999

Her Instagram is a shrine to her kids, including daughter Emilia, 19

Her youngest three congregate in one of the bedrooms in Patsy’s Malibu home

The soap star loves to post beautiful landscapes of the beach near to her home

Patsy moved to Malibu in 2014

Bertie does his homework in the stunning Malibu setting

The family has plenty of space to relax outdoors in the LA sunshine

The star has supported her daughter’s dreams of becoming a model

Patsy’s kids are friends with supermodel Cindy Crawford’s children
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