EastEnders actor Jake Wood, 48, has stepped down from the BBC soap after “15 wonderful years” after being introduced to viewers as Max Branning in 2006. News of his exit was announced today.
Speaking out about his departure for the first time, he said in a statement: “I’ve had 15 wonderful years at EastEnders and have made some truly great friends.”
Teasing what the future holds for him, the actor added: “I’ll of course miss everyone there but I’m grateful they have left the door open for Max and I’m excited to see what the next chapter holds.”
The Max Branning star is yet to address the news on social media, but was active on his Instagram and Twitter pages today to wish his wife a Happy Birthday.
Alongside a picture of the pair beaming for the camera, he wrote: “Happy birthday beautiful @alisonrwood46 I couldn’t imagine a life without you.”
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The soap’s executive producer Jon Sen said of the star’s exit in a statement: “Jake is a truly wonderful actor and EastEnders have been extremely lucky to have him for so long.
“We have a big storyline for Max that starts in the coming weeks and we are all very excited to see that play out.”
Fans of the soap have flocked to social media to share their thoughts about the news.
One user wrote: “Sad to see Jake Wood leaving #EastEnders A great actor and glad to see that they will leave the door open for him.
“The beginning of the end of the Branning family now with only Jack [Branning] on the square?”
“NOT JAKE WOOD WHAT THE HELL,” a second disappointed fan wrote.
A third penned: “Oh man I have loved Max Branning and Jake Wood since the very first time I saw him in #EastEnders!”
More to follow…