Zoe Lucker found it "terribly difficult" being away from her daughter whilst filming 'Hollyoaks'.

Lilly and Zoe Lucker

Lilly and Zoe Lucker

The 44-year-old actress bowed out of her role as Reenie McQueen on the Channel 4 soap in 2016 to be at home with her young daughter Lilly - whom she has with husband James Herbert - now nine, because she couldn't bear to be so far away from her little girl.

On top of dealing with her character's "harrowing" child abuse storyline - which saw all of her on-screen daughters reveal they were sexually abused by her alter-ego's boyfriend Pete Buchanan (Kai Owen) - Zoe wasn't able to come home every night after work because of the distance from the set in Liverpool to her family home in Surrey, South England.

Appearing on 'Loose Women' on Friday (03.08.18), the former 'Footballers' Wives' star admitted: "That was really hard. The job was a really important one, we were working with the NSPCC so I was very glad to do it from that point of view.

"I met some lovely people there.

"But as you say, it was a very harrowing role and I think when you do soap, you never realised just how much you are going to be required on set.

"Because it was in Liverpool, it's not possible to get home every night so it got to a point where I was just finding it terribly difficult to be away from Lilly.

"She wasn't enjoying it, so after that job I made the decision to stay at home with Lilly and I've done that for two years now."

Zoe used to feel incredibly "emotional" and "sick" at the thought of leaving her only child behind.

She said: "When you are at back at school and you haven't done your homework on a Sunday and you have those awful feelings of you've got to do this or that.

"Every Sunday I use to feel sick and emotional.

"You've got to try and pretend everything is OK, because I don't want Lilly to vibe off that.

"She was brilliantly looked after when I was away."

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