Emmerdale star Mark Womack auditioned for the ITV soap twice before landing the role of DI Mark Malone.

The 61-year-old actor joined the Dales as the evil copper in 2020, which is the same year he and former EastEnders star Samantha Womack revealed they were officially separated.

Samantha, 49, confirmed the couple had originally split in 2018 but were "co-existing happily" in their family home.

READ MORE: EastEnders' Samantha Womack reveals she has cancer as she pays tribute to late star

As DI Malone's murder looks set to resurface and land one Dales resident a life sentence in prison, Daily Star takes a look inside Mark and Samantha's doomed romance.

Early romance

Mark and Samantha first crossed paths on the set of gritty police drama Liverpool 1 in 1998.

Both stars were recently separated, with Samantha divorcing her first husband Junfan Mantovani the same year while Mark split from his wife-of-two years Mary Therese McGoldrick in 1997.

The pair's relationship soon blossomed, with the couple welcoming their first child Benjamin together in 2001.

Mark previously welcomed a son with his first wife Mary in 1995.

In 2005, Mark and Samantha added to their brood by welcoming daughter Lily-Rose – though it took a number of years for them to head back to the altar.

Marriage and kids

Samantha and Mark made things official with their wedding in 2009.

The celebrity couple tied the knot after ten years of dating and the family set up home in Bedfordshire following Samantha's casting as Ronnie Mitchell in EastEnders in May 2007.

She departed the soap four years later in July 2011 when Ronnie was imprisoned, before returning to the role in 2013.

Samantha played Ronnie for a further four years before the character and her sister Roxy (Rita Simons) were killed off in a heart-breaking New Year's Day episode in 2017.

It was reported at the time that both Samantha and Rita were angered by their soap axing.

Unbeknownst to the world, Samantha split from her husband Mark a year later.

The couple took the unusual step of keeping their separation out of the public eye for a number of years.

Separation

Following a failed Emmerdale audition for the part of Graham Foster (Andrew Scarborough) and another failed audition for an unknown role, Mark landed the part of evil DI Mark Malone in 2020.

In August the same year, Samantha announced their split to the world.

The couple made headlines by revealing that they were still living together two years on from their split and even shared dating tips and advice.

Samantha previously told OK! magazine: "Our family home is big enough and we're co-existing happily.

"There's no rush to change things but now feels like the right time to be honest and admit we're no longer together.

"It would be naïve to say that moving on has been easy for us both.

"It's not an easy route but we've always been honest with each other about everything."

New love

A year after confirming their separation, Samantha found new love with former Coronation Street star Oliver Farnworth, 40.

The actor portrayed Andy Carver on the rival ITV soap until 2017, when his character was also murdered.

Samantha and Oliver met during their joint stage adaptation of The Girl On The Train, with a source previously telling The Sun: "Samantha's chemistry with Oliver was clear to see on stage and they remained close after the production.

"They couldn't be happier and have loved dating away from the public eye.

"They've met each other's families and it all feels very natural. They're totally smitten with each other."

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