Sammy Winward made an epic TV return after a lengthy hiatus from our screens last month, leaving fans of the Emmerdale actor wondering just what’s she been up to since stepping back from showbiz.
The 38-year-old, best known for playing Katie Sugden on the ITV soap, delighted fans with her long-awaited comeback to our living rooms after being cast as Sonia Sutcliffe in The Longshadow in September. The dramatic role, which saw her portray the real-life wife of serial killer Peter Sutcliffe, a.k.a, The Yorkshire Ripper, marked Sammy’s first on-screen gig in years.
The Bolton native departed Emmerdale in 2015 to pursue a career as a drama teacher, having portrayed Katie in the award-winning soap since 2001. Her character was killed after falling to her death, squashing any chances of Sammy reprising the iconic role in the future.
She has since used her background in entertainment to inspire the younger generation, delivering workshops and classes on the performance arts in the years following her Emmerdale departure. “My aim is to pass on knowledge gained from my experiences to the next generation of budding actors who would like a career in acting,” she explained.
“I was cast as Katie in Emmerdale at the age of 15 and can remember how nervous I was on my first day. I hope to build children’s confidence by teaching them terminology, on-set etiquette, script work and audition techniques in the hope that one day they themselves will have a career in acting.”
She is also the proud mother to an 18-year-old daughter, Mia Winward-Dunn with her ex David Dunn, and has since spoken out about the challenges of being a single mother. Sammy split from the football manager when she was just 20 years old and three months pregnant with their child, forcing her to mature quickly as she raised a child whilst also
“It totally changes your life for the better. I love being a mum and Mia is such a character…I had to grow up fast, but I wouldn’t change it for the world,” she said in 2014. “Motherhood is a tough gig but it’s also the most rewarding. My mum looks after Mia when I am away from home but I am never away for more than a couple of nights and I am the one who struggles with it.”
She added: “I don’t know how I would have coped without the support of my parents. They are fantastic and if I’m working 12 hour days, they happily cover childcare. My hours depend on the story-line, but most of the time I work around her schedule.”
Unlike many of her fellow soap stars, Sammy has adamantly turned down a number of opportunities to appear on reality TV. “I would never do a reality show,” she said. The thought of doing them is terrifying. Too much stress and worrying about what people would say if I did something wrong.”