Her career began nearly thirty years ago.
And, in that time, actress Danniella Westbrook has been rendered almost unrecognisable from her teenage self.
Together, decades of drug abuse and surgery have transformed her appearance from fresh-faced to wizened, with collapsed features and tired eyes.
In fact, more many people, it’s hard to believe she was ever the playful teenage star of BBC1’s flagship soap EastEnders.
The actress recently underwent facial reconstruction surgery to repair the deep damage inflicted by osteoporosis, which rotted away her cheekbones and gums.
So how did her appearance change over the years? And why? Here, we chart her dramatic transformation.
Danniella Westbook first appeared in EastEnders 28 years ago
Danniella first appeared in EastEnders as Sam Mitchell way back in July, 1990.
Younger sister to Peggy’s infamous boys Phil and Grant , Sam caused mayhem as soon as she waltzed into Walford 28 years ago.
Innocent and carefree, the adolescent star oozed presence and was an instant hit with fans and critics alike.
She remained a central character until her shock departure in 1993.
She returned to the show in 1999 – but was hiding a secret…
Daniella returned to Eastenders in 1999 – for the third time – after several years working on other projects, including Frank Stubbs Promotes.
Here, she looks naturally older, but still her usual self with her trademark facial features and matching hairstyle from her 1990 debut.
However, due to her off-screen antics, she was hiding a secret.
Her nasal septum had already started rotting away and producers were forced to film all of her scenes from above.
Hence why her nostrils can’t be seen in the above picture.
The infamous image which revealed her ravaged looks
(Image: Alpha/Globe Photo)
By the following year, Danniella’s addiction had taken hold and she was asked to leave EastEnders – with TV bosses reportedly annoyed that she was often late and demanding on-set.
Without the routine and structure of a regular job, Danniella’s partying became central to her life. Naturally, her addiction spiralled.
It was during a wild night at the British Soap Awards that this infamous picture was taken – exposing the depth of her usage.
Clearly, her septum has completely rotted away.
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After reconstructive surgery, Daniella returned to TV with I’m A Celeb
After six months in rehab, Danniella underwent facial surgery to reconstruct her nose.
The procedure was successful, but it slightly changed the appearance of her delicate face – giving her a slightly ‘worked’ look.
During this time, actress Kim Medcalf became the second actress to play Sam Mitchell, appearing from 29 January 2002 until 17 November 2005.
When Danniella later re-emerged into the public eye, in 2004, she looked much healthier and took part in I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Outta Here!
In 2004 she sported a sleek and healthy style
Enjoying something of a career revival, Danniella sported a glamorous image during 2004.
Her hair was blonde and perfectly straightened, while her face appeared plump and naturally clear.
Supported by former cast-mates, including Barbara Windsor, she seemed back on track and looking good again.
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Being part of Dancing on Ice in September, 2010
Following another ill-fated return to EastEnders, Daniella turned her hand to reality TV and took part in the fifth series of Dancing On Ice.
Partnered with Matthew Gonzalez , she was eliminated from the show in the semi-finals, placing fourth overall.
However, although she didn’t win, she showcased a fit figure and a healthy glow. But, sadly, it wasn’t to last…
Daniella on The Jeremy Kyle Show
The star’s nose appeared visibly flatter
(Image: Ric Lowe)
She later appeared on The Jeremy Kyle Show in 2012 to open up about the desperation she felt throughout her addiction.
When she fell pregnant in 1996, Danniella was at the height of her addiction – and couldn’t stop despite the danger the drugs posed to her unborn child.
"I did take drugs right up until I delivered him in the bathroom of the suite," she confessed to the ITV chat show host.
"I did a line of coke during labour. I was in a terrible state. No one could help me. But I knew I wanted that child – I didn’t have anyone else in my life."
Fans couldn’t help but notice how her appearance was changing, with her features ageing and her nose appearing flatter.
Daniella broke down on This Morning in 2014
After claiming she was finally drug-free, Danniella famously appeared on This Morning in 2014 where she confessed to a relapse.
She made the admission before a newspaper could break the story on her behalf.
Breaking down in tears, she said: "I’m not where I was with drugs (at my lowest point), but it was a case of how long it would be until I was – that’s what I was really frightened about.
"I’ve had a terrible time in the last year, which is no excuse, but I’ve just felt so broken and a lot of the time have been on the verge of breakdown."
Danniella confessed her face is ‘rotting’ away
(Image: Nick Bowman)
In an interview with The Mirror, Daniella confessed that her bones are “rotting away” in her face after years of drug abuse and botched surgery.
The former EastEnders star’s left cheekbone is “wasting” away and she’s been left with screws instead of teeth, which cut her tongue as she speaks.
Her Frankenstein-style botched surgery means that some days the 44-year-old wakes up and the left side of her face is completely “sunken”. Other days her cheek swells up in agony as her bones are “decaying” and “weakened”.
“I just don’t look like myself any more,” she said.
But in December 2018, Danniella did a red carpet appearance with a brand new face .
Danniella stepped out after facial reconstruction surgery in December 2018
(Image: Alucard / SplashNews.com)
She was spotted at the Essex TV Awards weeks after undergoing surgery to repair the damage left by the botched operation in 2015.
Danniella told the Mirror how she had to drink twelve pints of milk a day to strengthen her bones so that a part of her skull can be made into a plate for her face.
"I did nearly die, I had two lots of IV drips in each side and then they took all my teeth out again and gave me this denture, which has broken my heart because I didn’t need all of my teeth out in the first place," she told us.
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