The actress joined the cast of the show in 2004, and has been involved in plenty of dramatic storylines over the years. However, less is known about her life off-screen.
When she isn’t filming on Albert Square, the 61-year-old lives in Hertfordshire with her rescue dog, Scruff.
Thanks to social media, fans have been offered the occasional glimpse behind the doors of her home.
Let’s take a look…
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Jean loves to get crafty when she’s relaxing at home and in August shared the results of a lockdown project.
The star posted a snap of her ‘lockdown blanket’ that she’d completed when COVID restrictions were at their tightest.
Gillian has also previously shared other handmade creations including a soft mermaid that features in her bedroom.
Scruff is often featured in the TV star’s photos, including one sweet snap captioned ‘waiting for the postman’.
Gillian often treats herself to a bunch of fresh flowers and has previously shared photos of them brightening up her home.
The actor was originally cast for one episode of EastEnders after auditioning for the part of Stacey Slater’s mum.
However, the character quickly gained popularity and was invited back for more episodes before joining the soap full time in 2007.
Gillian has previously admitted she was hesitant when the original offer was made.
She said: “I said no. Over and over again. Eventually, they came up with an offer my agent couldn’t refuse – a year’s contract and a pension. It’s turned into the role of my career.”
Previously, Gillian worked as a theatre director and drama teacher.
The soap star has previously experienced life-threatening health problems which led to a diagnosis of pancreatitis.
Speaking to the Sunday People, the London-born star recalled how she suffered excruciating stomach pains, which lead her to being diagnosed with acute pancreatitis.
“I suddenly felt a sharp pain that wouldn’t go away,” she said.
“I made it home, a neighbour dialled 999 and I was whisked to hospital. It was touch and go,” Gillian explained.
“It’s no exaggeration to say I had a real brush with death,” she said, adding that while the pain was as its peak she would rather have taken a pill to end her own life than go another day in the excruciating pain.
Luckily, the actress has now made a full recovery.