Jean Slater in EastEnders is the mother of Stacey and Sean Slater. She’s actually just a Slater by marriage as she was married to Brian Slater – Stacey and Sean’s father.
Jean first appeared for only one episode in 2004 and returned as a regular character a year later.
After being in and out of the show for a couple of years, she returned full-time in 2018. She’s a hugely popular character, with Jean delivering some of the square’s most heartbreaking dramas and laughing a lot too.
Who plays Jean Slater in EastEnders?
Jean Slater in EastEnders is played by veteran actress Gillian Wright. In addition to her television career – with roles in Casualty, Holby City and Coronation Street – Gillian is a stage actress.
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She is also a visiting director and workshop leader, and works with drama schools, universities and children with special needs.
Jean’s bipolar disorder
Jean Slater suffers from bipolar disorder. Her condition has made it difficult for her daughter Stacey – who inherited the disease – and their son Sean.
Early in her tenure at EastEnders, Jean attempted suicide and was severed. Stacey helped her mother with her troubles, and the two of them built bridges, though Jean was having a harder time making up for Sean.
Jean also intervened when Stacey showed signs of bipolar disorder and helped her daughter.
Since then, Jean’s sanity has been the catalyst for many of Jean’s stories. She won some money with a lottery scratch card and was horribly manipulated and cheated of her winnings by Michael Moon.
Occasionally Jean is not believed, exploited, or ridiculed because people know about her mental health problems. Actress Gillian Wright has studied the disease extensively and she won Best Dramatic Performance at the British Soap Awards in 2019.
One of the most famous of jeans is her special sausage surprise, which she loves to cook for her family and friends!
Jean Slater’s romances in EastEnders
Widow Jean has had a number of romances during her time on the court, including with Ian Beale and Billy Mitchell.
She married former police officer Ollie Walters and they moved to Brighton together. But when she returned to Walford, she revealed that Ollie had betrayed her and their marriage was over.
Jean’s most life-changing romance was with Daniel Cook. Who she met while undergoing cancer treatment.
Cancer diagnosis by Jean Slater and romance with Daniel
Jean was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and initially struggled to deal with it. She even fled to a trailer in Wales for a while. But son Sean helped her come to terms with her diagnosis and accompanied her to her first hospital appointments.
In the hospital, Jean met Daniel who was harassing himself with the nurses.
Although Daniel was “difficult”, he and Jean got close. And she was devastated when she died. She and Kush Kazemi went to the memorial service.
But then Jean discovered that Daniel had faked his own death. He was afraid he would get too close to Jean and he didn’t want her to see him suffer.
When it turned out that Daniel had faked his death, Jean was initially angry. Daniel was cute and so sorry she finally forgave him and it also helped find out that he had paid the Slaters rent!
The couple admitted their feelings for each other and Daniel promised that he would not die until he knew Jean was cancer free.
When he got worse, Jean found that her cancer was gone. Jean told a fib saying she didn’t get her results but Mo let it slip off.
Jean and Daniel sat together on Arthur’s bench in the square. Jean got hot chocolates and when she came back Daniel had died.
In late 2020, Jean found a lump in her chest. She believes her cancer has returned – one of the reasons she was so devastated when Stacey went to jail – and doesn’t want any further treatment.
But is Jean right about her diagnosis? Is she dying?
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