Emmerdale legend Diane Sugden is returning to the village tonight (Wednesday, October 12).
But who is Diane, who was she married to and why did she leave Emmerdale?
Who is Diane Sugden?
Diane first appeared in Emmerdale in November 1999. She is played by Elizabeth Estensen.
When were Diane and Rodney married?
Diane Lambert met Rodney Blackstock at a fairground in 1965 when she was 18 and he was 16, before they married in 1966.
They share daughter, Bernice Blackstock, who was born December 29 1968, however Rodney didn’t stick around and abandoned them when Bernice was just five years old.
Rodney and Diane didn’t reunite again until 2000 when Bernice’s then fiancé, Ashley Thomas, invited Rodney to the Dales for their Christmas Day wedding.
Bernice, who also hadn’t seen or heard from her father since he left, was furious. But she eventually forgave him for everything. Diane, on the other hand, was not so forgiving.
However, it was clear there was still a spark between the pair and despite Rodney being in a relationship with Louise Appleton at the time, he ended up in bed with Diane again.
Did Rodney have an affair with Diane’s sister, Val?
During Diane and Rodney’s marriage, he had an affair with her sister, Val Lambert.
She gave birth to their son, Paul, in 1974, but only Val knew the truth about who his father really was.
Diane had no idea the pair had slept together until Val arrived in Emmerdale in 2004 and got together with Rodney for real.
Rodney was still in love with Diane and confessed his affair with Val all those years ago.
Val then assumed Diane and Rodney were cheating together, but it turned out Di had colon cancer and was confiding in her ex.
Devastated Rodney declared his undying love for Diane wanting to get back together.
But Diane rejected him and went on to marry boyfriend Jack Sugden. Val confessed Paul’s paternity at the wedding, leaving Rodney stunned and Diane horrified.
Who else has Diane Sugden been married to?
Shortly after arriving in Emmerdale Diane struck up a close friendship with Jack Sugden.
Despite sharing a kiss, they decided to stay friends, and Di went on to have relationships with Jerry ‘Mack’ Mackinley and Alan Turner.
But she and Jack reunited and married in September 2004. However, Diane ended up falling for Billy Hopwood and began and emotional affair with him.
She and Jack couldn’t sort out their problems and separated, but they grew closer once again when Jack’s son Andy was convicted of manslaughter.
Jack went to Spain for a while, but he and Diane patched things up from afar and she was left devastated by his death in 2009.
Diane then fell for Charlie Haynes, an old friend of Rodney’s who told her he had an inoperable brain tumour and only months to live. She later found out he was a conman and had lied to her.
Who else has Rodney Blackstock been married to?
Meanwhile, Rodney has had more romances than hot dinners!
After leaving Diane he married Maureen Blackstock and they had a daughter together, Nicola King, in 1978.
Rodney had a brief engagement to Steph Stokes. But it ended when it was revealed she was only with him for the money. He went on to have a relationship with much-younger Kelly Windsor.
He also dated Rishi‘s ex-wife Georgia Sharma. But that ended when he became a male escort behind her back!
Rodney’s most recent romance was Misty, another young woman (they had a 40 year age gap), but despite their active sex life, Bernice and Nicola managed to put Misty off their dad by lying he had osteoarthritis and only had a few months of normal life left.
She dumped him and left for Thailand.
Why did Diane leave Emmerdale?
It was announced in September 2021 that Elizabeth Estensen would be retiring from Emmerdale after 22 years playing Diane.
Speaking about her decision to leave the show, Elizabeth said: “For the past 22 years I have loved playing Diane Sugden – she’s kind, reliable and fiercely loyal.
“However, I feel the time has come to say goodbye. Emmerdale will always remain special to me.
“I’ve been treated with respect and kindness and I’ve had the very best friends and colleagues, both past and present. I’ll miss everyone dearly.”
In October 2021 Diane decided to move to Portugal.
Emmerdale usually airs weeknights at 7pm on ITV, with an extra episode at 8pm on Thursdays.
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