How did Kathy Beale in EastEnders come back from the dead and how old is she?

Gillian Taylforth has played Kathy since the first episode of EastEnders

Kathy Beale in EastEnders was one of the original characters in the BBC soap.

She’s been played by Gillian Taylforth since the very first episode of the show in 1985 until Kathy’s death off-screen in 2000.

Kathy returned to Walford in the 30th anniversary episode in 2015 in a twist that left fans reeling!

Kathy is one of the most glamorous great-grannies on television (Credit: BBC)

So who is Kathy Beale, who many times has she been married, how many children does she have, and how exactly did she come back from the dead?

Kathy Beale in EastEnders – the early days

When EastEnders began in 1985, Kathy was married to Pete Beale, and the couple had a teenage son, Ian. She worked behind the bar in the Queen Vic, alongside her best friend Angie Watts.

But Kathy had a troubled past and evil Nick Cotton soon discovered that she’d been raped when she was 14 and had a daughter – Donna – who she’d put up for adoption. Donna later showed up in Walford.

Kathy’s early years in Walford involved her being raped again by James Wilmott-Brown and the break-up of her marriage, and the death of her daughter Donna.

Kathy Mitchell

Kathy started a romance with Phil Mitchell but he was cheating on her with his brother Grant’s wife Sharon. At Kathy and Phil’s engagement party Grant played the legendary ‘Sharongate’ tape, revealing the truth about Sharon’s affair with the groom to be.

Read More: Ian Beale actor Adam Woodyatt reveals new look

The fallout of Sharongate saw Sharon and Grant split, the friendship between Kathy and Sharon turn into a feud – that’s still evident today – and Kathy and Phil break up.

Kathy Beale in EastEnders with Sharon and Phil
Kathy was at the heart of ‘Sharongate’ when she found out Phil had cheated with his sister-in-law (Credit: BBC/YouTube)

But they eventually worked through their differences and married secretly in 1995. Kathy had son Ben.

Though when Ben had meningitis which left him partially deaf, Phil struggled to cope and turned to drink and Kathy’s second marriage broke down.

Kathy in South Africa

Kathy decided to move to South Africa to live with her brother Ted Hills, after a brief affair with Grant Mitchell. She and Ben left Walford, though Kathy returned for son Ian’s wedding on Millennium eve.

She and Grant rekindled their romance and when Kathy told Phil what had happened between them, it led to a dramatic confrontation between the brothers.

Kathy and Grant EastEnders
Kathy had a brief fling with Grant (Credit: BBC/YouTube)

Kathy returned to South Africa where, in 2001, she married Gavin Sullivan, a friend of her brother Ted.

When Kathy and Gavin died in a road accident off-screen in 2006, Ian Beale went to South Africa. He brought his younger brother Ben back to the Square.

Kathy Beale in EastEnders – back from the dead

As viewers settled down to watch the live episode of EastEnders celebrating the show’s 30th anniversary in 2015, all eyes were on the reveal of Lucy Beale’s murderer.

But that wasn’t the only surprise in store. In one of the best-kept secrets in soap, it turned out Kathy Beale was alive and well – and ex-husband Phil Mitchell knew that she’d faked her death!

Kathy returns to EastEnders
Kathy’s returns to EastEnders was a huge secret (Credit: BBC/YouTube)

Kathy’s husband Gavin Sullivan was an evil sort, we discovered, and he was controlling his wife.

After Gavin held Kathy, Ben and Phil hostage, he revealed that he was also Sharon’s biological father.

Kathy was at the heart of another dramatic storyline when James Wilmott-Brown returned to Walford and – as boss of Weyland & Co, he attempted to buy up half of Albert Square.

Now Kathy’s living in son Ian’s house, keeping an eye on his wayward sons Bobby and Peter while he’s off licking his wounds. She owns the cafe and The Albert.

Kathy has been quiet for a while. What’s next? (Credit: BBC)

How old is Kathy Beale?

She may not look it, but Kathy is 71 years old! Youthful-looking actress Gillian Taylforth is 64 years old.

Things have been quiet for Kathy for a while, but we can’t help think that something big is just around the corner for her. What would like to see Kathy do next? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix and let us know.