EastEnders Callum stars life – girlfriend, heartbreak and kissing BBC co-star

Actor Tony Clay has had BBC viewers gripped with his portrayal of Callum Highway as he navigates his relationship with fiery Ben Mitchell.

The relationship between the EastEnders characters has received a lot of attention from soap fans, who've dubbed the fan-favourite couple ‘Ballum’.

Tony debuted on EastEnders in January 2018 when he accidentally shot family friend Mick Carter during a botched heist. He then left the soap briefly before returning to Albert Square in 2018 – and has been on the soap ever since.

READ MORE: EastEnders' Denise 'sealed' as Queen Vic killer as Diane Parish backs theory

But while fans get to know his character on-screen, the star has had a series of ups and downs of his own away from Albert Square.

From his dad’s terrifying brush with death during the Covid-19 lockdowns and his long-term romance with his stunning girlfriend, let’s take a look at the star’s life away from the cameras

Stunning girlfriend

He’s known for his tumultuous love affair with Ben Mitchell on Eastenders but actor Tony Clay shares his life with a female partner – his stunning girlfriend Olivia.

Fans are familiar with the soap star's on-screen relationship with Ben, but his off-screen love life has remained a mystery to fans.

But recently the actor, who portrays Callum Highway in the BBC soap, couldn't help but tweet a romantic picture of Olivia to mark their six-year anniversary.

Tony posted a rarely-seen photo of the couple and their gorgeous puppy Daisy, gushing: "6 years. I adore you! (And, obviously, daisies)."

The couple is seen in the photo sipping drinks in their backyard.

Olivia can be seen shooting a smile to camera showing off her long brunette locks as she cuddles their sweet pooch. Tony looks equally as happy wearing some sunnys and shooting a big smile to camera.

Covid heartbreak

The handsome actor recently admitted that he had a "hard time" during lockdown after his father was hospitalized for two months with Covid-19.

In an episode of Secrets of the Square with Stacey Dooley, the 28-year-old actor shared his family's heartbreak, telling fans: "On my father and my loved ones. And the entire country is experiencing this."

Tony admitted that lockdown had been difficult for him.

He explained: "It's been a bit of a strange time for me, my dad was hospitalised with the coronavirus.

"Two months in hospital, three different hospitals – it was just a hard, hard time.

When host Stacey enquired about his father's condition, tony revealed: "He is, he's finally home so I'm very, very, very delighted – and a bit overwhelmed."

The actor had previously revealed his dad’s battle with Covid-19 back in May when he tweeted: ‘After 4 weeks on a ventilator in intensive care, a tracheostomy & a 9 week stay in 3 different hospitals, today my Dad is finally home!!

‘THANK YOU NHS!!! You are true angels & I love you all. So much love to anyone going through this right now. There is hope x’

Three-hour long kissing scenes

Since Tony’s character Callum shared his first secret kiss in the moonlight with Ben, fans of the BBC One series went crazy for the couple, even giving them their own special nickname – Ballum.

And actor Tony Clay admitted that despite how romantic that kiss appeared on TV, it actually presented some logistical challenges, with some requiring three-hour filming slots.

"We've got serious stubble coming on and obviously when you've sort of got to film stuff for late nights until half 11/12 in a park, it's really cold," said Tony back in 2019.

"There is obviously a limit to how much Carmex you can use. You consequently develop a little beard rash."

Many were taken aback when the affable Callum hooked up with would-be gangster Ben, but admirers quickly warmed up to the concept.

EastEnders boss Kate Oates revealed the pair spent three hours kissing to get the perfect take.

"They earned that money that night," said Kate.

"We were so excited about seeing that kiss being shot, we’d been story-lining it for ages.

"I think you guys started kissing at about half past seven and at about half past 10 they were still going at it, like the pros that they are!

"Each take just felt so real and so engaging."

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