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Emmerdale's Zoe Henry invites on-screen abuser for sleepovers to learn lines

The co-stars are so committed to their storyline that they have been rehearsing in the evenings.

Emmerdale star Zoe Henry has said that she and her on-screen abuser are great mates in real life, sharing sleepovers to run through their lines.

Zoe plays Rhona Goskirk in the ITV soap and appeared in a harrowing episode on Monday where her new husband Pierce Harris, who has been abusing her for months, raped her on their wedding day.

But the actress said she and Jonathan Wrather, who plays Pierce, get on so well off screen that he comes to stay overnight with her and husband Jeff Hordley, who plays Cain Dingle in the soap, to avoid a long commute to the other side of the Pennines.

She told This Morning hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby: “He comes and has sleepovers and we have food together.”

Zoe added that Jonathan was not the only co-star she and Jeff had played hosts to overnight – the actress who played Pierce’s former wife Tess, a character who was killed in a hit-and-run after having an affair with Rhona’s then-husband Paddy, had also been a regular guest.

She said: “Hilariously, Nicola Stephenson, who played Tess, went to school with Jeff, so she used to come and have sleepovers as well.

“It’s quite good fun at our house, you know.

“Jeff’s a brilliant cook so Jonny (Wrather) and I just hang out and run lines, it gives us an opportunity to do more work.”

Zoe warned viewers that Tuesday’s episode dealing with the rape aftermath could be even more upsetting to watch.

She said: “It was harder because of how Pierce reacts – you expect an apology, but that doesn’t come.

“What does come is quite surprising, there’s no more violence, but it’s worse in a way.

“Rhona feels guilty, she’s seen signs and she’s ignored them, she’s pushed her friends away, and here she is on her own.”

Emmerdale continues on ITV at 7pm on Tuesday.