|Portrayed by|| Madeline Duggan (2006–10)|
Jacqueline Jossa (2010–2018)
|Introduced by||Kate Harwood (2006)|
|First Appearance||3rd July 2006|
|Last Appearance||16th February 2018|
|Cause/Reason||Left after the funeral of her sister Abi.|
|Date of Birth||30 March 1994|
Lauren Branning has always been the favourite child unlike her younger sister Abi Branning. Lauren is not shy and is always up for a fight. She is the daughter of Tanya Cross and Max Branning. Vulnerable and sexy, Lauren could have had any man she wanted; however, her first love was Peter Beale.
She was (born 30th March 1994) is a fictional character from the BBC soap EastEnders. She first appeared on 3 July 2006 and departed in 2010 played by Madeline Duggan and returned a few months later as played by Jacqueline Jossa. Her storylines have included alcoholism, supporting her mother Tanya Branning through cervical cancer, her friendships with Lucy Beale and Whitney Dean, an incestuous relationship with her cousin Joey Branning, and an affair with married alcoholic Jake Stone.
In 2007, Lauren uncovers an affair between her father and half-brother Bradley 's fiancée, Stacey Slater after accidentally filming them kissing on her video camera. Lauren burns the footage onto a DVD, which is played on Christmas Day, exposing Max and Stacey's affair to the Branning's, and resulting in the breakdown of Lauren's parents' marriage.
Initially romantically involved with Peter Beale, her best friend Lucy Beale's twin brother, Max disapproves of their relationship, and after ordering Peter to end the romance, throttles him after he retaliates when they have a secret meeting in the café. Shortly after, Max is left in a coma following a planned hit-and-run.
It is ultimately revealed that Lauren is the culprit, but Tanya confesses to the crime, and is imprisoned, pleading guilty to attempted murder. This distresses Lauren, who reveals her intentions to spare her mother facing a jail sentence. Lauren is later found guilty of GBH with intent, and is sentenced to two years under supervision.
In 2008, Lauren finds herself being groomed by paedophile Tony King, stepfather to her best friend, Whitney Dean, with whom he is having a sexual relationship. When Tony's paedophilia is revealed, Lauren is shocked after learning that she was about to become Tony's next victim.
Lauren dumps Peter after he lies to his friends, claiming that he and Lauren had a sexual experience in the allotments. However, the couple plan a reunion and Lauren tells him she is ready to have sex, but Max bans Peter from seeing Lauren, uncovering their main intentions. Lauren later moves away from Walford when her father gets into debt, leading to the family's possessions being taken by bailiffs. She returns to Walford briefly at Christmas and breaks up with Peter again before seeing him kissing Zsa Zsa Carter, resulting in a catfight between her, Zsa Zsa and Whitney. She later attends Bradley's funeral after he falls from the roof of The Queen Victoria public house after he attempts to flee Walford when the police accuse him of murdering Archie Mitchell.
Lauren also celebrates her sixteenth birthday at a party in R&R nightclub, where her uncle Jack (After attending Abi 's birthday dinner, Lauren informs her father that she is leaving Walford to spend the summer at a summer camp in the United States, departing Walford in June.
Lauren (now played by Jacqueline Jossa) returns from America earlier than expected, after being expelled from school for smoking cannabis. She reveals that she has gained a new boyfriend, Edward Brooks, but he ends their relationship as a result of the long-distance.
Lauren attends her cousin Billie's birthday party and as a present, she gives him alcohol which he quickly drinks; he is found dead of alcohol poisoning on the settee the following morning. Billie's's mother, Carol later attacks Lauren, stating that she encouraged Billie to get more and more drunk.
Lauren later believes that her father was responsible for Archie's murder, after he tells her that Bradley wasn't the culprit and she notes his violent tendencies when he angrily confronts Jay Brown after he makes crude sexual remarks to Lauren after she rejects his attempts at propositioning her.
Lauren confronts her father, who tells her that he is not the killer but knows who is; after witnessing her father and Stacey together, Lauren realises that Stacey is the killer, and tricks a confession out of her, which she tapes on her mobile phone.
Lauren threatens to go the police, but she agrees to keep quiet after discovering that Archie raped Stacey. However, on Christmas Day, Lauren hands Janine Butcher the recording, leading to Stacey fleeing Walford after Janine exposes her as the killer.
Lauren develops a crush on Whitney 's half-brother Ryan Malloy and he later succumbs, having sex with Lauren. The pair begin an affair. However, the relationship is almost terminated when Tanya uncovers the romance. Her relationship with Ryan later ends when he flees Walford after killing Rob Grayson, who had been sexually exploiting Whitney for financial gain.
Upon discovering Max and Tanya are having an affair, despite Tanya re-marrying Greg Jessop, Lauren threatens to kill Max unless the affair ends, but it secretly continues. The affair is soon exposed, causing Max to leave Walford.
Lauren is angered by her mother's actions originally, but is devastated that Tanya has been diagnosed with womb cancer. Lauren promises to support Tanya, but she struggles to cope with her mother's illness. She starts consuming alcohol to excess and almost ends Darren Miller and Jodie Gold's engagement by having sex with Darren.
Afterwards, Lauren experiences having a casual relationship with Tyler Moon, who dumps him after realizing Whitney is still in love with him. Max later returns to Walford, and when Lauren uncovers that Tanya has stopped her treatment, begs Max to stay, eventually revealing her illness to him, prompting Max to remain in Walford.
Lauren's rebellion continues and after she becomes intoxicated at Pat Evans's funeral, she is berated by her parents and given a private consultation with a GP.
Lauren withdraws from school, and is employed by her father at the car lot. She resumes consuming alcohol and attempts to conceal this from her parents. Her drinking is so heavy that Lucy tells her to return home but Lauren ignores her and insists that she is fine. Lucy loses her and she is found passed out in the street.
Lauren tells her parents her drink was spiked before stating she is mature enough to make decisions. She then decides to move out. On her 18th birthday, a drunken Lauren belatedly arrives at a family party, organised by Tanya.
After being sick, Lauren admits to her parents that she is uncontrollable and promises not to drink excessively anymore. She later moves back home after not being able to cope with laziness of her housemates. Lauren and Lucy go on a night out where a drunken Lauren kisses a stranger, Dan, who drags her into his car.
After Lucy manages to drag her out of the car, the pair argue and Lauren storms off. Lucy finds her unconscious and takes her to hospital, however, they become separated again when Lauren discharges herself from hospital.
Lauren returns home to find that Lucy has already confessed everything to Max, Tanya and Ian. Angry, Lauren argues with her family and leaves, meeting up with Dan. After she rejects his advances, Lauren goes to Lucy's home and Lucy tells her that she does not want anything more to do with her.
Lauren meets her estranged cousin Joey Branning and becomes attracted to him. Her friendship with Lucy rekindles after Lucy's father disappears and Lauren helps to find him. Joey and Lucy have a relationship but Lauren discovers that Joey kissed Whitney, and urges her to tell Lucy. Lucy breaks up with him and the three girls take revenge by handcuffing him to playground equipment.
Lauren decides to free him so he does not lose his job and he tells her she is jealous that she did not get a kiss, so she slaps him. Joey is working at R&R when he sees Lauren flirting with a group of men, causing him to throw them out and take Lauren home. Lauren shares a kiss with Joey, but he rejects her.
The following day, Joey explains that because of her intoxication, he rejected her and they kiss again. Lauren realizes she cannot be with her cousin, so she resists. Eventually, sexual tension mounts between them and they start a secret relationship.
Joey's father, Derek Branning sees Joey and Lauren kissing through the window of the car lot office. Derek later threatens Lauren and she pleas with Joey to leave Walford with her. As they drive away into Derek's car, a drunk Lauren loses control of the car and crashes into a shop.
Derek helps rescue them from the burning building and forces Joey to take the blame for the crash. At the hospital, Lauren reveals her relationship with Joey to Tanya and Derek blackmails Joey into ending his relationship with her.
Heartbroken and distraught, Lauren continues consuming alcohol. Tayna later comes to realize that Joey is still in love with Lauren. She later drunkenly reveals her relationship with Joey to the rest of her family. Joey leaves Walford after Derek dies, but returns and reunites with Lauren where Lucy witnesses them kissing.
When trying to justify her relationship, Lauren is shocked when Lucy calls her selfish and undeserving of Joey's love, so Lauren considers telling the police the truth about the car crash until Joey convinces her not to tell.
Lauren and Joey's relationship is publicly revealed, though people start to accept it. Lauren discovers that Tanya has lied about missing a hospital appointment. As Tanya refuses to talk, Lauren starts drinking again with Max Branning's secret wife, Kirsty Branning, upsetting Tanya.
Lauren discovers that Kirsty is pregnant although she is unaware that Kirsty is lying. At a party, Lucy spikes Lauren's drink with alcohol. Lauren gets drunk and reveals that Kirsty is pregnant. She falls out with Joey, who breaks with up with her over her drunken behavior.
She applies for a job as a waitress with Whitney at Ian Beale's new restaurant where Lucy calls Joey to be Lauren's test customer to ensure that Lauren will fail the task. Whitney gets the job, but she purposely withdraws so that Lauren can get the job instead. Lauren tries to make Joey jealous by kissing Tyler (who is now engaged to Whitney), but it fails and Whitney ends their friendship & Lucy offers the job back to Whitney.
Lauren's drinking problem gets worse, though she believes she is not dependent on alcohol & tricks her step-grandmother Dot Branning into giving her money which she uses to buy alcohol. Tanya is angry when she discovers this. Lauren then steals £20 from Cora Cross's purse to buy more alcohol and when Tanya discovers this, she compares Lauren to her aunt Rainie Cross.
Disgusted, Lauren attempts to buy more alcohol, but Kirsty refuses to serve her, following Tanya's wishes. Lauren walks outside and confides in Joey, but Lucy sees this and starts to intimidate Lauren causing her to violently punch Lucy in the face & smash the cafe window.
Lauren is later arrested, but Lucy decides not to press charges against her. Ian gives Lauren her waitressing job back, but on the opening night of the restaurant, Lauren gets drunk & spills a drink on one of the guests, so she is sacked again.
When Tanya and Max discover a lot of bottles in Lauren's bedroom, Tanya decides to keep Lauren locked in the house. She believes that Lauren is showing no signs of withdrawal, but Lauren reveals that she has been drinking vodka from a water bottle, so Tanya realizes that Lauren is addicted to alcohol.
Tanya keeps Lauren locked in her room where her withdrawal leads her to escape through the window. Lauren tells her parents that nobody can stop her from drinking if she wants to. The next day, Tanya tells Lauren to leave after she destroys Abi's revision notes and she stays with Max & Kirsty.
Tanya asks a recently returned Peter to spend time with Lauren, but their date is sabotaged by Lucy, so Lauren gets drunk again & leaves with a group of strangers. When she returns the following morning, Lauren's skin and eyes are yellow and she collapses in pain, so she is taken to the hospital where she is diagnosed with alcoholic hepatitis and is warned that she could die if she consumes any more alcohol.
Lauren returns home and sees Joey outside, so she tries to find him. She confronts Lucy over her relationship with Joey, but Lucy refuses to give her a straightforward answer, so Lauren concludes that they're together and she tries to get another drink, but she is refused service.
Tanya takes Lauren home where she admits that she cannot cope with her parents arguing all the time. Ultimately, Tanya blames herself for Lauren's plight & takes her to a clinic to get her help & get her away from her problems in Walford.
Lauren (now a recovering alcoholic) returns to Walford and dislikes how people treat her until Abi reminds her of all the hurt she caused. She reconciles with Lucy, Whitney and Joey. On a night out with the girls, Lauren is heartbroken to discover that Joey slept with Whitney while she was away.
Lauren leaves and takes a drink with her. She puts some in her mouth, but spits it out. She attends counselling and meets Jake Stone. She notices that he is married, but then learns that he has separated from his wife.
Lauren falls in love with Jake, but finds out that he has lied to her as he is still married to Sadie Young. They split up, but then resume their affair. Max catches them on and orders Lauren to end the relationship.
Later that day, Joey asks Lauren to leave Walford with him, but she decides to stay and resumes her affair with Jake. They are eventually discovered by Bella Young who walks in on Lauren getting dressed. Understanding how Bella feels, Lauren ends the affair.
When Sadie learns of this, Lauren attempts to apologise to Sadie, however she learns that Sadie has left Walford with Bella & fails to persuade Jake not to relapse on alcohol. He then angrily throws a bottle of wine at Lauren which causes an injury to her face; however, she forgives him before he leaves Walford.
Lauren is stunned to come face to face with Stacey in the Queen Victoria public house, Stacey tells Lauren she will leave, however they meet again at Dot's house. Cora decides to report Stacey to the police, but Lauren stops her and later makes amends with Stacey as they talk about Bradley.
Lauren overhears Max and Stacey talking about a recent kiss they had and is agitated. She confronts Stacey and asks her to stay away from her father and overlooks what she heard when Stacey reveals she is waiting for the police to arrest her for the murder of Archie because she wants to clear Bradley's name. She later avoids Jake when he returns to Walford as he has returned to his alcoholism and is staying on Ian Beale's sofa.
Lucy asks Lauren to go into business with her. Initially reluctant, Lauren later agrees and they set up "LB Lettings". Lauren becomes suspicious that Lucy is in a sexual relationship with Jake when he sets up the website for their business and Lucy later begins arranging secret meetings with someone. Lucy manages to soothe her anxieties, but she is really seeing Max.
Soon after, Lucy is found dead and Lauren is devastated. She leans on Peter for support in her grief and is tempted to return to drinking until Cora talks her out of it. Determined to overcome her grief, Lauren starts up the business again and discovers an email from someone wanting to meet her on the night Lucy died.
Believing that Lucy went instead of her, Lauren reports this to the police, but is not taken seriously, so she arranges to meet them herself. She is shocked when the person is revealed to be Jake and he chases her through Walford to try & stop her from going to the police. However, she does anyway and he is arrested although Lauren is clearly doubtful over whether he really did kill Lucy.
When Peter falls out with his girlfriend Lola Pearce, Lauren comforts him and they share a passionate kiss. However, Peter feels bad for cheating on Lola and leaves, although it is evident that Lauren still has feelings for him. Jake is eventually released when evidence clears him of all involvement, and makes his peace with Lauren before leaving Walford.
Lauren starts a relationship with Dean Wicks (Matt Di Angelo) after having sex with him, but is shocked when Peter breaks up with Lola and tells Lauren he loves her after kissing her again. Lauren tells him that she still wants to be with Dean, and Peter vows that he will wait for her.
When Peter is about to leave to visit New Zealand, Lauren ends her relationship with Dean and tells Peter she loves him. She and Peter later begin to get paranoid when they are followed.
When they get a car registration number, DS Summerhayes finds that it is a police car signed out to DS Cameron Bryant, but she tells everyone that the registration number belongs to a reporter.
On Halloween night, she encounters a mysterious person in a Halloween mask who begins to follow her throughout the evening. This is later revealed to be Abi. Peter asks Lauren to marry him. Lauren accepts, however, after finding out that Peter was selling drugs to Lucy, she tells him that she cannot marry him.
On New Year's Day 2015, Max's girlfriend, Emma Summerhayes is killed in a car accident after meeting someone who she thinks killed Lucy. Although Max tears up Emma's case notes, Lauren finds most of the pages and puts them together, suspicious on who killed Lucy. She asks Peter to marry her and he accepts.
However, after finding a previously torn off piece of a page from Emma's case files and trying to use Emma's phone, Lauren starts to doubt that she should marry Peter and drinks most of a half-bottle of whiskey in Max's office.
When Lauren nearly faints, Stacey buys her a pregnancy test and discovers that Lauren is pregnant. Stacey confronts her on the pregnancy, but Lauren that reveals that she knows who killed Lucy, but refuses to divulge the identity with the police.
When Stacey calls the police on her, she is upset at her inability to keep a secret, but hands in most of Emma's case files, while keeping the torn-off piece for herself. She writes a card addressed to Jane, saying that Lucy was killed at home, and abruptly leaves home to book an abortion. However, during the consultation meeting, Peter interrupts her and offers to support her through all her issues.
Lauren says she is confused and that she knows what happened to Lucy, leading him to discover the truth about the murder at home. When Peter decides to move to New Zealand, he asks her to accompany him.
Lauren initially rejects this offer in order to move to Devon with Tanya, but after he confesses to her about learning that his brother Bobby Beale (Eliot Carrington) is Lucy's killer at Lucy's grave, she changes her mind and decides to go to New Zealand after all.
They dispose of Emma's remaining evidence and SIM card deciding not to tell the police about Bobby being Lucy's killer. She then says goodbye to Max and Abi and leaves the Square with Peter, taking an outfit for their unborn child with them.
A heavily pregnant Lauren returns for Max's murder trial saying she knows who killed Lucy. As she threatens to tell everyone about Bobby, her waters break & later gives birth to a baby boy who she names Louie Beale (in honour of Peter's deceased great-grandmother Lou Beale). Lauren convinces Abi to stop Max from going to prison as she believes that he did not kill Lucy.
Lauren tells Bobby's adoptive mother, Jane Beale that she is going to tell the truth, but Max is found guilty thanks to Phil bribing the jury foreman. Max receives a sentence of twenty one years imprisonment.
Max discovers Lauren knew that he was innocent and disowns her. Lauren makes a statement to the Police claiming that Bobby killed Lucy, however they do not believe her and she returns to New Zealand with Louie, vowing to come back to Walford one day and clear Max's name.
In May 2016, Bobby puts Jane in a coma and confesses to killing Lucy, so Ian's mother Kathy Sullivan telephones Lauren and then tells Ian that she and Peter are returning. However, when Lauren gets back with Louie, Ian is surprised to see her with his stepson Steven Beale instead of Peter.
Lauren tries to reconcile with an angry Abi, who is furious with Lauren for not telling her that she knew Bobby killed Lucy. Lauren and Steven try to make Ian understand their relationship and why Peter has not returned.
When Max is due to have a court hearing following Bobby's confession, Lauren and Abi write him a letter saying they will wait for him in the pub, asking Stacey to deliver it.
Stacey returns, saying she missed the hearing but passed the letter to his solicitor. Max is released, but does not meet Lauren, so she goes home. The letter is then returned through her letterbox and she runs outside to see Max leaving in a taxi.
Lauren helps Abi gets her job back at The Queen Victoria and they celebrate with Whitney. Whitney then tells Abi that she should thank Lauren for getting her the job back and Abi isn't very happy that her sister had to ask to get her a job. Abi then becomes really drunk and Lauren catches her flirting with Whitney's boyfriend Lee so imedietally grabs Abi. Lauren then tries to talk to Abi but she is clearly to drunk so Lauren grabs the wine glass out of Abi's hand and tells Whitney that she is taking Abi home. When Abi tells Lauren she can't tell her what to do, Lauren tells Abi to go and throw herself at Lee and that will give her another reason to mess up her job before its even started. Abi doesn't say anything and Lauren tells her to move because there going home. When they arrive home, Abi then falls in the door and she smashes their grandma Dot Branning's house phone. Lauren then helps Abi take her clothes off and Abi trips on the coffee table. Lauren then tells her that Lee loves Whitney and would never go anywhere near her and Abi drunkenly confesses to Lauren that she slept with Lee by saying "Well he already did, me and Lee had sex, so maybe they aint a perfect coupe after all". Lauren urges Abi to confess to Whitney as Abi gave Lee chlamydia which he gave to Whitney as Abi's boyfriend Ben Mitchell cheated on her numerous times and he gave it to Abi. But Abi doesn't want to tell Whitney and asked tells Lauren that shes her big sister and who she would choose over her or Whitney- Lauren obviesally chooses Abi. Babe Smith emotionally blackmails Abi, forcing her to resign.That same day, Lauren helps Whitney do a pregnancy test, which is positive.
In November 2017, Ben Mitchell finds a business card in Luke Wilmott-Brown (his boyfriend)'s wallet with the words "Project Dagmar" inked in. Ben knows that Dagmar is the bar in which Luke's dad, James, raped Ben's mother Kathy Beale in. After questioning him, Luke throws him up against a car and throttles him.
A few days later, Jay Brown lets slip to Lauren Branning that Luke throttled Ben. Lauren, who works at Weyland&Co (the company which Luke works at and James Wilmott-Brown owns) asks her boss Josh Hemmings (Luke's half-brother, however she doesn't know this) what Project Dagmar is. He says he doesn't know. Upon asking Luke, he is also throttled by him, and would have killed him if Sophie hadn't intervened.
All the while, Lauren is snooping round Luke's office trying to find evidence of Project Dagmar. She doesn't find anything on the tablet originally, however after searching "Kathy Beale" a host of files appear. She clicks on one and finds a keycode. She leaves the office, however later returns after realising she left her mug with her name on it. She notices the keypad on the meeting room door and looks at her slip of paper on which she wrote the keycode she found on the tablet. She tries it, and it opens. She looks at a plastic sign on a table which says "PROJECT DAGMAR - Scale 1:50." She removes the polystyrene cover over the table and it reveals a plan showing a greyed out Albert Square, with brilliant white tower blocks standing throughout.
During the fallout of the Willmott-Brown reveal, Luke asks if he can talk to Lauren in private. He asks her if she can serve the eviction notice to Kathy, and says he will fire her if she does not. She appears to accept, but she returns and throws the papers in his face. Luke gives Josh a contract termination letter to give to Lauren.
Josh later visits Lauren, and hands her the second copy of the contract which entitles Max to 15% of everything earned from the Weyland&Co development. Abi catches up with Lauren and asks her whats going on, and Lauren tells her and says she is going round to talk to Max about it. Abi says she will come, but Lauren says no. Abi snaps, and says she isn't going to let Lauren shut her out this time. They go to Max's house, and demand the truth. He gives it to them, and they are horrified. Lauren shows him the contract Josh gave her, and holds a lighter near it. Max tells her it is worth a lot of money, and she says she doesn't care, as long as he tells her the truth. Max tells her he did, and then Abi runs over to him and tells Lauren to back off. Lauren tells Jack and Max about Abi's baby, to her horror. However, Max already knows, and Abi and Lauren are annoyed. Max won't tell them why, so Lauren threatens to burn the contract. He doesn't tell them the truth. Lauren asks why he did it, and he says it was for the money, but Lauren thinks there is more to it. She throws the contract at him, and she shouts. He rips the paper up and says it was for revenge. Lauren is shocked. Stacey comes over, and Lauren shouts at her until she leaves, followed by Lauren and Abi.
In December of the same year, Max tries to strangle Ian with Christmas lights as Lauren walks in.
On Christmas Day, Max goes round each of his daughters houses with a present. Abi rejects him, but takes the present anyway, whilst Lauren tells him she thinks he needs professional help.
Later in the day, Tanya Cross returns and visits Ian. Tanya is shocked to discover that Abi is sharing Christmas dinner with Max. She accidentally lets slip that Lauren is planning to move to Glasgow, which Lauren backtracks on. Tanya tells Lauren that if she doesn't go to Glasgow she has to come back to Exeter with her. Tanya forces Lauren to pack a bag, to Ian and Kathy's dismay. Tanya then leaves to go and get Abi.
Abi goes to tell Lauren, Ian and Kathy that Max killed Steven. Ian runs out and tries to kill Max - the Brannings have to stop him.
Max goes up to the roof of the Queen Victoria and teeters on the edge. Lauren, Tanya, Stacey and Abi spot him and Lauren and Abi climb to the edge, hoping to talk him down. They manage to, but as they all climb back over, Lauren slips and Abi tried to grab her but fell off aswell. They fall to the ground, to Tanya, Max and Stacey's shock.
Lauren comes round in the hospital. The nurse says she has sustained a "complex fracture which is compressing a nerve in your leg" and explains that they need to operate today. Lauren nods and asks how Abi is. The nurse says she is in good hands. Lauren asks about Abi's baby.
At the end of the episode, Lauren is seen being operated on.
The next episode, Ian Beale takes Lauren's Son Louie Beale To see her after her operation Went successfully,
Abi branning is brain stem dead and has given birth to a baby girl weeks earlier and Abi may not survive but max can’t accept the fact that she might not make it
After Abi’s funeral, Lauren is supposed to leave Walford with Josh Hemmings but she decides to ditch him at the last minute and leaves with Louis.
On the 10th September 2017, it was revealed the new executive consultant John Yorke had axed Jacqueline Jossa and Lorna Fitzgerald, who play Lauren and Abi Branning respectively. The full details of how Lauren will go are still under wraps, however it has been confirmed that after the sister's dramatic fall from the Queen Victoria roof on Christmas Day that at least one of them will be killed off. A BBC spokesperson said of their departures: "We can confirm that Jacqueline and Lorna will be leaving EastEnders. They have both been wonderful to work with and we wish them all the best for the future.".