Max Bowden has played Ben Mitchell in EastEnders since 2019 and is one half of the soap’s most popular couple “Ballum”.
The 25 year old actor, who previously starred in Waterloo Road and Casualty, spent lockdown with his real-life girlfriend Danielle McCarney, who he lives with, after filming was suspended on the BBC soap due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Max’s character Ben Mitchell has been wrapped up in some dodgy criminal activity and earlier this year he was involved in a dramatic boat crash which led to further hearing loss.
His romance with boyfriend Callum ‘Halfway’ Highway, played by Tony Clay, was having a wobble as he grew suspicious of Ben and it was confirmed by the actors that their characters spent lockdown apart.
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The scheming bad boy of Walford, whose dad is none other than Phil Mitchell, chose his family to spend lockdown with over Callum, and there’s set to be some ups downs for Ballum to come….
But in Max’s life away from the soap things for the actor couldn’t be more different.
Max showed off his romantic and funny side when early on in lockdown, putting on a date night for his girlfriend as they made the most of their time stuck indoors.
Unable to head outside to a restaurant he mocked up a “wine bar” on their sofa complete with candles as well as dinner.
He joked about the slap-up meal: “5 star trip advisor review. Loved the staff, and the food was great. Onto the wine bar next.”
The couple, who have been together since meeting in July 2019, celebrated their one year anniversary by enjoying a sunny trip to Cornwall.
As well as soaking up the sunshine in a paddling pool in the back garden of their home together the pair also went on their first holiday together after lockdown.
Heading to Croatia, Max shared an artsy shot of him by a marina holding a cigar, penning in the caption: “Watches a Michael Jordan documentary once, buys a Cuban cigar.”
Max is definitely a fan of going on holiday, as pre-lockdown his Instagram is littered with fun snaps with his pals in various sunny locations.
As well as his role in Waterloo Road and starring in panto with his co-star Steve McFadden before playing son and father onscreen, Max once played Billy Elliot on stage and admitted he got badly bullied for his success.
“I think generally people that work in entertainment have been bullied at one point in their life as we are all a bit different in our own quirky ways,” he told The Diana Award’s Anti-Bullying Campaign.
“There were times in school where people would call me names like Billy Elliot in a negative light. I spoke to my family about it who were great, and helped me, it all got resolved from there. I separated myself from the people who were bringing me down. By getting involved in after school activities I was able to meet people who had similar interests to me and who liked me for me!”
Now that the BBC soap is back filming and adhering to social distancing guidelines, Max will return to screens as Ben Mitchell.
He recently appeared alongside Tony Clay in EastEnders: Secrets from the Square, where he confessed that he didn’t really like his character but understood him.
Now that Callum has become a police officer, Ben will have to more careful about what he gets up to: “I don’t like Ben. I am angry at Ben a lot of the time. I find his decisions and the choices that he makes infuriating. But I understand him. I think there’s a very very fine line between the two.”