Why did Ryan Hawley leave Emmerdale? Inside explosive exit after soap legend makes Casualty debut

Ryan Hawley stunned TV fans last week when he returned to soapland with a stint on BBC One’s Casualty. Here’s everything to know about his exit from ITV’s Emmerdale.

Ryan Hawley has returned to soapland five years after his Emmerdale exit
Holby City Hospital opened its doors for Ryan Hawley last week but why did the soap star leave Emmerdale in the first place?

The actor, 38, made his Casualty debut on Saturday, June 15, 2024, as Jamie Cleveland, an old friend of nurse Cam Mickelthwaite, in the medical drama’s latest instalment, Storm Damage.

But while he rekindled with Soapland for the first time in years, fans of the rival ITV drama have been campaigning online to bring him back to the Yorkshire Dales, particularly as his on-screen husband Aaron Dingle (played by Danny Miller) made his own comeback to the eponymous village last year.

Hawley first rocked up the eponymous village in 2014, when he was introduced as Robert Sugden, the adoptive son and brother of Sarah and Victoria Sugden (Isabel Hodgins).

Ryan Hawley appeared in Emmerdale as Aaron Dingle’s husband, Robert Sugden, from 2014 to 2019

Throughout his time in Emmerdale, Robert was involved in some of the Dales’ most dramatic storylines, which included his ill-fated relationship with Chrissie White and his budding romance with Aaron. Once Aaron and Robert were finally able to explore their connection and tie the knot during an unofficial ceremony in 2017, the pair became instant favourites among fans and were even given a name as a confirmation of their popularity on the show, “Robron.”

Sadly, their happiness was short-lived as Ryan Hawley was announced to be on his way out of the Yorkshire-based soap in June, 2019. An ITV representative spoke about the exit at the time and said the actor was simply keen to “try other projects.”

“He has decided to take a break from the show for the foreseeable future and try other projects”, the source said, before teasing: “It’s fairly standard for actors playing long-running characters to have a rest and make a comeback. And there’s a bit of a clue in the word ‘break’ there… Fingers crossed!”

In 2019, in the wake of his sister Victoria’s sexual assault, Robert supported her and his brotherly love unfortunately led him to kill Lee Posner, Vic’s attacker and the son of now-established character Wendy Posner (Susan Cookson). Robert Sugden was sentenced to 14 years in prison for his crime and was transferred to a prison on the Isle of Wight. His marriage with Aaron has since been left on the rocks while many viewers continue to plead for the lovebirds to be reunited.

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Earlier this year, fans of the long-running show were hopeful for a return when Charity Dingle (Emma Atkins) mentioned Robert during a chat with Aaron. But they may have to wait as Hawley has only just embarked on Casualty ahead of a drama-packed summer.Ryan Hawley appeared in Emmerdale as Aaron Dingle's husband, Robert Sugden, from 2014 to 2019

Since leaving Emmerdale, the soap star has added several TV credits to his name through appearances on Silent Witness, where he portrayed a character named Michael Robson in two episodes, and All Creatures Great and Small as farmer Sid Crabtree – and he has been just as busy off-screen.

Although he mostly keeps the lid on his personal life, Ryan Hawley is married to Daisy Prestes de Oliveira, with whom he shares a son, born in 2021. Speaking to the Loose Women panel in April 2024, Danny Miller revealed that, as of yet, a Robron reunion isn’t on the cards.

“For me, as an actor, Ryan coming back as Robert would be great”, Miller stated, “but I know he’s got a young family himself and he’s off doing bits and bobs himself so maybe one day we’ll be able to tempt him back. But not anything imminent.” In the meantime, fans can catch up with Ryan Hawley in Casualty this Saturday at 8.35pm on BBC One.

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