Wednesday, March 18, 2009

'I didn't realize that women went after men' -- Actor tries to recover after being found not guilty of rape

Unfinished business

Published: 12 Feb 2009

BEN Freeman last night told of his longing to return to Emmerdale — saying: “I’ve got unfinished business.”

Ben, 28, was suspended from the soap by ITV chiefs immediately after being charged with rape in Barbados two years ago.

The actor — who played mechanic Scott Windsor — was devastated when soap bosses failed to renew his contract before his case came to court.

The actor was cleared by a jury — who took just 90 minutes to find him not guilty of raping a 16-year-old British tourist.

But last night Ben said he was in talks to return to Emmerdale.

He said: “There has been talk of me going back in August. I’d love to go back. Scott’s a great character.

“Ironically, I was thinking of leaving anyway because I’d been playing the character for such a long time.

“But because I didn’t get to leave on my own terms, I’d like to go back, finish off the story properly and say goodbye to Scott like that.”

He said scriptwriters are considering merging his comeback with the return of Deena Payne (his on-screen mum Viv Hope) after her year-long sabbatical ends in August.

He said: “I miss Yorkshire and I miss Emmerdale. When I visit the set everybody is amazing.

“They’re one big family and have been incredibly supportive.” But Ben revealed to TV Biz how he had battled to rebuild his life and career after his ordeal.

He said: “It was a nightmare. It has been awful, but I want to rebuild my career. I want to be back on telly.

“I want people to say, ‘Let’s forget about that, let him get on with his work,’ because I’m pretty good.

“I was worried that nobody would want to employ me, but that has not been the case.”

He told how he had struggled to have a relationship after the false rape claim.
Ben — who had a long-term relationship with former Emmerdale beauty Amy Nuttall — has been dating actress Sophie Ladds, 32, for the past six months.

He said he no longer has the same care-free approach to life — and doesn’t enjoy flirting with women.

Ben said: “Sophie and I are happy. We’ve been together now for six months.

“It’s not that I’ve found it hard to trust women again — I’m just not interested in going out there and meeting lots of different girls. It’s made me realise how blinkered I was before with women.

“I didn’t realise that women went after men, or if I did, I didn’t see it as a problem. I’m growing older and things change.

“I want a career now and family is more important to me than ever.

“My whole outlook has changed a lot. But I’m positive about the future.”