The 42-year-old star has told Beeb bosses he wants to pursue other projects after almost a decade on the show.
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Jake’s decision comes less than a year after he took to the ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ dancefloor.
However, Jake WILL be back and has already signed a big money deal to return to the square in a year’s time.
The dad of two told The Sun: “I’ve been at EastEnders for nine years and I feel the time is right to give Max a break.
“But it won’t be for too long as I shall be back to see Max face another chapter of drama.”
EastEnders’ bosses are remaining tight-lipped about his departure but have promised a dramatic exit.
Well, this is ‘EastEnders’ after all.
Executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins said: “Jake and I agreed that we would give both him and Max a break when the opportunity arose.
“That has now come and it is the perfect time to send Max Branning out with a bang that will send ripples through the Square for the rest of the year until Jake returns.”
It is thought Jake is keen to recharge his batteries and head to the US where he does ‘lucrative’ voiceover work.
While Max Branning might be off, one legendary character is set to return to the Square.
Following Kathy Beale’s live week surprise, ‘EastEnders’ boss Dominic Treadwell-Collins confirmed that the much-loved character - who was believed to be dead - would later be making a full return.
“It’s a big, big story with a lot of twists and turns, as you’ve come to expect from us,”he stated. “There’s Gavin, Kathy and there’s a lot of Phil involved.
"It’s going to draw in lots of different families from around the Square and it’s not going to be easy for her to come back."