Scott Maslen, who has played Jack Branning in EastEnders for six years, is to leave the BBC One soap.
"I've been offered many other roles and have just not been able to explore them in the past, simply because of time and commitments to EastEnders," he said.
"So now it feels like the time to tread a new path for a while."
Executive producer Lorraine Newman said Maslen's many dramatic storylines had shown "his fabulous range as an actor". He will leave the show later this year.
"There is plenty more drama to be played out before his departure," Newman said.
During his time in Albert Square, Maslen was involved in the soap's controversial baby swap storyline and won best actor at the British Soap Awards in 2010.
He was also a contestant in Strictly Come Dancing that year.