The former lovebirds are so close that when she split with her boyfriend Ben Hollington, he cried.
The actress, who is returning to Albert Square for the first time in seven years, called it a day with Ibiza nightclub owner Tony in 2007.
But their daughter Kiki has always come first, so mum and dad remained great friends.
So much so that he is just a few steps away if they need him.
Speaking on Yahoo UK’ s White Wine Question Time podcast, she said: “My ex partner Ben, who I was with for five or six years, who’s an amazing human being, you know, we woke up on Christmas Day together, all of us.
“Tony would come down, we’d all get into bed and open the presents together with Kiki, cos she adores Ben, and I think it can be problematic.
“I think he probably has more issues with that sort of thing than I do. I’ve been single for four years, so that’s the longest I’ve ever been single.
“Then I was with Ben before that for five or six years, who was just really accepting. Tony absolutely adored him, we all went on holiday together.
“Tony cried when me and Ben broke up. He actually cried.”
The dynamic just works says the star, who plays fiery Janine Butcher in the BBC soap.
“We are going to grow old together, just in a very different way. He is absolutely my family and nothing will ever change that,” she added.
“But whatever happens, no matter how much we fall out, which we have done, big time, it’s not always plain sailing, but 80 per cent of the time it is and he’s a good man and he’s looked after us.
“He’s a character, I love him to bits, he can be an a******e sometimes, but nobody’s perfect are they?”
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Last seen in 2014, rumours are circulating that she could be plotting to take over the Vic.
A show source said: “She certainly has a lot of history in Albert Square so whether she will be welcomed back with open arms or not remains to be seen.
“One thing the viewers can be sure about is that it’s bound to be explosive. Where Janine goes, drama is never far behind.”