Ex-EastEnders actor Paul Nicholls’ best pal says he’s been ‘knifed in the back’ after star stole his lap dancer fiancée

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THE best pal of former EastEnders actor Paul Nicholls says the star knifed him in the back by stealing his lap dancer fiancée.

Robert Selby offered Paul, 41, a place to stay when another friend kicked him out.

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Paul Nicholls with former lap dancer Hemma Kathrecha

But the actor soon fell for Hemma Kathrecha — Robert’s girlfriend of four years and mum to his son, two — and has since moved in with them.

Robert said: “Paul’s a back-stabber. I wish I’d never met him. I can’t get to see my son. He’s scared about Hemma coming back to me because he has nowhere else to go.”

Recovering heroin addict Robert met Paul at a Narcotics Anonymous meeting two years ago.

But their friendship soured after he offered Paul — Enders’ teen heartthrob Joe Wicks in the mid-1990s — a bed in North London.

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Robert Selby, pictured with Hemma, offered Paul, 41, a place to stay when another friend kicked him out

Robert, 35, said: “Paul had been sleeping on my mate’s sofa. He kept begging me to score drugs.

“We were both using heroin and crack cocaine but I’m clean now.

“My mate threw Paul out so he pleaded to stay at mine as he said he was having a house renovated in the West End, which was all a lie. I now know he doesn’t own a house.

“He moved into our council house last year. Hemma and I were rowing so I left for a few days to clear my head. I thought we’d get through it, then he got together with Hemma.

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Camera Press

Paul played Enders’ teen heartthrob Joe Wicks in the mid-1990s

“I heard they were a couple through friends, then she told me.”

In 2017, Paul was trapped at the bottom of a waterfall for three days after a 20ft fall in Thailand.

He has said he fell after being set upon wild dogs, contrary to reports he had been taking a selfie.

When he moved in with Robert and ex-Spearmint Rhino dancer Hemma, 29, the couple were sympathetic to his ordeal.

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Paul was pictured in The Sun on Sunday smoking a crack pipe in 2015

Paul told them how he had plunged into a pool after breaking a leg and ripping off his kneecap.

Robert said the star was always talking about the accident, adding: “It’s so hurtful as I was bigging up Paul to Hemma, saying he was a friend and needed our help. I was worried about him.”

In the 1990s, Paul dated his EastEnders co-stars Martine McCutcheon and Danniella Westbrook, and battled booze and drug problems.

He went on to appear in films including Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. In 2015, after splitting from his model wife Chantal, Paul was pictured in The Sun on Sunday smoking a crack pipe.

In a 2008 interview to promote ITV show Harley Street, he admitted: “I was well on my way to a total breakdown. I was drinking a lot and taking drugs. I had lost control.”

AP:Associated Press

Paul in hospital after he was trapped at the bottom of a waterfall for three days in Thailand in 2017

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Robert is worried Paul is still unstable after the Thailand accident.

He added: “I’m worried he might still be using drugs. You just have to look at him to tell — and Hemma calls me worried about him.

“I think Hemma thought he might have been a ticket to the red carpet, but he’s just ruined my life.”

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Paul playing Joe Wicks, with screen dad David Wicks, played by Michael French

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Paul and Hemma
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