Michelle Danielle Collins was born May 28, 1962 in Hackney, east London to a Welsh mother and English father. Collins and her older sister were brought up by their single mother. Collins had her acting training at Royal Court Activists and Cockpit Youth Theatre starting at 14 and then went to Kingsway Princeton College where she studied drama and theatre.
After her finals, she got a role in Bulgakov’s The Crimson Island at the Gate theatre. She then started a singing career after performing in the music video “Up the Junction” by Squeeze, she joined Mari Wilson and The Wilsations as a backup singer. She toured with the band for eighteen months, but when the band broke up in 1982, she went back to acting. Her first television appearance was in the BBC dram Morgan’s Boy with Gary Oldman. Her other television credits at the time were Running Wild, The Bill, Lucky Sunil and Pressures, a filmed play.
While she was filming Pressures in 1988, she was found by producer Julia Smith and was asked to audition for EastEnders for the role of Cindy, a character who was to be on for eleven episodes. She did so well as the manipulative character, she became a hit and Collins’s contract was extended and Cindy became the villain on the show. Cindy Beale became the unfaithful wife of Ian Beale from 1988 to 1998. On hiatus of the show, she filmed Real Women for the BBC. After leaving EastEnders, she was in many drama roles, like Sunburn, Daylight Robbery, The Sleeper, Uprising, to name a few. In 2003, she was in the film, The Illustrated Mum, which won her an Emmy Award and two BAFTAs.
January 2011, it was rumored that she would be joining Coronation Street and three months later, it was confirmed she would join the cast as Stella Price, the new landlady of Rovers Return pub.
Michelle Collins has a daughter with her ex-boyfriend, Fabrizio Tassalini, named Maria Rose who was born in 1996. Her pregnancy was even written into her return to EastEnders that same year. She is also in support of the Labour Party in 2010. She does a lot of charity work. She is an ambassador for Oxfam and visited Brazil, South Africa and Armenia where she promotes the need for a basic right to education. She helps fundraise for Stonewall, Smart Justice and Breakthrough Breast Cancer where she is the spokesperson to recruit 100,000 women to research the causes of breast cancer.