Coronation Street actor Michael Le Vell has been arrested on suspicion of sexually abusing a schoolgirl.
Police swooped on the actor’s £750,000 home in Hale, Greater Manchester, where the 46-year-old lives with his wife – childhood sweetheart Janette Beverley – and their two children.
A teenage girl claims she is “going through hell”.
Le Vell made a statement saying: “I strenuously deny these allegations and will do everything in my power to prove my innocence.”
He was questioned for eight hours before he was released on bail until next month.
Reports say Le Vell, who has played mechanic Kevin Webster in Coronation Street for 28 years – has gone into hiding while he plans his defence with his legal team.
An ITV spokeswoman said: “We are aware an allegation has been made. Given that there is a police investigation under way, it would not be appropriate to comment further at this time.”
Police said: "A 46-year-old man from Hale has been arrested on suspicion of a historic sexual offence. He has been bailed pending further inquiries."
A source said he was “hit for six” by the allegations.
The source added: “Michael's world has fallen apart. He can't believe what is happening to him and is going through a private hell.
He is renowned for being a quiet family man and does not lead a celebrity lifestyle.
He has never been caught up in any real scandals and has led a pretty low-key life throughout his many years in Corrie.
This has come right out of the blue and he doesn't know what to think. He has been involved in all sorts of scandals in the show but couldn't be more different off set. He doesn't court publicity and has always been devoted to his family.
These accusations have sent his head spinning. He is determined to carry on working and clear his name. But at the moment his mind is scrambled.”
While playing love-rat Webster in the Manchester soap, he has been involved in some shocking storylines.
But he has often taken a moral stance over his role, threatening to quit unless bosses ended his affair with Molly Dobbs.