Celebrities

Emmerdale’s Anna Nightingale pregnant with her second child: Its divine timing

It's clear for all to see that Emmerdale star Anna Nightingale is blooming as she announces her second pregnancy to OK! in style with a beautiful countryside photoshoot with her daughter Autumn.

The actress is buzzing with excitement about what the next few months will bring, and chats candidly about her fiance Daren's comical reaction to the news, and how she was very worried her daughter Autumn would spill the beans before she was ready. Also she reveals how she told Autumn that she was going to be a sister. It's frankly, adorable.

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When Emmerdale star Anna Nightingale joins us for our exclusive photoshoot she’s beaming from ear to ear. But she also lets out a huge sigh of relief because she’s been hiding a secret for months – from four-year-old daughter Autumn as well as fans of the ITV soap.

The 30-year-old, who plays feisty Andrea Tate, is thrilled to be expecting her second child with fiancé Daren Dixon. And now she can finally shout their happy news from the rooftops after keeping it under wraps while she passed all the health milestones in her pregnancy.

Anna admits it’s been hard work – and Autumn was a big risk factor as she has a habit of blurting things out to anyone who will listen!

“Autumn’s very vocal and loves to talk to everyone, so we had to be calculated about when we told her,” laughs Anna.

“We knew she’d do something like be in our local corner shop and say, ‘I’ll have this ice lolly please, and mummy’s having a baby.’ That’s the type of conversation she has. It’s been a bit surreal, a case of wearing lots of hats and avoiding people.

“People going, ‘Are you that girl off Emmerdale?’ and me going, ‘Erm, no, people just say I look like her!’ It’s lovely to finally be talking about it, we’re all very excited!”

So with the cat out of the bag, Anna tells OK! about how the news that she was expecting was a welcome surprise amid the pandemic, how she’s hiding her growing bump on set and her footie team rivalry with Daren…

Congratulations, Anna. How are you feeling?

After everything we’ve been through over the past year with the pandemic, it just sort of feels like divine timing to be pregnant. I’m honestly just super grateful and it feels like the best time for us as a family.

You must be excited to be having another baby?

Yes! My daughter’s called Autumn so everyone’s like, “When are you having Summer and Winter?”

It’s always been a conversation; it’s always something we, as a family, have wanted. We were kind of like, “If it happens, it happens, if it doesn’t, it doesn’t.” Daren’s very laid-back but his face did drop.

It hadn’t been a conversation for a little while, in terms of dates and stuff. To be honest, it was a bit of a surprise to me as well until I actually did that test, and even when I did it, I was like, “Oh, OK.” And then I did another one!

How did you break the news to Autumn?

I made her a movie trailer! It was like, “Once upon a time, there was a little girl and she lived with her mummy and daddy. And then, one day, somebody wanted to introduce themselves.”

So, I put a little scan video in and I could see the cogs turning in her mind and it dawned on her. Her reaction was, “Oh my gosh, I don’t believe it.” And then she went, “We need to go shopping!”

Do you know if you’re having a boy or a girl?

We don’t yet, no. You always try to guess, don’t you, when you have the scans? Honestly, I wouldn’t mind either way. Autumn changes her mind daily as to what she wants.

From a practical and environmental point of view, another little girl would be lovely as we have all the right stuff. But we honestly just want a healthy baby.

Have you been having any weird cravings?

Just little things, like I wake up in the morning and watermelon is the first thing on my mind! Literally as soon as I’ve opened my eyes, but it really seemed to help. And you know those pickles you get from the kebab shop? I could eat a jar of those!

Have you got a birth plan?

No. I had a Caesarean with Autumn because she was breech. So, it was very much a controlled situation. All the way up until then my ideal would be the same as most women, whale music and a hot tub!

This time around I’m gearing towards as natural as it possibly can be. But things can change, you’ve just got to go with it and do what’s best for you and the baby.

Is Daren a hands-on dad?

Big-time! For want of a better phrase, it’s organised chaos in our house!

Him and Autumn have a beautiful relationship. He’s got a soft and sweet side but he’s also big into football and encourages her to support the wrong team. I’m a United fan, he’s a Liverpool fan!

Do you think you and Daren will wed soon?

We’ve been together 10 years this year and we actually got engaged about seven years ago. Daren’s like, “Next year?” and I’m like, “Erm, hello, I’m the person who’s giving birth, I will decide!” When the time’s right, we’ll know.

How did all your friends and co-stars at Emmerdale react to the news?

Alex [Lincoln], who plays Jamie, did look a bit emotional when I told him. He’s like my brother as well.

He’s met Daren, he’s met Autumn. It was a really nice moment. He’s been really quite protective of me on set, making sure I’m OK.

Has it been hard hiding your bump?

Yeah, it’s not going to be part of my character’s journey, so we have to hide it. Some days you can really see it and some days you can’t. So there’s been a lot of me sitting at tables or carrying a well placed bag or clipboard!

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You’ve been in Emmerdale for a few years now, are you still loving it?

Oh my gosh, yes. I love it there! It feels like you have about 15 jobs in one because there’s so much depth and complexity with Andrea, she’s an incredible character to take on.

What’s in store for her?

Obviously I can’t give too much away but it’s safe to say fans need to watch out, there’s some explosive stuff coming up!

There’s going to be a lot of drama before I get to go off to have this little one. Watch this space, that’s all I can say!

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What’s it like working opposite a soap icon like Claire King?

You’ve basically just named the one person I absolutely adore! I did my screen test with Claire and then she sent me a message on Facebook!

I was just like, “Oh my God, Claire King sent me a Facebook message.”

Not only is she Kim Tate but all the other stuff that she’s done over the years, she’s such a badass, both on screen and off. Off screen, she’s just the best listener, she’s so caring and really lovely.

She’s a legend. We have such a giggle as well. We’re both a bit naughty by nature, I think. We have a real laugh.

What do you make of Andrea and how she’s been over the past six months?

She’s been involved in some really big stuff but I think she’s been a lot happier. She’s been empowered by the fact she got the house through the divorce settlement.

She’s got firm friends in the village, she feels like she’s relaxed and is finding her feet. I think she’s quite trusting in her nature and inevitably that’s always going to come round and bite her on the bum somehow!

What kind of reaction do you get about her from people?

It literally varies from, “I can’t stand that Andrea,” to “Oh my gosh, she’s my favourite!”

That blows me away because I’m like, “How does she resonate so strongly with one person, with feelings of such disdain, and then someone else loves her?”

I guess that’s just like Kim Tate as well, because it’s such a love-hate thing.

Do people consider her a baddie?

I think at some point she’s been a villain and at another point she’s been relatable, and people have really felt for her. I don’t think it’s as simple as to say she’s just a baddie and that’s all there is to her.

Like everyone, she has many layers depending on what’s happening.

You went to The Brit School. Was anyone famous there at that time?

Amy Winehouse was the year above me – doesn’t get much bigger than that! Actually, I definitely did some stuff with Adele, we were in the same class.

Adele, of all people. Sat reading books! We did English literature together.

What was Adele like in school?

Just as she is now, real as anything. She just says it as it is but with a heart of gold as well.

Fiercely loyal over her friends. Even when I see her in interviews now I’m just like, “She’s not changed.” I’m sure she has her moments when she has to but she just seems like the same girl from London who I did English with.

Is music still a part of your life?

I love music. I love singing. I trained in musical theatre and definitely decided early on I was not going to be a dancer, I’m just not trained enough. The level of talent with those performers is crazy.

But give me a role with acting, singing and movement any day and I’d bite your hand off. I love them.

Have you got a dream role?

Any of the roles in Chicago, basically. Any excuse to wear fishnets, stilettos and sing about homicidal tendencies! And in terms of TV, I love a gritty drama.

Anything with Maxine Peake. I’ve worked with her before, she is basically up there with the Claire Kings of the world.

They say don’t meet your heroes but fortunately between Maxine Peake and Claire King, I’ve managed to disprove
that theory!

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