15 real-life soap world romances
Whether it's a heartwarming love story or a bitter triangle jam-packed with punch-ups and catfights, the soap world would be nothing without romance. But it's not just in front of the camera that a relationship can blossom.
With actors working in close proximity, sparks can fly and supercouples that even the scriptwriters would never have dreamed of can form. Here, we take a look at some of the soap world's real-life romances...
1. Charley Webb and Matthew Wolfenden (Debbie Dingle and David Metcalfe, Emmerdale)
Charley and Matthew first met on the set of Emmerdale in 2006 and became an item a couple of years later. They welcomed their first child Buster in 2010, but shocked fans by announcing that they were splitting in summer 2013.
The pair vowed to remain friends after breaking up, but fortunately there was an even happier ending on the cards as they reconciled the following year. They welcomed their second child, Bowie Grey, at the end of 2015 and later introduced him for the first time in an adorable family photoshoot. Charley went on maternity leave for a year but returned to our screens as Debbie in 2017.
The couple then had their third child Ace in July 2019. She has not returned to Emmerdale since.
2. Chris Chittell and Lesley Dunlop (Eric Pollard and Brenda Walker, Emmerdale)
Chris and Lesley are another happy couple who found love on the set of Emmerdale, getting together in 2008 and tying the knot in June 2016. But it seems that they initially weren't so keen about creating the same chemistry on screen.
Pollard briefly dated Brenda in 2012 after splitting from his outspoken wife Val, but Lesley later admitted: "I didn't like it when Brenda and Pollard were an item and we had to do kissing scenes in front of everybody. I'd end up thinking, 'Go away, this is private!' So I don't think I'd ever want Brenda and Pollard to get back together again – it's bad enough living with him in real life!"
The writers clearly weren't listening, as Brenda and Pollard later reunited.
3. Jeff Hordley and Zoe Henry (Cain Dingle and Rhona Goskirk, Emmerdale)
He may be slightly tamer these days, but it's hard to imagine that bad boy Cain would ever get along with no-nonsense Rhona. In real life, though, Jeff and Zoe have been dating since they were at drama college together and they tied the knot in 2003. The couple have two children, Violet and Stan, who were born in 2005 and 2008 respectively.
Jeff and Zoe rarely share scenes together in the Dales, but they do occasionally team up to work on their lines at home. Jeff revealed: "We tend to learn our lines in isolation, but if we've got big days or big scenes, then we might run them together. I do a mean Paddy Kirk!" Now, that's one impression we'd pay to see...
4. Dominic Brunt and Joanne Mitchell (Paddy Kirk and Sandra Flaherty, Emmerdale)
It's a sight that would shock Aaron Dingle if it happened in Emmerdale – his father figure and best friend Paddy Kirk all loved-up with his stepmum. But in real life, Dominic and Joanne have been married since 2003 and they have two children together.
Joanne has previously played small guest parts in Emmerdale, but her latest stints saw her take over the role of troubled Sandra.
5. Stefan Dennis and Gail Easdale (Paul Robinson and Julie Quill, Neighbours)
When Paul Robinson needed a new on-screen enemy, Neighbours bosses knew exactly who to call – his real-life wife Gail. She took on the role of Lassiters' new owner Julie Quill, whose new position of power made her Paul's bitter nemesis.
Away from the cameras, Gail met Stefan when they were performing in a play together in 1991. Her Neighbours role marked her return to acting after a break to raise their three children. "Paul is such a great character to play against – he gives you so much that it's very easy just to hate him," Gail said. "It is so different to how it is at home, thank God, which makes it so interesting and fun."
6. James Stewart and Sarah Roberts (Justin Morgan and Willow Harris, Home and Away)
As well as being an item on screen in Summer Bay, James Stewart and Sarah Roberts are all loved-up in real life too.
The couple tied the knot in Ireland in July 2019.
7. Rory Douglas Speed and Nadine Mulkerrin (Joel Dexter and Cleo McQueen, Hollyoaks)
Rory and Nadine fell in love while playing out a romance on screen in Hollyoaks for their characters Joel Dexter and Cleo McQueen.
The couple are engaged and welcomed their first child Reggie in October 2019. They welcomed their second son Dougie last month.
Sadly, it was a different story for their Hollyoaks alter-egos as on-off couple Joel and Cleo didn't end up getting their happy ending. Nadine has recently bowed out of Hollyoaks, confirming that it's a permanent exit and she won't be reprising the role once her maternity leave ends.
Cleo's exit story saw her decide to leave the village for a new job abroad, after finally accepting that her relationship with Joel had reached the end of the road.
8. Patrick O'Connor and Sophie Dillman (Dean Thompson and Ziggy Astoni, Home and Away)
Patrick and Sophie confirmed their off-screen relationship in November 2019. The pair play an on-off couple in Home and Away, but actually met before they joined the soap.
Sophie told WHO Magazine: "We knew each other at school and then we met at uni, but we didn't spend a lot of time together. Then we started working together, and Bob's your uncle!"
The pair recently showed off the newest addition to their family – a cavoodle called Winnie – during an appearance on The Morning Show in Australia,
9. Joe Duttine and Sally Carman (Tim Metcalfe and Abi Franklin, Coronation Street)
In August 2018, it was revealed that Joe and Sally had become an item in real life. Their relationship is thought to have begun in June that year.
In November 2019, Joe and Sally proudly showed off their new home to fans on Instagram and they got engaged in March 2020.
10. Mark Jordon and Laura Norton (Daz Spencer and Kerry Wyatt, Emmerdale)
Mark struck up a friendship with Laura during his first stint in Emmerdale in 2014 and they later became a couple. They later worked together again when Mark returned for a second stint as Daz Spencer, which ran between 2017 and 2019.
The couple became engaged in 2018 and welcomed their first child in February last year.
11. Max Parker and Kris Mochrie (Luke and Lee Posner, Emmerdale)
Max and Kris, who play on-screen brothers Luke and Lee Posner, also found love on the Emmerdale set and went Insta-official back in 2020.
More recently, the pair also used social media to reveal their relationship's next step, sharing glimpses of their hallway decor after moving in together. Aww!
12. Anna Passey and Kyle Pryor (Sienna Blake and Laurie Shelby, Hollyoaks)
Anna and Kyle worked together on a tough storyline in Hollyoaks, focusing on the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace.
Kyle has since left Hollyoaks, but he and Anna confirmed their real-life romance by sharing a picture of them kissing on Instagram.
13. Gregory Finnegan and Ariana Fravel (James Nightingale and DS Cohen, Hollyoaks)
Hollyoaks police detective DS Cohen is played by Ariana Fravel, who's the real-life wife of Gregory Finnegan (James Nightingale). They've already shared a handful of scenes together in the soap.
Gregory told Radio Times: "Now my wife has joined the show any change in the filming schedules is a double whammy for childcare. So it's all go, it makes things somewhat difficult but we are getting through it!
"It's lovely having her here. The first scenes she did were actually with me when James had to identify [Harry's] body.
"She has got to know the cast and is making friends – now she finally can put faces to the names I've been talking about all these years! It's good fun working with her."
14. Toby-Alexander Smith and Amy Walsh, EastEnders and Emmerdale)
Rumours started swirling that Emmerdale's Amy Walsh was loved up with Toby Alexander, aka EastEnders serial killer Gray, back in 2020. It was only when they stepped out together on the red carpet to see a West End show in December 2020 that their relationship was confirmed.
The couple confirmed they were expecting their first child together last year. They confirmed in a New Year post that they'd welcomed their adorable baby daughter, named Bonnie, over the Christmas period.
"Hope you all had a good one. HAPPY NEW YEAR from the three of us," they said at the time.
Back in February, the couple revealed how their midwife had a surprising soap connection, Toby-Alexander explaining that he met the medical professional while she worked on the set of his soap earlier in 2021.
15. Jane Danson and Robert Beck (Coronation Street and Hollyoaks)
While Leanne's love life has been anything but straight forward, it's thankfully a very different story for Jane Danson in real life.
The actress, who has been playing Leanne since 1997, has been happily married to fellow soap actor Robert Beck since 2005 and the pair have two children together.
Hollyoaks fans will know that Robert had a stint in the Chester soap as bad boy Fergus, having previously starred in Brookside and Coronation Street as well. He's not adverse to reappearing in Corrie, though – as a body double this time.
"There has been a lot of body-double kissing in the soaps during the pandemic, so I keep offering my services to Coronation Street," Robert said recently. "They're not interested, though, as I'm too bald to play Nick Tilsley! (Leanne's on-off partner, played by Ben Price).
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