Casualty – Michael Stevenson and Lauren Crace's relationship history
Casualty spoilers follow.
Whether you're aware of it or not, Casualty's newest couple Iain Dean and Chrissie Danes are actually an item in real life as well as on the show.
Lauren Crace has joined the BBC medical drama as Iain's new love interest Chrissie, but off-screen, the pair have been married for seven years.
Chrissie will return to the ED tonight (January 29), keen to make amends with Iain following the events of Christmas 2020 (which, in our time, was actually only a few weeks ago).
Given we're bound to be seeing a lot more of the pair over the coming weeks, here's everything you need to know about Casualty's real-life couple:
Who is Lauren Crace aka Chrissie Danes?
Long-term EastEnders viewers will recognise Lauren from playing tragic Danielle Jones, the long-lost daughter of Ronnie Mitchell. Lauren played Danielle for six months between 2008 and 2009, before being killed off in one of the saddest twists in the show's history, thus sparking a big backlash from outraged fans.
Lauren played the role of Doris Miller in ITV's Mr Selfridge between 2013 and 2015, and has also taken on roles in Vanity Fair, Holby City and Doctors.
Lauren Crace and Michael Stevenson - wedding and children
While many of our real-life soap couples were first brought together by the show they star in, this obviously wasn't the case for Michael and Lauren. The pair met in 2010, a year after Lauren finished filming EastEnders, and they went on to get engaged in 2013. In 2012, they welcomed their first child Jack, with their twin girls Emmy and Isla joining them two years later in 2014.
A few years ago, Michael opened up about suffering from "mild PTSD" after the traumatic birth of the twins.
"I probably had mild PTSD after they were born," he told Mirror. "That was a pretty traumatic time.
"They thought they had malrotation, which can be really dangerous in the stomach. I remember phoning my dad, they hadn’t heard anything from us for a few days and were worried, and hearing his voice, it all came out and I wept."
Lauren and Michael tied the knot in 2016 in the Isle of Scilly and are often share pictures of the happy day with their followers on Instagram.
Lauren Crace and Michael Stevenson's house and married life
Fans who follow Lauren on Instagram will know that she's often sharing updates of their family life on her feed. Lauren and Michael live in Birmingham with their three children, dog Jesse, hamster, two gerbils and a grand total of approximately 10 fish (seven in their outside pond, three in a tank in son Jack's room apparently!).
Last year, Lauren also started her own podcast 'Reluctant Adults' with fellow radio host Tim Warwood, where they regularly shared the wonders and woes of parenting life.
When discussing his reasons for taking a break from Casualty in 2019, Michael explained that he wanted to spend more time at home – having endured very long days, and a long commute, for the past nine years.
"I don't know what's around the corner and I can't define what's around the corner, either," he said to Digital Spy at the time. "Nobody owes me anything – this industry has already been good to me. What will be will be – we will see. At the moment, I am very happy. I am getting jobs done around the house."
Michael Stevenson - leaving and returning to Casualty
Having joined Casualty in 2012, Michael took a well-earned hiatus from his role as Iain in 2019. Michael bowed out of the show at the end of his hardest storyline to date, which explored Iain's depression and his attempt to take his own life.
"I suppose in the moment it felt like a bit of a shotgun decision but I don't think it was – I am not somebody who does that," he said to Digital Spy at the time. "I put a lot of thought into why I wanted to leave and everything about leaving the story where it was felt right.
"We put a lot of effort into making sure it had a positive outcome and a positive end and I feel like it was right for everybody: it's right for me, it's right for the production team and the writers, it's right for the fans. It was a year's worth of really nice storytelling but I am happy to leave people with that while they are hopefully wanting more."
"Everything with the story really happened organically. I didn't initially know I was going to want to leave, but when we started talking about Iain's therapy, his recovery and the possibility of him joining the HEMS team, it just felt very natural to leave it where it was for a while – rather than trying to read too much into where Iain is now and trying to watch his day to day recovery."
True to his word, Michael returned to the show in 2021, after the initial plans for his comeback got changed due to the first lockdown in 2020.
"We had been talking about it for quite a long time before the pandemic as obviously storylines have to be planned so far in advance," he said. "I am probably coming back about six months later than I would have if the pandemic hadn't hit. That would have been about a year initially and I knew timewise that was the right amount of time to have away."
Lauren Crace and Michael Stevenson - becoming Casualty co-stars
Lauren made her first appearance as newcomer Chrissie Danes in the show's Christmas special at the end of last year. The two-part episode went back in time to Christmas 2020 to explore Iain's time in the HEMS team.
In a video shared on Casualty's Twitter account, Michael and Lauren discussed how they came to be co-stars in the first place.
"They wanted a new love interest for Iain and they racked their brains with who they could possibly cast to do that," Michael said. "So guess who they brought in? My wifey!"
Lauren also joked: "I said if they pay enough I will kiss him."
Michael then explained how having his real-life wife as his love interest made filming easier during Covid restrictions over the summer.
"With us all still filming at two-metre distances, putting us two together means they don't have to put us into bubbles because we're already in a bubble and we can get close and do, sort of, more intimate scenes," he said.
Sadly, Iain's accident stopped their romance before it even really got started, but Chrissie is back in Holby tonight – keen to make amends.
Casualty airs on Saturday nights on BBC One.
Read more Casualty spoilers on our dedicated homepage.
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