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Former Casualty and Emmerdale star Chelsea Halfpenny has opened up on her relationship with fellow Emmerdale alum James Baxter, revealing that she actually first had her eye on him a long time before they got together.
Chelsea and James got engaged in June last year after three years of dating, but the couple first met as teenagers at a drama workshop – and Chelsea has told The Mirror that she instantly fell for James, despite the fact that he didn't seem to notice her.
"If you'd told those two teenagers then that they'd be getting married 16 years later they'd have thought it was mad!" she said. "I really fancied him and he did not fancy me at all! He's a year older and I thought he was really cool, but I also remember thinking – 'Well, no wonder he's not interested, because he's just so much older than me!'
"We never kept in touch because he had no interest in me at all. I just really remembered him because I liked him so much."
The pair went on to each land some high-profile acting jobs and both actors managed to secure roles on Emmerdale, with James playing chef Jake Doland between 2007 and 2009 and Chelsea taking on the role of Amy Wyatt from 2010 to 2013.
But as their time on the soap never overlapped, the couple still didn't cross paths.
"When I joined Emmerdale, a few people would speak about James, because he'd only left a year before," Chelsea said. "I knew exactly who they meant because I remembered this gorgeous boy with the spiky hair that I fancied so much. Eventually we started to follow each other on Twitter... but still our paths never crossed."
Chelsea and James finally met as adults at the 2018 National Television Awards, when Chelsea was playing Casualty registar Alicia Munroe and James was starring as Leroy in comedy Still Open All Hours. And Chelsea revealed that "the stars just sort of aligned" for their meeting.
"It was another six months before we got together and this time it was the other way round – he was chasing me!" she joked. "It was soon after we got together that I told him I'd fancied him as a kid. I don't think he believed me to start with!"
Casualty airs on Saturdays on BBC One.
Watch: Highlights from 2021
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