Lisa Riley’s baby dreams are shattered after she’s told ‘IVF unlikely to work’09/12/2019
Bouncing her baby niece Everlyn on her knee, Lisa Riley is glowing with happiness. She looks every inch the proud aunt and her love for children is obvious.
The touching scene comes despite the actress and her musician fiance, Al, having their own baby dreams shattered last year when they were told IVF was unlikely to work.
But Lisa, 43, hasn’t given up hope of getting pregnant naturally.
And in the meantime her brother Liam and his wife Nat are determined Auntie Lisa will always have a special role in the lives of their children – Everlyn and her brothers, Jake and Josh.
It is that family bond which sealed the star’s decision to return north from London to reprise the role that made her famous – Emmerdale’s Mandy Dingle.
Lisa, who tonight made her long-awaited return to the soap she left 17 years ago, says: “It is amazing for me to be so close to Jake, Josh and Everlyn.
“They are my world. There hasn’t been a girl in the family since I was born and to see my brother with his daughter is amazing. I am so lucky they let me be so involved. I am the pushy aunt.
“Theirs is the family I wanted – but I can’t have. It is just not meant to be.
“But since being back at Emmerdale I have heard so many positive stories about people who tried IVF and it didn’t work, but then fell pregnant naturally.
“I wouldn’t go down the IVF route now but I will let nature take its course and, if I did fall pregnant, I would be thrilled.
“But I am not going to dwell on it. No one is going to give me bad news again.”
Her neice is named Everlyn Catherine in memory of Lisa’s beloved mum Cath, who died from cancer in 2012.
It was losing Cath that put Lisa at the biggest crossroads in her life – she was either going to sink or swim.
Reeling with grief, Lisa hit the booze hard and felt her life was spiralling out of control.
Everything in her hometown of Bury reminded her of her mum, so she fled to London in a bid to quit drinking, grieve in peace and rebuild her life.
Following a hugely successful stint on Strictly Come Dancing in 2012 – just months after her mum’s death – Lisa found a new inner strength.
Through sheer willpower, and with Al’s support, she quit the booze for good, shed 12 stone in weight and had major surgery to remove the loose, saggy skin left by her staggering weight loss.
Now a trim size 12/14 and having just celebrated four years sober, she has never been happier.
“When my mum died, red wine was a superb comfort blanket,” Lisa explains.
“It takes the pain away, it closes everything off, and you can sleep a little bit at night. It was escapism.
“I don’t think I will ever pick up a drink again. On bank holiday my family came over for a picnic and the lads had a beer.
“In the old days I would have joined them, of course, but now the thought doesn’t even enter my head.
“Now I always feel fresh and I can’t wait for that email at 9pm on a Saturday when my new Emmerdale scripts arrive.
“In the old days I wouldn’t even be in at 9pm on a Saturday.
“I probably would be out until 3am Sunday, then rough all day eating a loaf of Warburtons smothered in Lurpak to ease the hangover. That doesn’t happen any more. I am up early, ready to go for a walk, ready to work.”
She adds: “How on earth did I used to go out every night after work, drink two bottles of red wine until 11pm, then be back on set at 7am the next day and still know my lines? I have no idea.”
Al is tasked with helping Lisa learn her lines as Mandy, which is no mean feat seeing as he isn’t from the UK and had no idea who the character was.
And he has big shoes to fill, because in her first stint in Emmerdale it was Lisa’s mum who stepped in to help her prepare for big scenes in the Woolpack.
She laughs: “I always had my mum to learn my lines with and she would’ve been an amazing actress. Al does his best to help me, but bless him I think he needs to go to RADA for a week. He is crazy proud though.” Lisa’s eyes light up every time she mentions the musician who has been by her side for five years.
And while she can’t wait to marry the man of her dreams, she admits their wedding day will once again bring home just how much she misses her mum.
She says: “Every little girl dreams about their dad walking them down the aisle on their wedding day and so do I.
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