Emmerdale actress Natalie Anderson and her husband James Shepherd have announced that they expecting their first child in August.
The couple, who up until now have kept the pregnancy secret, telling only told close family and friends, share their exciting news exclusively with HELLO! "We’re so happy," says Natalie, 30, who admitted they felt overwhelmed at the first scan.
"I cried and James had a tear in his eye. It was incredible to see the tiny hands and feet, the face and this little thing dancing away."
With the 20-week scan just days away, they have decided to break the suspense and find out the sex of their baby. "We want to know who we’re talking to, so we can have nice little conversations," says a delighted Natalie.
Posing for a shoot at the scenic Rudding Park Hotel close to the 19th century chapel where the couple married four years ago Natalie, who plays Emmerdale’s feisty Alicia Gallagher, admits they have been busy nest building.
"We are looking to extend the kitchen and create a new bedroom and dressing room," she tells HELLO!
"The room that will become the nursery is filled at the moment with all the things I’ve collected over the years from various jobs and with dresses and whatever else…"
"It's actually shoes she's referring to here," interrupts James.
Although four-and-a-half months pregnant Natalie, who is currently a nominee for Sexiest Female in The British Soap Awards, says that few people have noticed her bump.
"We've not been going to many functions and I've been disguising it quite a lot." She is not giving up work until the end of June so Natalie is now facing the challenge of concealing her bump on screen.
"I think there'll be a lot of standing around the bar and carrying huge handbags," she laughs.
Natalie also touchingly reveals that she believes her beloved late grandfather, who died last year, is helping her through the pregnancy.
"He inspired me. If I'm feeling nervous about the baby, anxious that things will be all right, I feel him around me. It's a lovely feeling, as though I have someone watching over me."
To read the rest of the interview, including the couple’s hopes for the birth and how they are making the most of their child-free days, read the latest issue of HELLO! magazine.