Natalie Anderson on leaving Emmerdale and putting her family first: HELLO! exclusive

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After five years of playing Alicia Metcalfe on screen, last month Natalie Anderson made the surprise announcement that she is quitting Emmerdale. Speaking for the first time about her exit, the TV star has opened up about her decision to leave, and how she'll be putting her family first.

See this week's issue of HELLO! magazine out now for the full interview and more photos.

The raven-haired stunner has been married to her husband James Shepherd for seven years, and in 2012 the couple welcomed their adorable son Freddie.

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"I feel that it's time to take my foot off the gas for a while," said Natalie Anderson, who has starred on Emmerdale for five years

"People say of children that you blink and they're 15 – and suddenly I knew exactly what they mean," Natalie told HELLO! magazine. "Having Freddie really altered my perspective on my career and my approach. Usually I have a million and one things all in place and I know exactly what I'm doing. But I just decided that sometimes you have to let life take its own path."

"I feel that it's time to take my foot off the gas for a while," she added. "I believe that what is meant to come my way will – and if it's not for me, then it won't."

Natalie, who was giving the interview during a family holiday in Dubai where she and James honeymooned in 2008, plans to spend more time with her son before he goes to school next year.

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For the full interview and more photos, pick up this week's issue of HELLO! magazine out now

There will no doubt be a wealth of offers for the popular actress if she does decide to take on a new role. Not only has Natalie proved her worth on Emmerdale, she is an accomplished singer, has played Nessarose in Wicked on the West End stage and has co-founded her own fashion design label Enais Chapman.

The HELLO! Online blogger said: "This year with Freddie is important, the year before he goes to school, but that's not to say I might take on something that fits around my family life. It could be a stage show, it could be presenting, it could be drama."

Thanks to her supportive and hands-on husband James, who has taken on most of Freddie's day-to-day care, Natalie feels she has made the right decision.

"I'm incredibly lucky in that I have a wonderful family and an incredible husband who have made me feel so secure and so reassured in my decision," she said. "I feel excited about the future."

See this week's issue of HELLO! magazine out now for the full interview and more photos.

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