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Exclusive: Natalie Anderson talks expanding her family as she reveals exciting new role

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It's been a very exciting – and busy - few weeks for Natalie Anderson. Alongside appearances on This Morning and attending some of London Fashion Week's biggest shows, the former Emmerdale actress has also been hard at work rehearsing her role as Lady Capulet in West Yorkshire Playhouse's upcoming production of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Not to mention she's also making sure she spends plenty of quality downtime with husband James Shepherd and the couple's son Freddie.

As well as continuing to build on her already-successful career, Natalie has revealed that in her personal life, she and James have a goal of their own: to have more children. "It's definitely something that James and I want, and for Freddie as well," she told HELLO! Online exclusively. "It's just work! Trying to fit it in around work. Every actor I'm sure will tell you that sometimes it's feast/famine – you might get a great job and then you might not work again for a little while. It's just seeing what's next and where we go from here. We absolutely would love to expand our family for sure."

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Natalie Anderson has opened up about her and James' plans to expand their family

Little Freddie is already growing up too quickly for his mother's liking. "He's nearly five in August. I can't believe how quickly that's gone, it's mental!" she exclaimed. And it seems that he could be set to follow in his mother's footsteps, as Natalie admitted he already seems to have a passion for acting.

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"He loves to tell stories and act stories out for you. He'll be like, 'You sit there, I want to show you the story'," she said. "And he really is completely in it. I'll be honest, when I watch it I think, 'This is what I should be doing!'. If he's playing a wizard, he's got a little stick and he genuinely believes that the LEGO stick is his wand – and I think, I need that level of conviction!"

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The actress is taking on the role of Lady Capulet in Romeo and Juliet

Speaking of her role of Lady Capulet in the production, Natalie says: "She's a very different kind of mother to me which again is a huge challenge! In certain scenes I have to suppress all of my own natural instincts as a mother to portray the kind of woman she is. She can be quite dark at times which is so much fun for me and also a huge change to other roles I've played. I really love her though as she very vibrant and extravagant and she has a wonderful array of costumes!"

MORE: Read Natalie Anderson's HELLO! blog here

The Royal actress appears to have found a harmonious work/life balance, admitting that at times it can be "difficult" but also crediting her and James' parents for being "incredibly supportive". "I'm very, very lucky," she explained. "James' mum lives around the corner, my mum lives down the road so we're a network really. My mum and James' mum are really wonderful in the sense that they allow him and me to have time together because that is important for us, for our marriage, that we have a date and stuff like that."

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Natalie credited her family for helping her to find a great work/life balance

James will be front row and centre to support Natalie on Romeo and Juliet's opening night and celebrate what is another milestone in her career. "It is an absolute challenge, and one that I'm thoroughly enjoying," Natalie said of taking on a Shakespearean classic. "Our production is a modernised version so it takes place in a contemporary setting. So to do all that, bring it to life, make it modern and make everybody understand the text, is incredibly challenging but it's been amazing, I've absolutely loved every second of it."

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She added: "I've been so lucky, the company have been so amazing. The rest of the cast are fabulous, really lovely and incredibly talented. Our director Amy is phenomenal, she's so brilliant. And working in my hometown of Leeds is wonderful, that's so lovely for me with Freddie."

Romeo and Juliet will run at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds from Friday 3 March to Saturday 25 March.

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