It's been a while since Emmerdale fans saw Joe Tate in the village, but in real life, actor Ned Porteous had made headlines after confirming his new relationship with aspiring actress. The actor has been spending a lot of time in LA over the past few months, and in the process he met Lucy Heath. The star appeared to confirm their relationship on his Instagram account this week, after sharing a loved-up photo of them together in California. Fans were quick to comment on the photo, with one writing: "Omg you two are so adorable," while another joked: "Debbie needs you more," referring to Ned's alter-ego Joe's estranged girlfriend Debbie Dingle. Lucy also posted a picture of the pair together on her own Instagram account, showing them sitting in the theatre. "When neither of you like your teeth," she captioned the photo. The actress has appeared in a number of short films, including Mating Call and Stretching the Play.
Emmerdale star Ned Porteous with girlfriend Lucy Heath
Ned had always wanted to go to LA after taking a break from Emmerdale and in October during his exit interview – where then the audience were made to believe that his character had died – he opened up about his plans to Digital Spy. He said: "I want to move back to London and I want to do a bit of travelling. I haven't had a holiday for a very long time, so I'm desperate first to get out to America. I've got management out there so I want to try my hand with the American casting system and then go on a little holiday. I think I will turn my phone off, go climbing, go camping, go fishing."
Will Emmerdale's Joe Tate come back to the village?
The actor also spoke about his final scenes, which saw Cain Dingle push him during a showdown with Graham Foster. He said: "It was tremendously exciting filming all of this last bit to the story, as there had been a lot of build-up to this point. We knew the course of this storyline for a good deal of weeks beforehand, so we had a lot of time to emotionally prepare for what was going on in the scripts." Because nobody saw Joe's body, eagle-eyed fans speculated there was more to the story, and in March it was confirmed during an episode that Graham had helped Joe flee abroad to Monte Carlo to save him from his stepmum Kim Tate, and let Cain believe that he had killed his daughter's boyfriend for five months.
Like this story? Sign up to our newsletter to get other stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.