Gemma Atkinson took to Instagram on Sunday in celebration of her mum Sandra's birthday. The former Emmerdale actress shared a series of snapshots with fans, including one showing the pair with baby Mia, and another showing Sandra with Gemma's stepdad, Peter.
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She wrote: "Happy Birthday to my wonderful Mum! It's only now being a mum myself I realise how hard your job is. Thanks for always being there for me & being the family matriarch. We all love you."
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Gemma’s boyfriend, Strictly star Gorka Marquez, also had a sweet message to share. "Happy birthday English Mummy," the 30-year-old wrote.
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Gemma, 36, enjoys a very close relationship with her mum. Her dad David passed away when she was 17.
Gemma shared a sweet birthday message for her mum
In a previous interview with Happiful magazine, Gemma opened up about David's death and how she wishes her father could have met Gorka. "I think he'd love him," the mum-of-one said of her dad. "He'd say he's a gentleman. Everyone who's met Gorka says that."
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Despite being a non-smoker and only drinking occasionally, David died suddenly at the age of 52 from a heart attack, and Gemma further confessed the tragedy had spurred her on to "take care of [herself]" as best as she can.
The star's dad passed away when he was 52
"It hit me that life's too short," she said. "Dad was 52 and very healthy. He never smoked and only drank every few weeks – there was nothing wrong with him. Since then, I've wanted to take care of myself as best I can, and that's why I always drill that health is more important than what you look like."
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In 2017, Gemma shared a rare photo of her mum and stepdad Peter, as she spoke about their family dynamic. She wrote: "Waking up today feeling extremely grateful for the week I just had in Portugal. I took my mum and her husband Peter.
Gemma on holiday with her mum and stepdad
"They have been together since I was 10 yet our last holiday abroad together was when I was 18 (obv after then I was too cool for holidays with them and it was all booze cruises & Magaluf). For us to all switch off and just be together was amazing.
"My dad passed away when I was 17 so this week alone with my mum & peter was a reminder for me to stay present & make the most of life and remember what's really important as you never know what's around the corner."
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