Four years ago, when Darren Everest and Rhea Bailey first started dating, they had a long distance relationship; Rhea was starring on Coronation Street and living in Leeds, while The Overtones singer Darren was based in Kent. But now, they've certainly made up for lost time.
In the space of just a few months, the besotted couple have got engaged, bought a house together and, as they exclusively reveal to HELLO! magazine, they are expecting their first child together, with Rhea, 37, due to give birth in September.
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"We know we're very lucky," Darren, 40, tells HELLO! as he and his girlfriend of four years pose for these exclusive photos. "With the new house, the engagement and the baby, we feel very blessed as a couple."
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The couple – who first met at a birthday party thrown for Rhea's former Coronation Street co-star Kym Marsh - couldn't be happier – and fortunately Rhea, the younger sister of Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Corinne Bailey Rae, has only suffered what felt like seasickness for a few weeks during the first trimester. "I haven't been ill but the whole thing does feel like a complete body takeover," Rhea laughs.
Darren Everest and Rhea Bailey are expecting their first child together
The couple plan to have the baby at home after having been inspired by the example set by Rhea's sister Corinne. "My sister had two really successful home births with an independent midwife, and she had really beautiful experiences," Rhea, who played Caz Hammond on Coronation Street and also starred in The Bill, says.
"I wanted to have a similar experience and statistically it's actually safer to have your baby at home. It can usually reduce the amount of time you're in labour as well so that was really appealing to me, plus Darren gets to be with me the whole time."
Darren had initially planned to propose to Rhea last year in Lake Como but Covid-19 put paid to those plans. Still unable to travel but desperate to propose, he instead popped the question in March, on the day they got the keys to their new house in Leeds.
"We can all get this idea of perfection when you want it to be at sunset, on a lake etc," Darren says. "But the perfect moment was just us being in our new house at the start of this new journey."
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