Congratulations to Emma Atkins who has given birth to a "lovely, healthy baby boy". The Emmerdale actress and her businessman partner Tom welcomed their first child together "just before" her 40th birthday at the end of March. It was "the best present", she told the Sun.
Emma managed to keep the news of her pregnancy a secret right up until she reached the eight-month mark. It meant viewers were surprised by the outcome of her long-running storyline; in a shock twist in January, her character Charity was sentenced to two years in jail for insurance fraud, allowing Emma to take time off for maternity leave.
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Emma Atkins has confirmed the arrival of her "lovely, healthy baby boy"
A source said at the time: "She's been hiding her baby news from everyone outside of the show. Charity has escaped punishment for insurance fraud several times before but soap bosses decided it would be a good idea to write in a two-year jail sentence so that Emma could go on maternity leave."
The insider told the Mirror: "No one has guessed she's pregnant so didn't see Charity's prison sentence coming. Everyone assumed she would get away with it like she has so many times in the past."
Emma finally confirmed that she was expecting a baby in a special video message. "I do have a mixture of emotions going around because obviously I'm leaving for a while," she told fans.
Emma Atkins' Emmerdale character Charity has been jailed for two years
"I am leaving. Probably for about a year because I'm leaving to have a baby which is really exciting. I will miss Emmerdale so much but it is a new little journey in my life that I'm taking on now… I can't wait to come back – hopefully within a year."
Speaking about her character's future, she added: "I hope some of you are pleased with the outcome, I know I certainly am. I think it's only right that Charity is brought to justice and goes to prison for two years. But don't worry, I'm sure she'll be out on good behaviour!
"I would love to think that prison would really change Charity in some respects and teach her a really good lesson. I'd love to think that prison would straighten her out in a moral sense."