HELLO! caught up with Ladies of London star Noelle Reno back in 2016 after a whirlwind year for the actress. Noelle, 33, discovered she was pregnant just four months after she began dating hedge fund manager Nick Perks. The former model introduced her newborn son, Xander Maximilian Perks, for the first time in HELLO! magazine and didn't he look gorgeous!
“It still feels a bit surreal. It’s been a really big year,” beamed the star at the time, after welcoming her first child with Nick on 10 November via Caesarean section. The adorable boy, who weighed 6lb 13oz when he made his grand arrival at UCLA Medical Center Santa Monica, was the icing on the cake for Noelle. “I feel ridiculously blessed,” she told us. “Nick is a wonderful partner and he’s Superdad.”
It was clear that Noelle was madly in love with her two boys, and she credited Nick, 33 – who she met through mutual friends in Ibiza in 2015 - with choosing Xander’s name. “That was all him. It’s quite a macho name. I mean, Nick is very alpha male so he was like, 'My firstborn son has to have a superhero ruler-of-the-world, saviour-of-the-free-people kind of name.' But after I threw out all options like Gladiator and I don't even know what else, we ended up with Xander, which is from Lysander in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream."
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After a long-distance relationship during her pregnancy, with Noelle in LA and Nick in London for work, the new family moved to Battersea, in a home that Nick bought after selling his bachelor pad to an international pop star. “We’re in a perfect family home,” smiled Noelle, who jetted back to the UK for good with Xander at the start of December that year. “At that point Nick hadn’t seen him for three weeks.”
Nick was present for the birth. In fact, Noelle had decided to be induced so that he could be by her side. “The idea that I might go into labour and he’d be on the other side of the world was just too much. You know what the emotional support is like and that bonding time – it’s so important. I couldn’t have done it without him. The insane bond between Nick and I deepened. I thought I'd have one baby and be done, but within an hour or two of the birth I was like, ‘We have to have three more.' Maybe it was the drugs! Now, I think four might be a bit much. But there's nothing like that love that you feel.”
Nick had only ten days off work and had to return to London just days after his son was born. “We did FaceTime and stuff,” said Noelle, “but as we all know with babies, when you plan that they are going to be awake, they’re sleeping.”
Being apart from Nick during her pregnancy and so soon after Xander’s birth was also difficult for former model Noelle, who took time out afterwards from her livestream home-shopping business to concentrate on being a mum. “People say that motherhood puts things into perspective and you think, ‘Oh, that’s a cliché.’ But that’s what happens, and you’re like, ‘Okay, it’s a cliché because it’s true.’”
While she previously “lived and died for work”, she happily revealed that she hadn’t checked her emails for more than a month. Instead, she was getting used to life as a mother. “LA is a wonderful place to have a kid. It’s very baby-centric and things are easier there on a daily basis. But nothing beats being with your partner, right?” She was thrilled to be back in London. “I’ve lived in the UK for 13 years and this is my home,” she said.
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Her relationship with Nick blossomed after a traumatic period: in 2014 her then ex fiancé Scot Young fell to his death from the balcony of the London penthouse they had once shared. Her rocky relationship with him played out on Ladies of London, where she became close to another of the show’s stars, Caprice. “She’s like a sister to me. That friendship was the best thing that came out of Ladies of London.”
“Recently I’ve been catching up with friends who want to see the baby but they’re all like, ‘First, tell me how you did it? You got the guy, fell in love, got the baby and now here you are. How did you do that?’ All I can say is I was in a really good place. I was really happy with who I was and I think I was quite confident and cool when we met.”