Catherine Tyldesley is working her way up the leaderboard on Strictly Come Dancing with her partner Johannes Radebe, and it helps that her husband Tom Pitfield and four-year-old son Alfie are cheering her on at home.
In a whirlwind two years, the former Coronation Street star got engaged to Tom in 2014 six months after meeting him at the gym, welcomed baby Alfie in March 2015, and got married in a beautiful ceremony at Colshaw Hall in 2016. Speaking exclusively to HELLO!, Catherine opened up about how motherhood has changed her approach to life, but she couldn't be happier.
The Strictly star with husband Tom Pitfield
While she confessed to being a workaholic, she said: "When Alfie came along, I learnt to adapt quickly and slow down. Having a baby has changed me for the better. I was used to doing what I wanted, when I wanted, with no one else to think about except myself. Then suddenly this baby arrives and he comes first."
She said she particularly noticed the difference while on her first family holiday in the Algarve. "On holidays in the past, I've packed my case with glamorous outfits, high heels and loads of make-up. This time it was so different. I only packed a few dresses, hardly any make-up and flat shoes and filled the case with loads of cute outfits for him." Catherine added: "We spent most of the time sitting in the shade, reading him nursery rhymes and singing him to sleep. In the evenings, we loved going back to our room, settling him down in his cot and sitting on the balcony together. It was a totally new experience and I wouldn't have changed it for the world."
Now several years on, the Scarborough actress has slipped on her dancing shoes and said she considered taking part in Strictly last year but the timing wasn't right. “Alfie was just about to start preschool and I had literally just finished Corrie and I needed some family time,” she said. “Luckily they came back this year and I thought: ‘I’m ready now. It’s the dream come true.’”
She shared this picture of Johannes and Alfie on Instagram.
Alfie is one of her biggest fans, and is even giving his mum some competition! “He’s over the moon that I have been partnered with Johannes. Before we’d even found out our partners, Alfie said: ‘When you get your dancing man, can he lift me up and spin me around?’ So that was the first thing I asked Johannes to do." The proud mum revealed that he watches them take to the stage each week at home with his grandparents, and even tries out some of the moves himself. She joked: “As soon as that Strictly music comes on, Alfie won’t sit still – his snake hips are way better than mine."
Alfie watching her dance on Strictly.
The actress has been wowing fans with her moves, with her routine inspired by the movie A Star is Born proving particularly popular, and her son believes she has what it takes to lift the Glitterball trophy. “He says: ‘Mummy, are you going to win?’ I’m like: ‘Slow down, Alfie.’”