She's one of the most recognisable soap stars as Emmerdale's Mandy Dingle, and now Lisa Riley has opened up over her IVF heartbreak, as well as her happiness over signing a new contract.
Lisa, 45, and her musician partner Al, 50, were trying for their first baby when she returned to the Dales in 2019.
The star says she has now made peace that she will never children after various attempts at IVF failed.
The IVF battle came after Lisa also lost her devoted mum Cath to breast cancer in 2012.
Lisa sadly turned to alcohol to try to cope with her overwhelming grief, but she is now teetotal.
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She has since relocated from London to Leeds to be closer to the set, and says life is good.
She told The Mirror: “I can’t abide negative people. Everyone has ups and downs and it can be tough, but we always have so much to be grateful for. The reason I can say that is because I’ve gone through so much myself.
"I really struggled losing my mum and going through IVF but even at the end of it all I know how lucky I am.
“I have such an amazing partner who loves and supports me. I don’t have kids myself but my nieces and nephews are my world. I have a job I adore and have the most amazing friends and family."
She adds: "I feel more confident and comfortable in my own skin than ever before.
“You always have a choice in life about what you focus on and who you surround yourself with. You can make it as positive as possible or you can focus on the things that haven’t worked out for you.
“You realise how important time is. Nothing is more important than giving the people you love your time. People joke that I must sh** positivity. But you have to embrace life and make the most of every moment.”
Lovely Lisa has also revealed how much she loves playing Mandy, and has signed a contract to keep her in the Dales until 2022.
She reckons she could still be playing Mandy in 30 or 40 years’ time.
Lisa said: “I honestly still pinch myself that I get to play such an amazing character as Mandy. I can’t put into words how much I love it. I’ve just re-signed my contract and I have no plans to leave.
“It’s nice to know that I get loads of offers from other dramas but I am happy to say no at the moment because I am super, super happy.
“I am really proud to play Mandy. She is starting to get iconic soap status and I love that. Many people have come in and out of soaps over the years so it does feel special to be a part of soap history.
“I was only coming back for four months and I’m still here nearly three years later so who knows? I may still be playing Mandy in 30 or 40 years.
“She has so many layers to her. It’s all down to the brilliant script writing.
“So long as they keep writing brilliant scripts for her I’ll stay.
“I’m really proud of the career I’ve had but I truly feel like I’ve played every role I have wanted to play.”
What with the ongoing covid pandemic, the cast had to keep away from each other due to social distancing.
Mandy recently got the chance to get hands-on with a fight scene and loved it with Nicola Wheeler, who plays Nicola King.
Lisa said: “We’ve filmed for nearly a year and not touched another actor.
“We’ve had to be socially distanced or we’ve used dummies. So when we could finally touch, we just went for it.
“It was one of the most fun days I’ve had filming. We were hitting each other with inflatable toys, having water fights, cake fights. We had stunt doubles but we wanted to bring out our inner Tom Cruise and do it ourselves.
“I actually picked up Nicola and started swinging her above my head.
“Producers were a bit nervous but I said if I can lift Robin Windsor up on Strictly, I can swing Nicola around.”
"I got home and pulled my knickers down and there was cake in my knickers. I thought I’d cleaned myself but I had cake in my bra and in every orifice.
“I was shattered and had to soak in a salt bath for ages.
“The next day we could barely walk and my shoulder ached so much!”
Long may she continue.
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