Baby? I’ll take two!
New mother Leigh Arnold – the star of TV3’S Deception – is so taken by the joys of parenthood, she’s already expecting No. 2...
series. In 2010, she played the lead role in controversial Irish thriller Charlie Casanova. For a few years she became as well known for being seen out and about in the Dublin social scene with her then boyfriend Marcus Sweeney — ex-fiancé of the late model Katy French — but the relationship ended in 2009. Now engaged to Manchester businessman Steve Davies, UK-based Leigh is already happily pregnant with the couple’s second child. Posting a snap of Hunter on her Facebook page in late November, she announced the good news: ‘Can’t get any cuter than this so we thought, “What the hell? Let’s do it again!”’
Still, she says she was conscious of how her post-baby figure would appear on camera. ‘You lose an awful lot of confidence in yourself when you have a baby,’ she says. ‘This was just so scary for me the first day when I arrived on the set. You are running around constantly when you are looking after a baby and you don’t realise that your life isn’t your own; it is all about him. I love every second of it. Motherhood is the most incredible thing that ever happened to me. I think that all the running around helps you get back in shape. And, honestly, breastfeeding helps. It does. It tones up the tummy a bit.’
Leigh’s character in Deception is Caitríona French, Galway’s most visible and glamorous socialite. Leigh describes her character as ‘a proper b****. She is a brilliant character. She is just back from America, where she had a boob job. Well, mine are tender anyway so at least it will look real. This is the role of a lifetime. She is an amazing character. Very feisty, very cool and you wouldn’t want to cross her. But at the same time she has a big heart. She’s a really lovely girl, the sort of strong woman I’d love to be friends with.’
Leigh describes her time on the set in Galway as ‘emotional’ — not only did she miss her partner but she was dealing with some heavy storylines. Indeed, her first week’s filming dealt with her character’s husband’s attempted suicide. She says she tried to be sensitive in her approach to the role. ‘This is a very real existence for thousands of people. We are not making a joke out of it. If anything, we are highlighting the daily lives for people that live in ghost estates or who have lost property or their life’s fortunes.’ Indeed, Leigh’s own father, David Arnold, lost millions in a high- profile property deal gone awry. ‘Things are tough in the world,’ she says, and people are having their homes taken from under their feet, as happened to my character. I’m trying to be as sensitive as I can with it. My character deals with attempted suicide and it was very emotional filming that. I have heard of people who haven’t been able to deal with similar situations and have taken their lives.’
At that moment a runner appears to bring the leading lady back on set. She turns to her son for one final cuddle before taking off her Uggs and replacing them with a flash pair of nude Louboutins. ‘It’s funny,’ she sighs. ‘All I look forward to now is getting back home and having loads of lovely daddy-and-baby time — that’s what I want. It’s not very showbiz, I know, but there you go.’