‘I was fright­ened I'd never see Polly grow up'

Now (UK) - - News - Sarah Robertson

We are HUGE fans of Kym Marsh. Not only is she one of soap’s best ac­tresses but the Coro­na­tion Street star is also an ab­so­lute de­light to talk to.

Kym – who’s dat­ing per­sonal trainer Matt Baker – is a fit­ness lover who works out most days, and has the body to show for it.

We set­tle down with her while she’s hav­ing a quick break on the Cor­rie set and find out what she likes to do dur­ing down time, how she bat­tles stress, her hopes for her kids and whether there’ll be wed­ding bells again for her on and off the screen… You’re known for work­ing out and healthy eat­ing – what’s your daily regime? I try to work out four times a week and I run out­doors. I’m a big be­liever in healthy body, healthy mind. It should be a mas­sive part of every­one’s life. Main­tain­ing a healthy life­style is a huge part of mine now. I al­ways used to say ev­ery­thing in mod­er­a­tion, but th­ese days I limit my­self to one cheat day a week and fol­low the Pa­leo diet the rest of the time.

How’s Si­mon Greg­son cop­ing fol­low­ing his wife’s re­cent health scare? They’ve had a rough time. I can’t com­ment on it too much but they’ll be all right and they are a great cou­ple.

You have a big sto­ry­line com­ing up now that Carla Con­nor [Ali­son King] is com­ing back to the cob­bles – how’s that work­ing out? I’m re­ally ex­cited that Ali­son’s com­ing back. We’re very close and she’s a huge part of the fam­ily. We’ll start film­ing fairly soon. I don’t know any­thing about the sto­ry­lines, but hope­fully we’ll have some fun!

‘Be­ing healthy is a huge part of my life’ The Coro­na­tion Street ac­tress re­veals the fam­ily health scare that made her fi­nally give up the cig­a­rettes, shortly be­fore friend and fel­low Cor­rie star Liz Dawn died of a smok­ing re­lated ill­ness, and why she’s in no hurry to walk down the aisle…

Do you think there will be wed­ding bells for your char­ac­ter Michelle Con­nor and her beau, Robert Pre­ston? What we’re film­ing at the mo­ment is all go­ing to be shown to­wards the end of the year and noth­ing has hap­pened like that so far... but who knows? They are a nice cou­ple I think, so maybe we’ll just have to wait and see.

What’s been your favourite sto­ry­line to date on Cor­rie? En­joyed is not the word for this sto­ry­line... When Michelle lost her baby, that was the one I found the most chal­leng­ing, not least be­cause I’d gone through some­thing sim­i­lar my­self, but also be­cause I wanted to do jus­tice for all those other peo­ple who have gone through the same thing. There were huge sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween mine and Michelle’s story, but also ma­jor dif­fer­ences, so it was im­por­tant to tell Michelle’s story and not just mine. You can’t just bring your­self to it – you’ve got to put your­self in the po­si­tion of the other per­son.

Did you find it hard to go through the emo­tions again? It was a re­ally tricky time and it took me back to places I wasn’t com­fort­able with, but I’m so glad I did it. I’ve gone through so much over the last eight years but my main rea­son for want­ing to do it was to reach out and ed­u­cate peo­ple, or reach out to peo­ple who had per­haps gone through it them­selves and to let them know they weren’t on their own. The re­sponse to the sto­ry­line was in­cred­i­ble and that was over­whelm­ing.

Peo­ple get very in­volved with soaps – do they ever shout stuff at you in the street? All the time! They tell me to for­give Steve and I’m like, ‘No, he cheated on me!’ With that char­ac­ter, peo­ple for­give him for ev­ery­thing.

Do fans flirt with you? No, I never get chat­ted up at all. Who knows why?!

When did you last get a bunch of flow­ers sent to you? God, it’s that long ago since I had flow­ers I’m not sure. I think the last time was from Cor­rie fol­low­ing the baby sto­ry­line. That’s the last time I got any – dis­grace­ful isn’t it?!

You need to have words with your part­ner Matt! Have you spo­ken about mar­riage? Again, we’re just happy with the way things are at the mo­ment and tak­ing our time. Life is good! You’re an am­bas­sador for Stop­to­ber. Tell us your story… I’ve al­ways had a strange re­la­tion­ship with cig­a­rettes. It’s been very on and off since I was a teenager. Nowa­days kids get a dif­fer­ent mes­sage, but when I was 15 it was still seen as cool to smoke and that’s when I started. My group of friends all smoked and there was a shop just down from the school that would sell cig­a­rettes separately to kids. We’d go in our school uni­forms and buy two cig­a­rettes each. That’s hor­ri­fy­ing when I think back. Did you smoke heav­ily? Not at first. It was only when I left school and started work­ing at about the age of 16 that I smoked more reg­u­larly. Back then you could smoke in­doors.

How many would you typ­i­cally smoke in a day? I started out on about 10 a day and that was enough. I fell preg­nant with my son David and luck­ily it was easy to stop as preg­nancy hor­mones meant the smell of smoke made me sick. Af­ter I had Emily and split from her dad, I was go­ing through a stress­ful time and I started again. Look­ing back my smok­ing has al­ways been driven by stress or so­cial­is­ing. The big­gest thing was not so­cial smok­ing. I hated smok­ing in the week but as soon as I had a glass of wine on the week­end with my friends, I’d want a cig­a­rette. I’d smoke 20 a night.

But stress was al­ways the main trig­ger? Yes. For in­stance when I lost my son Archie I was on strong an­tibi­otics and couldn’t drink on them, so in­stead I used cig­a­rettes to calm me down. We all have some­thing that we turn to and smok­ing was my emo­tional crutch.

How did you give it up? The time was right for me. I’ve got chil­dren, I want to see David and Emily have kids, I want to see Polly grow

‘My smok­ing has al­ways been driven by stress’

up and I don’t want to end up like my dad with re­ally bad health prob­lems. You’ve got to find your rea­son and re­ally want to give up. I tried va­p­ing but in the end I went cold turkey. Ev­ery time I had a crav­ing I re­minded my­self why I didn’t want to smoke. They say if you stop for 28 days you can stop for good and I’m proof of that 18 months later.

You men­tioned your dad, what hap­pened? The other cat­a­lyst was that my dad had a mas­sive car­diac ar­rest aged 49 due to smok­ing. He’d smoked

40 a day for years. We used to say dad would al­ways have a pen­cil be­hind one ear and a cig­a­rette be­hind the other. He was only eight years older than I am now and for three or four min­utes we lost him. I walked into the Coronary Care Unit and I re­mem­ber look­ing at this man on the bed and think­ing he looked more like my grand­dad, be­cause it had aged him mas­sively. My dad never touched an­other fag again. Smok­ing 40 cig­a­rettes a day is a tough habit to quit but there was no sec­ond thought. I didn’t want to get to that point where it takes a heart at­tack to stop. How’s your dad now? He’s 72 and he’s done very well to still be with us af­ter all th­ese years. He had a quadru­ple by­pass be­cause his ar­ter­ies were so blocked and since then he’s been bet­ter, it gave him a new lease of life. He looks af­ter him­self a lot more now. What’s your crutch now you don’t smoke? When I’m stressed now I turn to ex­er­cise, which is a much health­ier sub­sti­tute! What would you do if your kids smoked? I’ll be hon­est – Emily was smok­ing and she’s nearly 20. She’s just va­p­ing now thank­fully. It’s hard with your chil­dren but she’s an adult now. I’m en­cour­ag­ing her. Have you en­cour­aged any­one on Cor­rie to give up cig­a­rettes? Yes, so far Brooke Vincent has stopped smok­ing and Daniel Brock­le­bank is also stop­ping. Cam­paigns like Stop­to­ber will only en­cour­age peo­ple and even­tu­ally we might see a smoke-free coun­try, you never know. In gen­eral, the Coro­na­tion Street lot are a healthy bunch, al­though we do keep on ask­ing for choco­lates in the green room!

Kym is en­cour­ag­ing thou­sands of smok­ers to stop smok­ing this Stop­to­ber. It’s never too late to start your quit­ting jour­ney. Search ‘Stop­to­ber’ for all the sup­port you need to quit.

Go to nhs.uk/oneyou/stop­to­ber

With youngest daugh­ter, Polly

Kym’s dad suf­fered health prob­lems from smok­ing

On the red car­pet with her two old­est kids, David and Emily

With on screen love in­ter­est, Steve Mcdon­ald

Kym says life is good with her boyfriend Matt

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