Kellie Bright is known to all Eastenders’ fans as Linda Carter, the sassy character added to the cast in 2013. The 45-year-old actress and husband Paul Stocker welcomed a new baby on September 10, which coincides with her character’s pregnancy on the BBC One soap.
The couple shared a photo of a baby’s hand gripping an adult finger alongside their announcement. “We’re thrilled to announce the safe arrival of the latest addition to our family. Mum and baby are doing well.”
Kellie and Paul were already proud parents to their sons Freddy, nine, and Gene, four. While her character’s baby is a girl, Kellie’s real-life baby’s gender and name have not yet been revealed. The couple has been very open about their IVF journey in the past. After Kellie gave birth to their first son naturally when she was 38, they experienced secondary infertility when trying to have another baby. That’s when they started the process of going through IVF to give Freddy a sibling.
She and Paul had success with IVF and went on to have their four-year-old son Gene. After that successful round of IVF, they froze additional embryos, which they were then able to use for this round. While the couple wanted one more baby, Kellie wasn’t up for another round of egg retrieval. So, their hopes of growing their family rested solely on their existing embryos in frozen storage.
When announcing her pregnancy to OK! Magazine back in March of this year, she said, “So, this baby inside me now was the last one we had – the last chance of pregnancy because at 44 we were not going through IVF again.”
The couple was over the moon when they found out the transfer had worked. “I was so shocked and thrilled; I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I ran downstairs to Paul. I just stood crying – really crying – and he couldn’t understand a word I was saying! It took my breath away.” But, she says she believes it was meant to be, and now their family is complete. The entire family couldn’t be happier.
The Eastenders’ writing team took the pregnancy news in stride and wrote Kellie’s baby bump into her character’s story arc. On the show, her character Linda just welcomed a baby girl with Max Branning, played by Jake Wood, after the characters had an affair.
Spoiler alert – the landlady of the Queen Vic just named her fifth baby Annie, after her love of the iconic musical, after going into labour in the pub’s living room. Jack Branning (Scott Maslen) was by her side, even as questions swirled around Annie’s paternity.
Back in the real world, we couldn’t be happier for Kellie, Paul, and big brothers Gene and Freddy after the birth of their new baby.
Does Kellie Bright’s story of IVF success after secondary infertility resonate with you or give you hope for your own story? Are you currently trying to get pregnant in your 40s? Share your story – and your congratulations – in the comments section.