Martine McCutcheonhas opened up about why she has chosen to scale back her acting career 20 years after filming Christmas hit Love Actually.
The actress – who is married to singer songwriter Jack McManus who she shares eight year old Raffety with – said her son is so “precious” that she can’t bear to be away from him during long days filming on movie sets.
Speaking exclusively to OK! , Martine said: “I’m a big believer in doing things slowly and not apologising for that. You don’t have to be mega busy all the time in order to be successful. We have a rule in our house, and there have been massive sacrifices along the way, but we’ve always said, ‘family first’.
“Rafferty is precious to us and what’s the point of me having him if I’m not there for the key moments in his life? With movies, I’ve been offered a couple of cameo roles which I’m happy to do, but when you’re filming a movie you’re there 17 hours a day when you could be with your child. And I just literally pine for him.”
Martine has always been refreshingly honest about her struggles to conceive children amid her health battle with ME and previously told OK!how her beloved child was a miracle .
She said: “The top doctors were absolutely amazing but said, ‘You can’t have children. Your immune system and disease thinks it’s got to fight everything off and that includes, sadly, babies. So, we have no idea how you managed to keep Rafferty.’ To this day they don’t know how I had him.
"I only speak about this publicly as so many women struggle with fertility in this day and age and I want them to know they are not alone."
Speaking of her son, she added: “He’s cheeky, he’s sensitive and he’s confident. He’s a contradiction – he’s very like me actually. On the outside he’s very bubbly and confident and goes for it, but he also gets nervous as well. He’s complex like his mum."
Martine and Jack celebrated their 10-year wedding anniversary byrenewing their vowsin September with Rafferty the only guest at the romantic ceremony held at the plush Beaverbrook Hotel in Surrey. They married the first time round in a stunning Lake Como ceremony.
Martinerose to fame as Tiffany in EastEnders in the 1990s and was about to quit showbiz for good when she landed her role in Love Actually.
She added to OK! : “At that time, I’d decided to give up the business. I’d worked from the age of 17 playing Tiffany – it was a relentless schedule of 22 scenes a day, six days a week, alongside my pop career. There was a lot of pressure, a lot of touring and I battled with exhaustion and felt unwell.
"Then there was the press scrutiny. I had paparazzi running after me. I was only 23 and lived on my own – it was scary. I just thought, ‘I love what I do but I don’t love what comes with it’, so I called my agent and gave up the industry. I remember thinking, ‘If I’m meant to stay in it I’ll get a big sign.’”
Martine has partnered with One4all Gift Cards for its Christmas campaign. For more details, see one4all.com
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