EastEnders actress Kellie Bright and husband Paul Stocker have been flying high on cloud nine since they welcomed the latest addition to their family – baby Rudy!
Rudy is the pair’s third child together after sons Freddy, nine, and Gene, four and was conceived through IVF. In our exclusive photoshoot, the happy couple introduce their "miracle" child to the world, open up about the labour (including one notably "hilarious" moment) and reveal the touching meaning behind his middle name.
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When OK! catches up with Kellie Bright, it’s fair to say she’s firmly ensconced in a baby bubble. The 45-year-old gave birth to her longed-for third child just six weeks prior to our chat, and it’s clear she couldn’t be happier.
Kellie and husband Paul Stocker, 38, welcomed their baby boy, Rudy Joy Stocker, on 22 July at 4.05pm, weighing 7lbs 14oz – a little brother to their elder sons Freddy, nine, and Gene, four.
Kellie was desperate for a third child to complete her family, feeling like she wasn’t fully “done” with having children. She fell pregnant naturally with Freddy but struggled a second time around and underwent IVF to conceive Gene. Three extra embryos were frozen for potential use later down the line, and following failed attempts at pregnancy with two of them, her dreams came true when she conceived a “miracle” third child.
And with the adorable Rudy now finally here, Kellie says their journey feels all the more poignant. “I’ve had a lot of moments where I just keep looking at him and feel overwhelmed with emotion at him actually existing and being here with us,” she explains. “How he nearly wasn’t here is mind-blowing.”
Here, Kellie exclusively introduces Rudy and opens up about a “hilarious” moment during her labour, and tells us her eldest boys “absolutely love” their little brother…
Congratulations Kellie! How are you doing?
I can’t believe it’s been six weeks already since he arrived. It’s a little bit of a blur because I’m so tired, but it’s been amazing. I’m trying to savour every bit as these first few weeks are so precious and this is definitely my last! I’m sure your body makes you forget how hard the first few weeks are and what that sleep deprivation is like.
It’s like nothing else! We went to Cornwall a couple of weeks after he was born which was a bit crazy, but it was lovely having that time just the five of us so we could all get to know each other. We had him for the whole of the summer holidays which was lovely, but at the same time the other boys were home so it was quite full-on – maybe more so than I expected [laughs]!
How did you feel about having another boy?
I really didn’t mind if I had a boy or a girl. We didn’t have a third child because we wanted a girl, and in the back of our minds we expected another boy. The main thing was that he was here and he was healthy. I very much have the philosophy that because of the way we’ve had our children – going through IVF and the frozen embryo transfer – they are really meant to be here.
Rudy is no exception and if anything I feel it more so with him because of his journey to get here. He was the last remaining embryo and the one that made it. I always felt throughout my pregnancy, whether it was a boy or a girl, this baby was meant to be. For whatever reason, I’m meant to bring up boys.
Why did you want to add to your family?
I know it’s not for everyone and there’s millions of women my age thinking, “God I wouldn’t want to go back to that for anything.” But for me, I just never had that feeling of being done with having children. It’s a really special and unique thing and I wanted to have it again. I do feel very lucky I’ve got to experience it again. But now, 100%, I feel this is it and the family is complete.
How did you pick Rudy’s name?
Joy was my nana’s name and I said that whether we had a boy or a girl, I would really like the middle name to be Joy as she meant such a lot to me. We weren’t sold on Rudy until about a week before I had him, but it’s been on my boys’ list for a while and was definitely around when I had Gene. All the girls’ names I really like, my husband didn’t! If he’d been a girl he probably would have been Robyn Joy.
Tell us about the labour…
I was induced at 37-and-a-half weeks because they were worried about the baby’s size. I’ve always had big babies – Freddy was 8lbs 5oz and Gene was 8lbs 9oz. I didn’t want an induction because you know your body isn’t going to be ready and it’s going to be forced to do something. It was eye-opening and I’m grateful it wasn’t my first baby because I think it’s a really awful thing to put a woman through.
Did everything go smoothly even though you were induced?
It was a long build-up over two days but the actual delivery was so quick. He flew out! I had my first pessary and initially it felt like things were happening, but then it all stopped.
I was feeling really low about the situation and the fact I hadn’t got going. But then my midwife Clare gave me a sweep which was rather full-on but it did the trick – within two hours I was having quite intense contractions. Paul had gone off for a coffee and when he came back I said, “Something is really happening,” and all of a sudden my waters broke.
What time of day was it?
It was 3pm. I gave birth an hour and five minutes later! The contractions were so quick and intense it took my breath away. The midwives examined me 10 minutes later and I was 4cm dilated. I said, “I need to get to the labour ward now!” and they said, “It’s fine, you have time,” but I said, “No, I need to go now!” They sent in a midwife with a wheelchair to take me to the labour ward.
I said, “I can’t sit on that!” I was in excruciating pain so they told me to kneel on it and hold on to the back. So I was kneeling on this wheelchair while my waters were still coming out of me. I’m in the throes of labour and this poor girl is having to wheel me down corridors and in and out of a lift. Paul was beside me and said it was hilarious. He said it was like a car crash – you couldn’t help but stare!
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We’re sure you’ll never forget that!
I know! He arrived 20 minutes after I got to the labour ward and all I had was gas and air. I didn’t want an epidural this time because I wanted to feel everything – it’s somewhere in the middle. It was all so quick but it was the birth I wanted.
Were there any tears?
There were lots of tears of joy. It was a beautiful moment. I’ll never forget my midwives as they got me through it. There were moments where I was terrified and saying, “I can’t do it.” I did have a slight elation afterwards knowing I’d never have to go through labour again!
How was Paul during the birth?
He was very good, very emotional. He keeps quiet because he knows I’ll probably scream at him if he says anything! He was holding my hand as Rudy was born and he told me the baby was a boy. He got to cut the cord which was lovely.
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How have Freddy and Gene adjusted to their little brother?
They absolutely love him. Freddy calls himself the “big, big brother” and says, “I have to look after both of you.” And Gene is very pleased about his role as a big brother. Gene made the baby a cushion with our nanny. He loves making things and she helped him use the sewing machine. He came running in with it and kept trying to put it on the baby’s head. I was like, “No, no, no!”
What was the moment like when they first met Rudy?
It was lovely. I’d said to Gene that babies like lullabies and being spoken to gently, and when we got home from the hospital he launched into Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and held Rudy’s hand.
It was hilarious as none of us were expecting it. I thought maybe they’d be a bit more boisterous with him but they’ve been so loving and gentle. I also thought there might be some complaining about the baby crying but there hasn’t been.
How has Rudy been sleeping?
He’s very windy so he’s hard to settle at night. I’ve definitely had less sleep with him than I had with the others. I’m just adapting to my life with not much sleep. The first two weeks I was literally on the floor and wanted to cry because I was so tired!
Is Paul hands-on?
He’s brilliant. He’s brilliant with the older boys – when you’re breastfeeding, you can’t really be anywhere other than with your baby. But I’ve made sure I’ve had time with all the boys. Gene is still only four and he wants mummy a lot. I want to be able to give him my time and I don’t want him to feel mummy isn’t here any more because she’s always with the baby.
Paul puts the boys to bed every night as I’m usually feeding at that time or exhausted. I’m like a breastfeeding machine! I’m going to breastfeed until I go back to work because this is my last time. I want to enjoy it and make the most of it.
Finally, have you received lots of congratulations messages from your EastEnders co-stars following Rudy’s birth?
Of course. They’ve been really lovely. I have a WhatsApp group with my television family and I’ve sent pictures. I’ve spoken to Danny Dyer and Maddy Hill, and had texts from Linda Henry and Letitia Dean, who I’m good friends with.
They don’t feel like colleagues as I’ve been with them for eight years, so they’re like family to me. I haven’t introduced Rudy to any of them yet – that will be starting very soon!
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