MARTINE McCutcheon's marriage to Jack McManus has stood the test of time in an industry in which relationships are notoriously fickle.
Last month they renewed their vows in an intimate ceremony in front of just son Rafferty, seven, which Martine says was "one of the best days of her life".
The couple have been together for 15 years, married for 10, and have weathered the ups and downs that come with any long-term relationship.
In an exclusive interview, Martine, 46, tells us how they've remained so loved-up over the years.
"Both Jack and I have always been honest we don’t have the perfect relationship by any means," she says.
"We’ve had our ups and downs, like everybody. We’ve had our challenges, but I think ultimately we’re each other’s best friend and when life gets tricky and isn’t always as fabulous it’s good you can have somebody you can talk too and confide in and be all of yourself with, and you know that’s a safe space and they’ve got your back.
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"I think that hopefully when you look back in your life it’s about the memories you make, and I think sometimes you have to put effort into making those memories, otherwise you look back and it’s all been a fast-paced blur, especially in this day and age.
"I like to take time to celebrate the good moments, and I think that in our industry, especially, it’s a long time."
The actress was keen to ensure their vow renewal was a private and elegant affair.
They headed to the five-star Beaverbrook hotel 10 years after tying the knot in Lake Como, Italy, and wanted Rafferty to see them dressed up and smitten away from the more mundane goings on of daily life at home.
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"Ultimately, it was for us and I’m so glad we did it," says Martine. "And Rafferty loved it and again got to see mum and dad in a loving way rather than going nuts on the school run. It was nice for him to see a nice romantic moment."
Motherhood transformed Love Actually icon Martine's life and she put the brakes on her successful career to focus on raising her son.
But she has no regrets about doing so, having already achieved a huge amount in her career.
The mum-of-one famously played Tiffany Butcher in EastEnders for four years in the nineties before having a number one single with Perfect Moment and a number two debut album You Me & Us.
She then scooped an Olivier Award for her performance as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady and starred opposite Hugh Grant in Christmas classic Love Actually.
"If we’re honest, sometimes life is about compromise and prioritising," she says. "And for me, motherhood was something that was so precious to me and I didn’t want to miss key moments in Rafferty’s life.
"You’ve gotta remember it’s different for me because I was had a career since I was nine years old. By the time I had Rafferty in my late thirties I felt I had achieved a lot of things and had a lot of pressure and a lot to take on.
"I was so ready for motherhood by the time it came round. I have nothing but admiration for mums that don’t have the choice and mums that have to work, and I do, I have to work but I really want to be present for him and I really wanna make sure when I look back, I don’t know anyone that’s ever said I spent too much time with my kid.
"That for me is my priority, that for me dictates what I say yes to, what I say no to, and I’m really lucky I achieved a lot of the things I wanted to achieve by the time I was in my mid 30s."
Martine certainly isn't short of work. She narrates popular ITV show Billie and Greg: The Family Diaries, she starred in the Masked Singer and recently appeared on the reboot of prime time Saturday night show Blankety Blank hosted by Bradley Walsh.
She says: "It’s part of me. I’m never going to be able to give up entertaining, give up performing, it’s in my veins. But I’m learning as I get older as a woman to do it on my terms and do it in a way that I still feel like the mum I want to be for Rafferty."
Health conscious Martine has also teamed up with Flora ProActiv to raise awareness around high cholesterol for National Cholesterol Month.
The star discovered her family has a history of high cholesterol and is a keen advocate of healthy living to prevent problems associated it such as strokes and heart disease.
Speaking about her aunt and mum, she says: "They turned it around with lifestyle [changes], changing their diet, having Flora ProActiv as opposed to butter and dairy and all of that stuff they cut back on.
"We’ve still got to talk about it because new research shows that although 9 in 10 Brits know what cholesterol is, 49 percent don’t know what their levels are still and they’re turning a blind eye. The thing is prevention is better than cure and the things that can happen with high cholesterol aren’t always pretty.
"Having that empowerment, taking ownership of the things we can and take care of ourselves; it's so simple to do."
Martine lives with chronic conditions ME and fibromyalgia making her lifestyle choices even more important.
She's focused on healthy eating and swears by daily walks in the countryside to preserve her mental health and keep in shape.
"I juice a lot and have Flora instead of full fat butter. For me, I’ve never been a gym bunny, I hated it and so does my mum, but we love walking in nature. The things we’re doing you should just do for good health anyway, we’ve just forgotten the way life’s become.
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"I walk every day, come rain or shine, for 20 minutes and it’s good for my mental health, it’s good for my joints for my fibromyalgia and ME; I know it’s a preventive measure for high cholesterol.
"There’s a lot of misunderstanding around ME, unfortunately, and fibromyalgia, it’s all linked. Basically it’s something that can flare up and something that can go away to the point you feel you don’t have it. For me, stressful situations and not looking after my diet. A lot of it is keeping my nervous system calm. I meditate everyday, I walk, I eat well, it’s something I can’t take for granted. I’m really lucky because I take care of things I’ve managed to keep under control."
Martine McCutcheon is working with Flora ProActiv to educate people in the UK on the importance of understanding and testing cholesterol levels and the simple steps they can take to manage high cholesterol through diet and exercise this National Cholesterol Month.
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