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Friday 29th May 2020

Who is Julie Hesmondhalgh's husband Ian Kershaw and do they have kids?

The A Word star played Hayley Hayley Cropper in Coronation Street for 16 years

Julie Hesmondhalgh has taken on a new leading role in The A Word.

The former Coronation Street star plays Joe's teacher Heather in the BBC drama – and the scenes are set to get emotional.

But how much do fans know about the actress behind the character?

For example, who is Julie Hesmondhalgh's husband Ian Kershaw and why did she quit Corrie?

Here's everything you need to know...

Julie Hesmondhalgh played Hayley Cropper in Coronation Street (Credit: ITV/Rex/Shutterstock)

Who is Julie Hesmondhalgh's husband Ian Kershaw and do they have kids?

Ian is an award-winning writer for television, theatre and radio.

He's previously penned episodes of EastEnders, Death in Paradise, Holby City, Casualty and Shameless to name a few.

READ MORE: Julie Hesmondhalgh delights fans as Joe's teacher Heather in The A Word

Currently, he's writes scripts for Coronation Street, where he's been based since 2018.

Between 1998 and 2002, Ian has also appeared in Corrie as an actor.

He's played several roles on the cobbles, including Malcolm Bradford, Duncan Stott and Mick Crompton.

Julie has taken on a new leading role in The A Word (Credit: Splash News)

How did Julie Hesmondhalgh and Ian Kershaw meet?

Ian and Julie met back in 1998 after she joined the cast of Coronation Street as Hayley Cropper.

He was playing a minor role at the time – Malcolm Bradford.

The pair quickly became good friends and ended up on a night out together for a pal's birthday celebrations.

During the boozy evening, they started flirting outrageously with each other.

The star is married to husband Ian Kershaw (Credit: Shutterstock)

At one point, Julie even told Ian that she was going to marry him.

Clearly her charm worked as the couple ended the night with a kiss.

By this point, Ian's time at Corrie was coming to an end and he had an audition for another show the following. day.

She sent a text wishing him good luck and joked that she hoped he'd get the part because she wanted a lavish wedding.

"I moved in with him on the following Wednesday and I was pregnant within six weeks," Julie told Notebook magazine.

"We went on a road trip across America and I did a pregnancy test on Santa Barbara pier.

"There is a picture of us – we got a stranger to take it – pointing at the test saying, ‘We’ve just found out about you, Martha or Arthur!’ And it was Martha, who’s now 18."

Back in 1998, the writers thought it would be funny to send Roy Cropper (David Neilson) on a number of blind dates – each one worse than the last.

The storyline was set to conclude with the cafe owner falling for a transgender woman without realising it.

"It wasn't a politically correct one, but this was back in 1998," Julie told Stella magazine.

"To me, that was it. You make people like this woman – understand her – and you say more than any political speech or lobbying."

Hayley is Roy Cropper's late wife in Corrie (Credit: ITV)

Julie went on to play Hayley for 16 years and won six awards along the way.

Her final scene was watched by more than 9.5 million viewers.

When Julie announced she was leaving Coronation Street in 2013, she explained she wanted to take on new roles.

"The decision to hang up Hayley's red anorak was a tough one," she said.

"Whatever happens next I'll always be proudest of lovely Mrs Cropper.

"In particular what we achieved in changing attitudes to transgender, and in portraying possibly the most loving, faithful and steadfast couple in soap history."

Since leaving Corrie, Julie has starred in Happy Valley, Broadchurch, Doctors Who, The Trouble With Maggie Cole and most recently, The A Word.

The A Word is on BBC One, Tuesdays at 9pm.

You can catch up on previous episodes via BBC iPlayer.

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