Emmerdale star Michelle Hardwick publicly comes out as gay
Michelle Hardwick, an actress best know for her role in soap Emmerdale, has spoken out publicly for the first time to say that she is gay.
The 36-year-old actress, who plays Vanessa Woodfield on the ITV soap, said she is in a happy relationship with her girlfriend Rosie Nicholl.
Speaking in an interview with the Mirror, Hardwick said the couple met eighteen months ago, and were friends for a year before becoming a couple.
“Life is good – and my life with Rosie is a big part of that, it really is bliss. I’ve not spoken about it sooner because it never seemed like the right time.
“When I was in The Royal, the majority of our audience were older and I would have been nervous of revealing too much. But since joining Emmerdale I’ve been getting asked about my personal life and when people want to know ‘Do you have a boyfriend?’ it’s tricky.
“I don’t want to hide anything. I’ve never actually been able to talk about ‘my girlfriend’ or ‘partner’ – this person that means everything to me, and it feels good to be able to finally do it.”
She went on to say: “I do tweet, so people can see me and Rosie on there but they probably think we’re mates who share a house. People say, ‘I’d never have guessed you were gay’ because they expect you to look a certain way and I don’t fit their stereotype.”
Hardwick said she came out to her family at the age of 29.
She said: “The only thing my family were upset about is I hadn’t felt I could come out sooner… As a teenager, it was hard as I had to keep things secret and it shouldn’t be that way. Hopefully things are different now.”
Fans of the soap will see, by coincidence, a sexuality storyline for the character Vanessa, which will begin next week.