Emmerdale

Emmerdale Moira Dingle’s real life – secret co-star romance and rival soap role

You may also be surprised to learn apart her offscreen counterpart's life away from the Dales.

Emmerdale’s Moira Digle has driven fans wild in recent days after unveiling a fresh new hair do, and they may also be surprised to learn apart her offscreen counterpart’s life away from the Dales

As any true Emmerdale addict can tell you, life is rarely quiet in the Dales – especially if you’re a Dingle. Since moving to the village as a farmer’s wife in 2009, Moira Dingle (Natalie J. Robb) has brought viewers plenty of drama, from a steamy affair and later marriage to resident bad boy Cain Dingle (Jeff Hordley) to going into labour in a burning barn.

Away from the set, actor Natalie, who is originally from Bellshill, Glasgow, leads a very different life indeed, but there are still plenty of things that may surprise soap fans, including a co-star romance and a role in a rival soap.

Moira Dingle, as played by Natalie J Robb

Natalie fell for a co-star behind the scenes

Secret co-star romance

Moira has had a rather eventful love life during her time in Emmerdale, and it would appear as though a few sparks were flying behind the scenes as well. During an Emmerdale charity trip to Lapland in 2019, Natalie, 48, and co-star Jonny McPherson – who plays Dr Liam Cavanagh – began to feel a romantic connection and, in January 2020, shared a kiss. Little did they know that their budding relationship would face unprecedented challenges.

In March of that same year, the country went into lockdown, leaving the loved-up new couple with an impossible choice to make. Speaking about the early days of their romance with the Mirror in November 2020, Jonny, 41, revealed: “We had to make a decision as lots of couples did. We decided to move in together and so, yes, lockdown did fast forward our relationship.”

The pair initially attempted to keep their blossoming relationship a secret but ended up blowing their cover after appearing on a joint Zoom call to wish co-star Liam Fox – who plays Dan Spencer – a very happy 50th birthday. Reflecting on the close bond they developed, Jonny continued: “We get on so well. We come from quite different backgrounds but we are essentially the same person. We are both a pair of big kids. We have exactly the same stupid humour.”

Despite getting through lockdown with “flying colours” together, Natalie and Jonny called it quits in 2021, but are said to still be friends. Back in May, Jonny confirmed he had moved on and met somebody else, but preferred to keep his new girlfriend’s identity a secret. Jonny told OK! magazine: “I am with someone. She is absolutely wonderful. We’ve been together for a couple of years. I am really happy.”

Natalie J Robb and Johnny McPherson

Natalie and Robb made it work through lockdown, but eventually called it quits

Little-known role in rival soap

Although Natalie is best known for playing Moira, Emmerdale wasn’t her first venture into Soapland. Indeed, eagle-eyed viewers may recall that the thespian previously made an appearance in EastEnders, where she played womanising Max Branning’s (Jake Wood) mistress Gemma Clewes for three episodes back in 2006.

Natalie has also appeared in a number of other long-running TV shows in her time, including Waterloo Road, The Bill, Where The Heart Is, and Holby City. Away from acting, she’s also tried her hand at being a popstar. She was previously part of the band The Kinky, and, in 1997 she released a track called Keep Your Love with dance troupe Partizan.

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