We know her best for playing the flirtatious seductress Charity Dingle in Emmerdale, but the actress that plays her, Emma Atkins couldn’t be further from her alter-ego in real life.
The character, who is famous for her raunchy ways and dodgy business dealings is a far cry from Emma’s quieter and far less eventful life off screen, with all of the drama we love to see unfold, safely kept to the confines of the set!
The 48 year old star first arrived on the show in 2000, and the Woolpack owner continues to be at the centre of the action even two decades down the line.
So where did it all begin?
Emma first auditioned for the role of Charity Dingle while she was still at university, and the star was in her final year at Salford University when she bagged herself the coveted role on the ITV soap.
Prior to this, Emma had worked for three years as a designer in order to save up enough cash to pursue her acting dreams, and did even confess that she found it “quite bizarre” to have swapped her studies to play a sex worker on screen!
"I just thought: 'How can I play a Dingle?' If you know me you would understand that as I am so far removed from my character," she explained to the Daily Record in 2001.
"But the more she told me the more I thought I would enjoy it, and so I went to the audition, so nervous that I can't remember a thing about it, and thought I wouldn't get it.”
Over the years, though Emma has come to thrive in her role as Charity, and even been an integral part of several high profile storylines, including arcs that tackled issues of rape, infidelity and reuniting with long lost relatives.
Earlier this year, Charity even tied the knot with Mackenzie Boyd in the most dramatic of circumstances – only to find that he had actually knocked up Chloe Harris and was on his way to her birth instead of his own wedding reception!
The wedding marked the 8th time in total that Charity had tied the knot, something which was a huge world away from Emma, who has yet to walk down the aisle once herself.
Speaking about this tidbit of information on Loose Women, Emma admitted: "Charity has been married eight times, I've never been married. She's a bada**, I'm really nice. I struggle to ever defend the character whenever I do interviews.”
Emma has been in a relationship with her partner Tom for many years and they even welcomed a son into the world named Albert just before her 40th birthday.
Although, Emma has played Charity for over two decades on the soap, she has briefly stepped away from the role on two occasions in the past.
The first time came in 2004, when Emma decided to quit the role as it was "time to move on”.
Speaking at the time, she told fans:"I will be desperately sad to say goodbye to everyone but there are so many other roles that I would like to try and it's important to me that Charity leaves on a high.”
During her four year absence, Emma embarked on a number of roles in shows such as Doctors, Dalziel and Pascoe, Heartbeat and Casualty – before finally being tempted back to reprise her role as Charity Dingle in 2008.
"Charity is a wonderfully complex character and an absolute joy to play. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to explore a new era of Charity, Cain and Debbie and will relish seeing what she’s been up to since we saw her last," said the actress at the time.
Emma has only stepped away from the role on one other occasion, and that was to take maternity leave in 2015.
The star currently lives at home In Yorkshire with her partner Tom, son Albert, and their adorable family dog .
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