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Baby joy at 40 for EastEnders star Laurie

EastEnders star Laurie Brett has told how her Albert Square co-stars have been showering her with gifts and advice as she prepares to become a mother.

The actress -- who plays childless Jane Beale -- is to become a mother for the first time at the age of 40 with her child due in May.

She told Hello! magazine: "I keep arriving at my dressing room to find that Steve McFadden [hard man Phil Mitchell] has left all sort of gifts outside my door, including a beautiful crib.

"He's been like Santa," she said, as she spoke about her pregnancy for the first time.



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Brett, whose long-standing character Jane is unable to have a baby, said she has been receiving pregnancy advice from Jo Joyner (Tanya Branning) -- mother to twins in real life.

Linda Henry (Shirley Carter) and Cheryl Fergison (who plays Heather Trott) have also promised to take her on a shopping spree.

Brett was planning to keep quiet about her pregnancy in the early days, but co-star Adam Woodyatt -- her on-screen husband Ian Beale -- realised.

"He said, 'you're pregnant, aren't you?' It's not surprising that he knew as we spend more time with each other than we do with our partners. I had suddenly become very sensitive to certain smells and I wasn't going out for cigarette breaks."

She and boyfriend Johnny Milroy -- whom she began dating last year -- were not actively trying for a child, although both are delighted and Brett had become broody.

"I thought I would be very sad if it didn't happen. I felt as though something was missing from my life, and Johnny really listened and understood that."

The full interview is in the new edition of Hello! magazine out now.

hnews@herald.ie