Girls Aloud star Kimberley Walsh has always looked out for her little sister Amy by vetting her boyfriends and making it clear when she didn’t think they came up to scratch.
So when she met a handsome single man while starring as Princess Fiona in Shrek The Musical in London’s West End, she took matters into her own hands.
Amy, 27, who has just joined the cast of Emmerdale as a feisty troubled girl, laughs as she recalls her sister’s matchmaking two and a half years ago which led to her meeting actor Bradley Jaden, 27.
She says: “Kimberley was starring in the musical and Bradley was understudying the part of Shrek so they all did their rehearsals together.
“She got friendly with him and invited him along to her 30th birthday party.
“She did some expert matchmaking. She is always very protective with me, especially when it comes to boys, so to have her approval of him early on helped him out in a big way.
“Before the party she told me, ‘there is someone going along tonight who might be interested in you’, so she planted the seed and it happened. We just hit it off, so it was thanks to her.”
Life at home with the Walshes as they grew up in Bradford sounds like a scene from The Sound of Music.
Her eldest sister Sally, 35, was the first to go to a local drama school, followed quickly by Kimberley, 32.
Amy and brother Adam, 30, joined later when they were old enough. Acting and singing became a distraction from the pain when their parents divorced.
Amy says: “It was a pretty chaotic house. We would make up shows in our living room. We have three cousins a similar age and when we were all together it was like the von Trapp family.
“Every day was a different show. We used to practise and rehearse different musicals we were learning at stage school.
“Adam always got told where to stand and who to play, he was bossed around a lot like me. Sally and Kimberley were very dedicated. They would get up before school and rehearse and practise things.
“My mum is a music teacher so she would be playing on the piano. It was wonderful. It was escapism for us, it helped us escape from our parents’ divorce.”
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