Since first arriving on our screens as Sonia Fowler back in 1993, it’s safe to say that EastEnders actress Natalie Cassidy has cemented her place in our hearts.
Gripping audiences with a number of high profile storylines over the years, Natalie’s character Sonia has seen everything from affairs and feuds, through to a teenage pregnancy and even a tragic death on Christmas Day when she lost the love of her life Jame Mitchell back in 2002.
But while her Walford alter ego has been at the heart of the drama for the best part of three decades, thankfully Natalie’s own life away from the limelight is far less chaotic!
Born in Islington, London on 13 May 1983, Natalie Ann Cassidy first discovered a flair for performance at an early age and decided to hone her skills at the Anna Scher Theatre.
It was after this that Natalie first made her professional acting debut at the tender of 10, when she secured a coveted role in EastEnders as Sonia Jackson (later Fowler), which to date remains her most enduring and memorable performance on screen.
Natalie’s original run on Eastenders came between 1993 and 2007, during which time she primarily worked on the soap and little else.
However in 2007, the star took a three year break from the soap to focus on a stage career instead, having appeared in extensive UK tours of The Vagina Monologues, Bedroom Farce and Gertrude’s Secret.
She also briefly starred alongside acting legend Diana Ring in a run of The Cherry Orchard at the Chichester Festival Theatre.
During her break from the soap, Natalie also lost a considerable amount of work and even hit the headlines when she released her very own workout DVD, followed by a BBC Three documentary Natalie Cassidy’s Diet Secrets.
She also regularly appeared as a panelist on Channel 5’s The Wright Stuff.
Making her return to TV acting in 2009, Natalie joined forced with Dawn French and Eileen Atkins to star in Psychoville, before reprising her role as Sonia in the BBC soap which had first launched her career.
Appearing on the show for just one year, Natalie later took a second break from EastEnders in 2011, this time lasting for four years as she focused on parenthood after becoming a mum for the first time to her daughter Eliza.
She returned to the soap full time in 2014 and has been a staple of the cast ever since.
In addition to her soap acting however, Natalie has also dabbled in reality television too, after she appeared on the ninth series of Celebrity Big Brother back in 2012 and even appeared on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing in 2009.
Paired with Vincent Simone, the actress came an impressive fifth place overall.
Natalie’s eldest daughter, Eliza, 12, has often been described by fans as a “mini-me” of the star, with the duo sharing the same trademark smile and sense of style.
Clearly close to her mother, Eliza regularly appears on Natalie’s social media feed alongside her little sister Joanie, with the close knit family clearly loving every minute they get to spend together.
Between 2009 and 2013, Natalie was previously in an on-off relationship with transport manager Adam Cottrell, the father of her eldest daughter Eliza.
In 2011, Adam attacked Natalie at the home they shared, and was sentenced to 120 hours of unpaid work in connection with the incident.
At the time, had earlier pleaded guilty to assault and criminal damage when he appeared at East Hertfordshire Magistrates' Court.
As a result of the attack, Adam was also given a restraining order banning him from contacting the actress for two years.
However, the couple later reunited and became engaged, but permanently parted ways in 2013.
Since 2014, Natalie has been in a relationship with cameraman Marc Humphreys, with the couple becoming engaged just one year later in 2015.
Together they have one child, daughter Joanie, who was born in August 2016.
Preferring to stay out of the limelight, Marc and Natalie rarely share snaps together, but the couple have delighted fans with a small handful of adorable images together on social media over the years.
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