Celebrity Special

Elaine Cassidy and Stephen Lord have just had their second child. We talk to them and discover how they manage to combine family life and parenthood with two successful acting careers.

There aren’t many ordinary days in our house – we just go from one day to the next, and have as many laughs along the way as we can.”

Star couple Elaine Cassidy and Stephen Lord both have busy and successful professional lives – and now that they have a baby son, Lynott, in addition to their daughter, three year old Kila, it’s tempting to wonder how on earth they manage to cram in even a little bit of parenting, alongside their other commitments.

Elaine and Stephen met on the set of the 2006 British independent film, The Truth, and have been married for five years. Both of their CVs are chock full of the impressive things that they’ve featured in since then – Elaine has found time to work in theatre productions with the Royal Shakespeare Company, as well as being BAFTA nominated for her numerous television roles. She most recently starred as the aristocratic Katherine Glendenning in BBC period drama The Paradise. Stephen has, meanwhile, become a household name through playing characters such as Jase Dyer in Eastenders, and Dominic Meak in Shameless.

Despite working hard, in such a high pressure industry, though, the couple have managed to maintain a strong relationship. “We have respect for each other, we can live together easily, and we enjoy it.” Thanks to this secure foundation, taking the decision to become parents together was a natural progression. “After careful consideration, we both felt in the right place. We were very happy together, and having a family was always the next stage.”

Since Kila was born, three years ago, Elaine and Stephen have had to make the transition from coupledom to parenthood. For some, this can be a tricky period, but they seem to be taking everything in their stride. “We were prepared, and it felt like a very natural process.” Though they say that, like most parents, they found the sleep deprivation challenging, the pleasures of parenting more than make up for it. “Witnessing your child develop and grow on a daily basis is a joy. Every day is change.” And the couple even feel that the arrival of children in their lives has strengthened their own relationship, “the bond is stronger – and you become far more mindful of the future, as well as the now.”

Both busy people, Elaine and Stephen share the responsibilities of looking after the children – and though their stage and screen roles might encompass pampered heiresses and dissolute priests, in real life, and especially when it comes to their children, they’re resolutely down to earth in their attitudes. “Parenting can be complex. We work together as a team, learn from our own experiences, and do our best.” And they’re certainly not about to bring up an over-indulged celebrity child. “Discipline is important. We don’t crumble at tantrums, for example.”

And, according to Elaine and Stephen, it’s not as difficult as you might think to combine parenting with a hectic acting schedule. It may keep them busy and require them to travel, but their filming schedule also gives them the opportunity to find time for family life. “Our jobs, thankfully, do allow us to spend a lot of quality time with the children.” And they do their best to arrange their timetables to maximise this quality time – making the most of the fact that their children are, for the time being, portable. “In these early years we’ve all managed to travel together around work, so it’s worked out nicely – although there are times when our schedules are full-on and time is restricted.”

When their second baby, Lynott, was born earlier this year, the couple were already pretty much seasoned pros at everything from childrearing, to childbirth. “It’s been brilliant, having Lynott,” says Elaine, “now we all seem to be in the flow. And there was less labour this time!” Even Lynott’s big sister seems to be happy with the new arrival in the family. “Kila loves him – and loves teaching him what to do!”

Although work means that they can’t be here all the time – and forces them to visit glamorous places like LA – the Lord-Cassidy family are very much settled in London, citing the excellent state schools in their area as one of their reasons for being here.

With Stephen currently working on two film roles – one of them based in LA, one being filmed in his home town of Salford, and Elaine having recently finished filming psychological thriller The Loft, due to be released later this year, it doesn’t seem like the couple’s lives are about to quieten down any time soon – though when asked where she would raise her children if work commitments weren’t an issue, Elaine admits that she might be tempted back to the tranquillity of her native country, “mmm… tricky… maybe Ireland.”

Wherever they’re based, though, from state schools to firm discipline, this celebrity couple seem determined to give their children a thoroughly grounded start in life. “We hope that our children live a healthy and rewarding life – and embrace it every step of the way.” And, although they say they have no current plans to extend their family any further, they do plan to develop in other ways. “We just want to continue growing – and to continue living life to the full.” ✿