‘My heart sank’ – Hollyoaks actor Ayden Callaghan opens up about agony over stillbirth storyline

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  • Hollyoaks actor Ayden Callaghan and TV presenter Sarah-Jane Honeywell have spoken to OK! magazine about the reason Ayden asked to be written out of a stillbirth storyline in the soap.

    In the interview, Ayden explained how he was even prepared to lose his job over the decision, in order to be sympathetic to his wife’s experiences. Sarah-Jane was pregnant at the tine, but after suffering a miscarriage in 2014 the couple felt the storyline was a little too close to home, especially as it would be aired when Sarah-Jane was due to give birth.

    ‘Sarah had a weird feeling that I might have a storyline coming up involving a baby, so she asked me to speak to the writers about what they had planned. When they told me, my heart sank,’ Ayden says.

    ‘I knew the emotional impact it would have on Sarah. During the time of our miscarriage, my Hollyoaks character was becoming a dad and I knew how upsetting that was for her.’

    Earlier this year, Sarah-Jane wrote an emotional post on her blog detailing her thoughts on the situation.

    ‘The whole of my pregnancy with Phoenix was fraught. Because of the miscarriage I was insanely superstitious and just a wreck the whole pregnancy really,’ she explains. ‘I wouldn’t let him [Ayden] announce that we were having a baby or even buy anything for Phoenix until I was 20 weeks pregnant and we finally put it out to his fans on twitter at the Baby Show, on my 20th week.

    ‘I had just started to feel OK about it all when we got a bombshell. Ayden was going to be involved in a storyline on the soap he works at, where he would be the father of a still born baby and it would be filming around the time I was due to give birth.’

    Aden and Sarah-Jane pictured during her pregnancy with Phoenix in 2015

    Sarah-Jane told OK!: ‘I’d never even considered the fact we could have a stillbirth, but after that it was all I could think about.’

    She also said in her blog post: ‘It’s wonderful that soap operas cover the heartbreaking, barely talked about subject of still birth,’ she continued. ‘If it’s done well it can help all of us deal with it – but of all the actors in the show, I wished with all my heart that it didn’t have to be Ayden that was doing it’.

    Sarah-Jane says she ‘begged’ Ayden not to take part in the storyline, despite the risks involved.

    ‘He didn’t know if he would be sacked, black listed and he certainly knew that he would lose money – but he loved me and the baby he hadn’t even met so much that he put his whole career on the line for us.’

    However, she adds that the producers of the show took him out of the storyline ‘without question’, a move which she says made a huge difference to the rest of her pregnancy.

    Ayden explained to OK!: ‘As an actor it was a wonderful opportunity for me to be involved in such a big storyline, but it became obvious that Sarah wouldn’t cope if I went ahead with it.’

    ‘I’d give up an Oscar-winning role if it meant keeping Sarah and Phoenix safe.’

    In the end, Mercedes McQueen filmed the scenes with her brother John-Paul by her side, instead of Ayden’s character Joe Roscoe.

    ‘Of course I was still like a coiled spring and Ayden had to deal with that too and I’m sure I didn’t even seem grateful,’ Sarah-Jane said in her blog post. ‘But knowing that he wasn’t going to be filming such an awful and yet similar scene as I went in to labour meant I could relax somewhat.’

    ‘Great actors are “real” people,’ she concludes. ‘Ayden is one of the “great” actors and he is an even greater dad.’

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