He’s used to caring for his seven-month-old quadruplets as Corrie’s loveable Chesney Brown, but in real life actor Sam Aston says he’s relieved to be expecting just the one baby with wife Briony.
“I’m glad it’s not quads. One’s perfect and just enough for now!” 26 year old Sam exclusively tells OK! of the couple’s first child, due in September.
A year ago, OK! witnessed the childhood sweethearts marry at Stock Farm in Cheshire, and it was obvious that Sam and Briony, 25, couldn’t wait to have children, with yoga instructor Briony shrieking with delight when Sam mentioned wanting to start at family with his new bride during his wedding speech.
And the couple reveal they’d like a big brood to fill the home they share with their dogs near Bury. “We want to fill our house with kids,” a beaming Briony, who’s 24 weeks pregnant, tells us.
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Sam, who has starred in the ITV soap since he was a cherub-cheeked nine-year-old, says that while he’s enjoying spending quality time with his pregnant wife during lockdown, he’s keen to get back filming on the cobbles.
“The show’s been a massive part of my life for more than half my life – I’m looking forward to getting back in that kebab shop!”
Here the ecstatic parents-to-be open up about their surprise at falling pregnant so quickly and reveal the sex of their unborn child…
Congratulations! How are you feeling?
Sam: We’re super-excited. I’m not sure it’s properly sunk in for me yet.
Briony: It’s all I think about! We’re over the moon and we feel incredibly lucky.
When did you find out you were pregnant?
Briony: We hadn’t been trying for long but I bought a board you serve eggs on which had ‘Daddy, you’re a good egg’ etched on it. I wanted a nice way to tell Sam when I did fall pregnant and I always make him dippy eggs. Luckily for us, as soon as I could do my first pregnancy test, it was positive.
Sam: I came down for breakfast and the fire was on, the highlights of Match of the Day were on the telly; it was like it was my birthday! Briony put the board down and I started eating and didn’t notice the message, as I was too busy watching Burnley play. After a few minutes I saw it and was so excited. I kept saying ‘really?’ It was very surreal.
Briony: It only lasted a couple of minutes though and then he looked at the telly and said, ‘Burnley have scored!’ I was like, ‘no we’ve scored!’ [Both laugh].
You fell pregnant quickly…
Sam: We were only trying for 4 or 5 weeks, which is why it was such a surprise. I assumed it would take a while.
Briony: I was preparing myself for a long period of worry and stress, so we feel very lucky.
Do you know if you’re having a boy or a girl?
Sam: We’re having a boy! It was a massive surprise when we found out, as there are loads of girls in our families, so we were adamant we were having a girl.
Briony: We found out the day before lockdown. Sam couldn’t come with me because of the current rules, so I got the consultant to write the sex on a piece of paper and put it in an envelope and we both then sat in the car and opened it together. We were over the moon.
Have you had to go to any other appointments on your own, Briony?
Yea and it’s been tense and quiet in the hospital. It felt different and it didn’t feel as exciting as our first scan, before the pandemic was announced. But I keep in mind that it’s all good news.
Sam: It was a shame I couldn’t go as I want to be there at every stage, but it’s out of our control.
How’s expecting your first child during the pandemic?
Briony: I don’t want to look back on my pregnancy and think it was a horrible, stressful time. I want us to find as much light as we can and enjoy the quality time together.
Sam: The main thing is Briony and our son are doing well. The virus is tragic but we’ve been forced to take time off and it’s time we wouldn’t have had together. It feels like someone’s hit the pause button. Expecting our first child is a special period in our lives and we’re getting to spend every day together at the moment. We’re trying to make the best out of the situation. We don’t want to spend the time sitting at home being morbid all day.
How many children would you like to have?
Sam: We’d like a big family. I’m one of nine children and I’m grateful to be part of a huge family as it’s magical, but I’m not sure we’ll go to nine. That’s a lot of children and financial commitment. Let’s not forget I have five children on-screen too!
Briony: Our house isn’t big enough for that many but we want to fill our house with children. I’d like a big family.
Sam, your character, Chesney, had quadruplets with Gemma Winter [played by Dolly-Rose Campbell] last year. Has it helped being around so many babies on set?
In a way, as I’ve been holding them a lot. I go on set and there’s about eight babies there and I constantly get passed one or two. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have to get up with them in the night and I only have them for about half an hour on set, but it has definitely made me more confident holding them.
Briony: Every scan has consisted of a conversation where the consultant has jokingly said, “I wonder if there’s only one?” I love watching Sam on TV holding a baby. I’m like, “That’s going to be us soon!”
Sam: I’m glad it’s not quads. One’s perfect and just enough for now!
Sam, your character is so popular and recognisable. Have people still been approaching you?
We were walking the dog and a lad pulled up and asked for a selfie. Bless him, he wanted to do the right thing, so he was across the road. I must have looked like an ant in the picture. I told him he could come a bit closer, as he was literally at the other end of the street [Laughs]! I usually get asked a lot but people haven’t been, as they want to distance themselves, which is the right thing to do. People do still always ask how the quads are doing. I tell them they’re at home with Gemma – people usually like that. I don’t want to tell them it’s not real. I’m really grateful I play a character who’s a nice lad, which usually means I get positive attention.
Who was the first person from Corrie you told about the pregnancy?
Sam: Those who were at our wedding like Dolly [Rose Campbell], Alan [Halsall] and Andy [Whyment]. I’d have spoken about it a lot more, but we haven’t been in work for a couple of months, so we’ll have a lot of a catching up to do when we’re back.
Is there any news on returning to filming at Corrie, Sam?
They haven’t given us an exact date yet. They said they’re working hard to get back to work as soon as it’s safe to do so. I think it’ll end up being the mid-to-end of June, but I can’t say for definite. There’ll have to be a lot of safety precautions in place on set. It’s not straightforward. I can’t imagine there’ll be any scenes in the Rovers, as pubs are currently shut. They’re going to have to reference the pandemic – it will be so different.
You’ve been on the show for 17 years. Are you missing it?
Sam: Yea, totally. It’s been a massive part of my life for more than half my life. Corrie’s part of who I am, so it’ll be nice to get back and start filming again. I’ve been happy at home but I like the structure and I love the job. I’m looking forward to getting back in that kebab shop [Laughs].
We attended your gorgeous wedding last May. How did you celebrate your first anniversary in lockdown?
Briony: Originally, we wanted to go to Italy but we did what we could at home to make it special.
Sam: We made homemade pizzas together and went for a walk with the dogs. Briony made me get back into my wedding suit again too.
Briony: I wanted us to relive the day and to see if my wedding dress still fit and it did!
Sam: We ended up having a dead romantic time, which was at home and really cosy. It was right up our street.
How did you meet?
Sam: I was 18 and Briony was 16. We’d dated in our early teens for eight months but we lived miles apart and we weren’t seeing each other so I ended it. Two years later we were both working in a theatre workshop.
Briony: I’d been pining for Sam in those two years we were apart and after we re-met we arranged a date.
Sam: We got on so much better the second time around and we haven’t looked back since – we feel incredibly lucky.
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