Women send me messages asking, 'Can I have one night with your husband': Tamzin Outhwaite on her partner Tom Ellis's hot role in Miranda
22:35 GMT, 28 September 2012
Tamzin Outhwaite is aglow. Astonishingly so, in a shiny, blissfully happy, cat-that-got-the-cream way. ‘Someone said that exact thing a while ago about me finding my husband,’ she says.
‘He’d just come back from golf and this girlfriend of mine said to me, “How lovely are you two And you’re having another baby. You look like the cat that got the cream.”
My husband joked, self-deprecatingly, “Yeah, Elmlea [the artificial cream] more like.” He really made me laugh.’ She laughs now, looking- sinfully happy, as well she might.
Blissfully happy: Actress Tamzin Outhwaite recently gave birth to her second daughter Marnie Mae Ellis
Her husband is, after all, the drop-dead gorgeous Tom Ellis, who dazzles as Miranda Hart’s lust interest Gary in the comedy Miranda – which is being repeated on Friday nights on BBC1 – and recently starred in Sky1’s Gates.
The ‘another baby’ [they also have four-year-old Florence] arrived two months ago, in the middle of the Olympics. ‘What a couple of days,’ Tom gushed on Twitter. ‘Gold medals everywhere… oh, and we had a beautiful baby girl called Marnie Mae Ellis, 6lb 5oz of gorgeousness!’
Tamzin says, ‘The baby wasn’t planned at all. Some people say it’s luck. I think it must have been a miracle. I found out a week before Christmas and thought, “Oh no, I’ve got to go through the Christmas and the New Year parties without saying anything.”
This [she points to the alcohol-free wine Sorelle that she’s currently promoting] would have been a Godsend. I’d have fooled a lot more people.
'Having a family makes everything worthwhile': Tamzin with daughter Florence and husband Tom Ellis
‘Children do change things, don’t they I’ve often thought, “Oh gosh, we’ve got to go back to sterilising bottles and baby stuff.”
'There are lots of compromises. It’s difficult to get the balance between work, family, home and social life right. When you’re pregnant it’s very difficult to take on new work.
'So, this year there’s been a lot of lovely jobs I’ve had to turn down. I’m not saying I’ve had unhappy times. It just sometimes gets a bit rocky. Once the baby’s settled I don’t feel any guilt about saying, “I’m looking forward to working again.”’
And this is the thing about Tamzin: there’s a refreshing honesty about her that means she refuses to airbrush her life. Acting is her oxygen.
She is brilliant at it and in her
career since EastEnders, she’s shown herself to be a considerable
talent, receiving plaudits from, among others, Andrew Lloyd Webber,
following her tender and poignant portrayal of the lovelorn Charity Hope
Valentine in the musical Sweet Charity.
last interviewed Tamzin a decade ago, shortly after she’d left
EastEnders in which she’d starred as Melanie Owen for four years. Her
parents Anne and Colin, to whom she’s devoted, had just separated after
more than 30 years of marriage.
There was no Tom and no kids. In truth, she didn’t look half as happy as she does today. ‘I suppose I felt a bit lost and chucked out into the world,’ she says. ‘At 31, I was really hungry to do things. I was probably just a whirlwind of work. Work was everything. Now at 41…’ she shrugs.
‘Sometimes you think, “Should I be a bit braver and emigrate to Los Angeles” We talk about that sometimes but mainly because of Tom’s career now.’ Tom’s career has, as she says, ‘zoomed’ since the first series of Miranda began two-and-a-half years ago. She’s as proud as punch. But still…
‘Lots of people send me messages on Twitter saying things like, “Can I have your husband” or “Can I have one night with him” I suppose it’s something you have to get used to and it’s only happened in the last couple of years since his career has been so public.’
Tom and Tamzin met seven years ago after she’d weathered more than her fair share of ‘unlucky in love’ headlines, including various lengthy relationships and a broken engagement to TV producer Marty Benson.
‘Isn’t everyone unlucky in love until they find the one’ she says. ‘I’d just split up with someone with whom I’d had a six-week relationship. I had really quite liked him but he broke up with me. He said he was just too busy with work. I was hurt for a day or two but I’d started a play at the Royal Court theatre opposite James McAvoy.
‘I was in the bar with him when he introduced me to Tom. He said, “This is my best mate.” Tom stood up and I remember thinking, “Ooh, he’s really tall.”’ Tom is 6ft 3in – a good eight inches taller than Tamzin and, at 32, nine years younger. He’s also a shameless romantic who proposed to her with fireworks – literally – six months after they met.
Rising star: Tom plays Miranda Hart's lust interest Gary in the comedy Miranda
‘We got engaged on November 5th – my birthday. Tom said he was taking me to a restaurant in Essex but stopped off at my dad’s house where he said he was picking up a camera.
‘My aunt Sandra was cooking in the kitchen and he led me through to my dad’s dining room where, between them, they’d made it look like a Valentine’s grotto.
'There were helium balloons, chilled wine and the table was set beautifully. I think the fire might have been on. It was just lovely. When the first course came out I started crying. I said, “This is beautiful what you’ve done for me.”
What I didn’t know is Sandra and my dad had gone to the pub where all my family – including my cousin and his then girlfriend Holly Willoughby – were waiting to see if I was going to say yes.
‘Before the dessert he said, “Let’s go outside.” He put a coat on me and ran down to the end of the garden. I saw him lighting something and this thing went up. It just said, “Will you marry me”
Obviously, I started crying more. I was looking at it thinking, “Oh my gosh”, then I turned round and there he was on one knee with a ring. It was really amazing.
‘When he phoned the family to say, “She said yes” they all piled back. I just sat there and laughed and cried and laughed and got drunk.’
They married six months later in a ‘shabby chic’ manor house in Somerset with James McAvoy as best man and Liam Gallagher, Holly Willoughby and soprano Anna-Jane Casey among the 120 guests at a party that lasted an entire weekend.
Tamzin wells up as she talks about these fun, early days. In fact, she’s hugely emotional throughout this interview. It could be her hormones, which are, understandably, still all over the place. Or, it might be that, as she says, ‘You have to accept marriage isn’t roses forever. Life’s a project, isn’t it I don’t think you ever think, “I’ve arrived”.
There’s always something you’d like to improve upon. Tom and I have had a lot of time hitch free. It can’t stay that blissful forever. You’ve got to, at some time, work through some things, which isn’t a big deal. It’s just accepting that that’s life.
‘But Tom’s a very good, kind man and he’ll always see the best in everyone. I’m probably a little bit more cynical than he is. It’s hard when he’s not here. But socialising is all part of the job – as long as it’s not detrimental to family life.’
That family life includes Tom’s seven-year-old daughter Nora from an earlier relationship that ended shortly before he met Tamzin. They cherish the holidays she spends with them at their warmly chaotic Crouch End home, which is more often than not packed to the rafters with family and friends.
‘Florence had a mini tantrum before the baby was born and didn’t want to go to bed. I could hear her fake crying, “I don’t want two sisters. I only want my big one.” So she’s very attached to Nora.
‘Tom and I really are very blessed. The other day I was reading that someone had done a study into what people’s last wishes were. They didn’t say they wished they’d worked more. They all said, “I wish I’d spent more time with my family or had more time to have more family.” I know I’ll never regret having to go back to sterilising bottles for this little baby in years to come.
‘And if, as parents, your love is still there, which ours definitely is, you can pretty much weather anything. We’re in this for the long haul and I suppose in a marriage you’re going to see lots of storms.’
With which she turns on her mobile phone to receive a loving text from Tom, and gets all emotional again. ‘My hormones are all over the place at the moment,’ she sighs. ‘But having a family makes it all worthwhile.’
Tamzin is working with Sorelle, a new alcohol-free, wine-style drink, which only contains 24 calories per glass. Visit www.facebook.com/sorelledrink