NHS midwife Steph Jones said her and Danny can’t wait to have more children when he returns from I’m a Celebrity after they became parents just five weeks ago
Image: Daily Mirror/Andy Stenning)
I’m A Celebrity star Danny Miller had some cracking plots as Emmerdale ’s Aaron Dingle – but his fiancée says his greatest role has been supporting her through the toughest of times.
Childhood sweetheart Steph Jones – who gave birth to their son Albert five weeks ago – says Danny was her rock as she battled anxiety.
In her first newspaper chat, the NHS midwife tells the Sunday Mirror: “He was the light at the end of my tunnel.
“Danny has talked about his own mental health and how I’ve helped, but he never really takes credit for what he does for other people.
“He’s been my absolute rock and he’s never admitted how much he’s helped me. I’d hate to think where I’d be without him because I was so shut off, my mum was so worried about me.”
Get all the latest news sent to your inbox. Sign up for the free Mirror newsletter
In a revealing interview – at times emotional, but peppered with laughter too – 30-year-old Steph also:
■Defends Danny against critics who say he should be at home with his baby.
■Reveals they want more children – and will start trying once I’m A Celeb finishes.
■Says she misses their chats as “we talk about everything”.
■Shares how Danny supports bereaved families via his charity Once Upon A Smile. Steph tells how she and Danny, also 30, were sweethearts at school.
She says: “He was my first kiss in primary school, aged 10. “We dated as teenagers and I was really sad when he moved away. Two years ago, when we reconnected via his sister, we were both in a really bad place.
“For him that meant locking himself in a dark room, playing PlayStation, and not talking. He would often get clammy hands. He wasn’t good with public appearances. He would get stressed. But together we both found confidence.
“I was also shutting people out. I had come out of a relationship. I was living alone and working 12-hour shifts.
“I went through this really low lull with really low self-esteem and I had anxiety.
“I think it’s easy as a woman to compare yourself to other people too and I just was not feeling good about myself. I’ve just never felt like that in my life before.
Daily Mirror/Andy Stenning)
“But Danny really encouraged me to talk and say how I was feeling. He referred me to a therapist he was using.
“He also helped build up my confidence. I didn’t need many sessions but they really helped.
“He’d take pictures when I wasn’t aware and then show me and say, ‘Look at how beautiful you are’. It’s such a small thing but he really lifted me up.
“Now we know each other so well that we both know when something is up and we can help each other.”
Steph has been upset by people criticising Danny for going on the show when Albert is so young – but is grateful for the support of stars like Adam Thomas, his twin Scott, Jeff Hordley and actresses Lucy Pargeter and Laura Norton.
She says: “He is doing this show to provide for our family. I’ve had so many lovely messages from women whose husbands are in the Army and miss months of their children’s lives; of people who have no choice but to go to work.”
Daily Mirror/Andy Stenning)
During our chat, Danny’s pal Adam calls to check in on Steph.
“He’s been amazing,” she says. “Adam has done the show before – but had an older child. He took Danny out in Manchester and told him to go for it too.
“We’ve had so many amazing messages from Scott and others too. Lucy was ringing over Facetime in self-isolation to see how he was. Jeff – who played Cain – called the night before he went in.
“Laura even sent me a food parcel of eight frozen ready meals! They think it’s great he is wanting to do a job that’s providing for us and we’re lucky – it’s just a few weeks.
“He’s doing this show for me and our son. I’ve worked for the NHS for nearly nine years but last year I took three months out to work privately.
“It didn’t work out and I returned to the NHS, but because of that break my maternity leave pay wasn’t what I was expecting.
“I was stressed about it and Danny could see that. He didn’t want me to feel a pressure to return to work early because of the money.
“He knows I’m A Celeb could help his career and secure our future. He wants to provide for our family. I convinced him to do it.”
Danny quit Emmerdale after 13 years to try other things – possibly as a quiz show host. Steph says:
“He had such amazing storylines as Aaron but I’m A Celeb is his most challenging job yet.”
Crying On the show this week, viewers saw Danny and radio DJ Snoochie Shy tackle the Dreaded Diner challenge, munching on the likes of pig brain and goat testicles.
Steph could barely watch at home in Stockport. But her puzzled cavapoo dogs Gini and Kenny did – as they recognised Danny’s voice.
Danny referred to wanting to make his son proud.
Steph says: “I was crying. Seeing him become a dad has made me love him more than ever. Albert is such a chilled baby. Every time he looks up at me I see Danny because they have the same bright blue eyes.”
Then, with a laugh, she adds: “We can’t wait to have more kids and we want to start asap – so straight after camp!
“Albert will grow up having a great personality because of Danny.”
Steph is keeping a video diary to share with Danny when he leaves the show.
She adds: “I don’t want him to miss a moment. This way he doesn’t have to.”
As far as I’m A Celeb goes, Steph says Danny will be glad soap pals Simon Gregson and Adam Woodyatt have joined the show.
She says: “The banter, the impressions – I think, being around his actor friends, we’ll see him come into his own.”
And after that BushTucker Trial, what nosh will he fancy when he’s out? Easy, says Steph… a Full English fry-up – or a McDonald’s.