Emmerdale actor Danny Miller and his girlfriend Steph Jones have had quite the start to 2021. Not only did the pair kick off the year by getting engaged on the beach in St Lucia, but just a month later the couple found out they were expecting their first child together after a year of trying to conceive.
In this open and honest interview – only available for OK! VIP members – Danny and midwife Steph talk exclusively to OK! about Danny's surprise proposal and how they were just days away from beginning IVF treatment when they found out their incredible news.
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Millions know him as hot-headed Aaron Dingle on Emmerdale, but away from the soap, actor Danny Miller has a softer side.
And this was never more clear than when the 30-year-old popped the question to his girlfriend Steph Jones over a romantic candlelit dinner in St Lucia earlier this year.
“I thought I was going to be sick because I was so nervous,” laughs Danny as we join him and midwife Steph on an exclusive shoot near their home in Manchester.
But it’s not just their engagement that we’re celebrating, as little did the couple know that just a month later they’d be preparing to become parents when Steph discovered she was expecting their first child.
The news was all the more special as the pair were just days away from starting IVF after a year of trying to conceive naturally.
“We’ve done so many tests that were negative, so I wasn’t expecting it to be positive. I couldn’t believe it,” smiles Steph, who is due in October.
Here, Danny and Steph, 29, who have been together for two years but first met in primary school, open up about Danny’s beach proposal, their journey to conceive and the moment Danny found out he was going to be a dad on the Emmerdale set…
Congratulations on your pregnancy and engagement! You’ve had quite the start to 2021…
Danny: It’s been amazing. We’ve had a lot of time to process it so it’s finally sunk in now.
Steph: Now more people know it’s even more exciting. It’s becoming more real.
How did you feel when you found out you were going to be parents?
Danny: It was unbelievable because we’d been told it probably wasn’t going to happen for us naturally, so we just feel so incredibly lucky. We’re very humbled by it as we know not everyone is as lucky.
Steph: It was a massive surprise because emotionally we’d been psyching ourselves up for IVF. It was meant to be. We got engaged at the beginning of January and found out we were expecting in February.
Wow! What made you take a test, Steph?
Steph: I was at work and my boobs were really sore and I felt really bloated. I was also late on my period so I nipped home when my clinic finished and before I started home visits, and something told me to do a test.
We’ve done so many tests that were negative so I wasn’t expecting it to be positive – I couldn’t believe it! I was shaking and trying to ring Danny, but he wasn’t answering because he was on set.
Danny: We were filming the barn explosion storyline. When I saw how many times she had rang me I had a feeling. I thought, either she’s pregnant or something serious is going on.
Usually my phone is on flight mode but that day I knew she wasn’t feeling good, she hadn’t had her period and we were just about to start the IVF, so I just put it on silent.
I had to text her saying I couldn’t speak, but she replied saying ring me but with three Ns and four Es!
What happened next?
Danny: The next take was long but then luckily they turned the cameras off and I said to the first assistant I was going to make a call. I rang Steph and she was laughing but crying and I just knew. With us being with the IVF consultant the day before, I was in complete shock. I started crying. It’s making me emotional to think about it now. I bought another pregnancy test on the way home, not that she had to prove it, but I just wanted that moment for us.
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How close were you to starting IVF?
Steph: We were waiting for the drugs to be delivered. I was waiting for my period because day one is when you start your first cycle of your IVF drugs.
We’d been trying for a year and doing ovulation tests so we knew we were trying on the correct day.
Then we started Clomid medication because I have polycystic ovary syndrome, so it was to regulate my periods and increase my progesterone as it was low.
I’d previously been told that, because I have PCOS, if we were trying for six months and it didn’t happen then they would refer me to the hospital gynaecologist to investigate my fertility.
I knew the consultant really well and had worked with her for 10 years. She put me on the Clomid but it still wasn’t happening and the medication wasn’t increasing my progesterone so she referred us for the IVF.
We’d had the scan, my bloods taken and all the consultations, then, two days after the scan and a day after the last consultation, I found out I was pregnant!
That’s amazing! Was it hard when you were trying and not conceiving?
Danny: After a lot of trying and difficult periods when it’s not working for you, I think you start to lose hope. I was almost blaming myself for it and thinking, “Is it me who is not working?” And Steph was doing the same.
Steph: It feels a lot longer when you’re trying, and each month you’re tracking your periods and your ovulation. It becomes quite difficult and clinical. It puts a lot of pressure on you both as you know you have to work to certain days.
When you get the negative test each month, you start to lose hope. But just having the IVF referral was almost a relief because we knew that could be our best chance.
I think that almost took the stress off us a bit. But I was very anxious up until the 12-week scan. After that it felt like a weight had been lifted.
Was it difficult doing your job when you were trying for a family yourself, Steph?
Steph: Not really because I can completely separate the two. I’ve never compared it to myself. My role is to support the women and you feel so happy for them.
Some of them will have had a really difficult time themselves getting pregnant. It’s funny because I can be advising women on the early symptoms in pregnancy and then I’m experiencing the same ones, but it feels different with me. I have to double check with my midwife!
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How have you been feeling?
Steph: I’ve been very sick. It hit at seven weeks. Danny has had to pull over in Morrisons’ car park and the side of the motorway! He’s been so helpful though. He’s even taught me a few things because he’s been reading loads of books about home remedies.
Danny: Steph obviously knows so much about everything so I wanted to be able to support her however I could.
Are you going to find out the sex?
Steph: Danny wanted to find out but I didn’t, so we agreed not to. Just from my experience at births, the moment the parents find out is so special.
Would you like more than one child?
Danny: In a dream world I’d like three or four.
Steph: I’d like three.
How does it feel to know your baby will now be at your wedding?
Steph: It’s amazing to think about. That’s what Danny wanted. It makes it feel even more exciting.
Danny: I said we should delay it until they can walk, because it would be amazing if they could be stood up with me or walk down the aisle with Steph. We’ve put it back, because of the little one, as we didn’t expect we would have a baby so soon.
We’ve always been a fan of getting married abroad and having the sun, sea and sand with us and both our families.
Tell us about the engagement…
Danny: Steph is 30 in October and I originally planned to do it then but it all just happened on the holiday that Steph booked for my 30th in St Lucia. We originally went into the jewellers there as I was buying myself a watch for my birthday, and then Steph was attracted to the rings.
Steph: Danny said, “Put them away now!” so I didn’t think it was going to happen. Danny told me it would be a while before he proposed at the beginning of the holiday to throw me off the scent.
Danny: Once I saw the look on her face when she spotted this specific ring and how beautiful it was, everything just slotted into place and I thought, “It’s obviously supposed to happen here.”
But it was a nightmare trying to get rid of Steph to go back to the jewellers to get the ring. We had a candlelit dinner booked on the beach for the second to last night, so that seemed like the perfect time.
Did it all go to plan?
Danny: Well, I was really nervous…
Steph: He was so nervous during the meal. I think he went to the toilet seven times. I said, “Do you think you might have a urine infection?” [Laughs] He was acting strange.
Danny: Other than going to the toilet seven times I also thought I was going to be sick at one point. We’d paid a fortune for the meal and I couldn’t even eat it because I was that nervous.
Steph: Then I turned around and Danny was down on one knee. I was shaking. It didn’t feel real at first.
Danny: As I got down on one knee, the music cut out, which I didn’t know if they’d done on purpose, but it was quite loud up until that point, and then Adele’s When We Were Young came on. As we met in primary school, it felt very fitting.
Steph: He was my first love. We’ve said we’ll have to have it as our first dance song. He’d even asked my mum and dad [for permission], too.
Danny: I’m quite old school. I had to FaceTime her parents and then I called my parents. In the end it went better than planned – it was perfect.
Were there any tears?
Steph: Oh yeah, Danny can be tearful at the best of times.
Danny: I am a bit of an emotional guy. I think it was the relief. I knew she was going to say yes, but I just thought, “Thank God that’s over and we can celebrate.” I felt like I’d been in a fight as I was emotionally knackered because I’d been so tense all day.
Will you invite any of your Emmerdale co-stars to the wedding, Danny?
Danny: Numbers depending obviously, but there are a lot of people I’m close to, particularly the Dingles. I’m also really close to some past cast members like Kelvin [Fletcher] and Adam and his brother Ryan [Thomas], so it would be amazing to have them there.
I’ve watched their kids grow up and seen how amazing they are as dads. I’ll definitely be asking them for advice about bringing kids up in the business as it’s not a normal situation.
I’m also still in touch with Ryan [Hawley, who played Aaron’s former husband, Robert]. We speak a lot and I know he’ll be over the moon for us that we’re going to be parents.
You joined Emmerdale 13 years ago. Can you see yourself being there for life?
Danny: I don’t know if they’d have me for life [laughs]! I wouldn’t really call it a job because I love it so much. My priorities have changed now and everything is about providing for the family and if that’s what’s going to provide for the family, then so be it.
Steph is now running midwife blog The Online Midwife via the Instagram page @youronlinemidwife
Danny and Steph have both received treatment at Ruh Dental in Manchester. For more information, visit ruhdental.com.
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