Rescue dogs and surviving Covid: Emmerdale’s Liam Fox and wife Joanna Hudson-Fox detail their first year of marriage

Emmerdale’s Liam Fox and his actress wife Joanna Hudson-Fox may have spent the majority of their first year of marriage in lockdown, but as they exclusively talk to OK! it becomes clear they have certainly made the most of it.

As well as moving into a new four-bedroom home in Cheshire, the couple have also welcomed a new addition to their family. In this open and honest interview – only available for OK! VIP members – Liam and Joanna open the doors to their home and reveal their hopes to expand their family further by fostering.

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When Liam Fox and Joanna Hudson-Fox tied the knot in February 2020, they never imagined they’d spend most of their first year of marriage in lockdown.

But just over a year after their big day, which was exclusively covered by OK!, it’s clear the couple have made the most of it.

Emmerdale star Liam, 50, and actress Joanna, 46, have bought their first home together and made another addition to their family – Barry the rescue shih-tzu, who joins their Staffordshire bull terrier Hope and Lhasa apso-Jack Russell cross Teddy.

And as they exclusively open up their four-bed house in Cheshire in these self-shot images – which Joanna even slipped her wedding dress back on for – Liam says they are also looking into fostering.

The actor, who plays Dan Spencer in the ITV soap, is already father to Jemma, 30, and Ben 21, from his previous marriage to actress Nicole Barber-Lane.

Sadly, there have also been some tough times, as both have had Covid-19 and Liam lost his dad to pneumonia in February. Here, they reflect on their first year as man and wife…

Hi, both! What’s been highlight of your first year of marriage?

Joanna: I’ve got to say Barry! He’s our baby.

Liam: His full name is Barry Huw Pumpkin The Third! He’s another rescue dog from Many Tears Animal Rescue in Wales.

Joanna: We’re passionate that people should rescue animals. We’ve just got him neutered, which is the ethical thing to do with so many unwanted dogs in rescue and dog theft on the increase.

Liam: The highlights have definitely been the new pup and the new house – but also surviving it! I’ve known Joanna for donkey’s years but when you’re married you’re usually at work all day. We’ve managed to spend nearly 365 days together without killing each other, which is a bonus!

What’s your favourite memory of your wedding?

Joanna: The after-party. We had this amazing drag artist called Vivienne Lynsey. It was just the time for us to relax after the madness of the day.

Liam: Loads of people said it was their last party before everything shut down.

How has it felt to spend most of your first year of marriage in lockdown?

Liam: It’s been a nightmare [laughs]. No, it’s been alright, aside from us both getting the virus after Christmas.

Joanna: We had so much luck in other ways. It’s like we’ve had the longest honeymoon ever! But getting Covid was like, “Right, the honeymoon period really is over now!”

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How were you both?

Liam: Jojo was worse than me. I was meant to be in work and I had a headache and sore throat, so I got a test. I missed out on a storyline, so I haven’t been in work since November. But in fairness I’m one of those characters that’s busy for short periods then used sparingly. I’m happy to fade into the background from time to time.

Joanna, you have a condition called myasthenia gravis that causes muscle weakness. Do you think that played a part in Covid hitting you harder?

Joanna: I don’t know. I feel lucky. I think the apprehension was almost worst. When you know you have it, the thought of how bad it’s going to get is frightening. Then the fatigue kicked in and that was like nothing I’ve ever experienced.

How has filming been this past year?

Liam: There’s been lot of camaraderie but I miss seeing my mates. Fiona [Wade] and Bhasker [Patel] are my best mates. Bhasker organised my stag do!

I love Emmerdale and I love the people more than anything. It’s the nicest place to work. I miss the Spencers and Kelly Hollis and Alycia Eyo. It’s great when you’re busy but when you’re not, you need to do other things.

We built a recording studio in the house to do voiceovers and I’ve been writing a series. It’s not been placed but I’ve got close. I’m now turning that into a film.


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You’ve been in a few episodes of Emmerdale, Joanna. Have you auditioned for any other soaps?

Joanna: I auditioned for Corrie. That was a lovely couple of scenes and it was going to be with Peter Barlow but then it was the third lockdown and things changed.

I’d love to do more Emmerdale. I know with social distancing on soaps they’ve brought in real-life partners for scenes – but I don’t know if Liam would want that!

He’s said if I was on it he’d want me in a different family [laughs]. I’ve also done online role-play work. This afternoon, I’m being a pirate for an online kids’ party! I’ve started a business called Balloons And Events By Jojo.

You previously said kids aren’t out of the question. Are you still thinking about it?

Liam: We’ve talked about fostering. We’ve talked to mates who have fostered 130 kids over 20 years. We have the space to do it here now so we’re going to talk about it more.

Joanna: I’m the one who wakes up if the dogs are crying, so if we had an actual baby, who would be looking after the child?! We’re also in a different phase of our lives now.

Liam: If Jojo was in her early thirties and wanted a kid, I’d be up for having another one. But she’s not desperate to have children. I also think I’d find it hard that I’d be in my seventies by the time they left the house.

Joanna: Yeah, we’re probably over halfway through our lives now and that whole mortality thing kicks in. I guess I’ve spent most of my life waiting for the next acting job and thinking, “I can’t do that because what if I get an audition?”

Because I haven’t had children, I’ve travelled. But there are so many places Liam is keen to go, so fostering would be the best fit. I think to start, we’ll try weekend respite care.

You’ve known each other since university but didn’t get together until 2017. Do you think it was meant to be?

Liam: When I met Jojo in 1993, I knew there was something there before we’d even spoken.

I knew the minute we got together in 2017 that I was going to be with her, sometimes you just know. When we started dating, we went for dinner and the two shops opposite were called Carpe Diem and Love Jo, and we thought that was a bit of a sign.

We needed to go off and have our own lives. I don’t think it would have worked if we’d got together earlier.

Joanna: I’d come out of my 12-year relationship. I wouldn’t change how it happened.

Liam: I was with Nicole 18 years. Things have to end sometimes and you don’t have to get angry about that. We’re still all good.

Do Ben and Jemma live with you, Liam?

Liam: Jemma lives with her partner. Ben lived with us during lockdown and has been doing his college work. He seems to have plenty of women on the phone, unlike his dad at that age!

We’re so sorry to hear you lost your dad, Liam…

Liam: We’re sad but I honestly feel he’s at peace now. We’re happy he had the experience of our wedding, which he said was the best party of his life.

He got pneumonia a few months after mild Covid-19 but his years of depression and alcoholism had destroyed his body. The infection proved too much. He was a great dad but once me and my sister were teens the depression and drinking slowly took a grip.

We tried to save him with the help of a community care team but it was never enough.

We’d see glimpses of him between the drinking but when he lost his partner in 2016 he never fully recovered. He drank to cover a pain that seemed to never go away.

When did you move into your new home?

Liam: Just before the third lockdown. Doing things just in time has been the story of our lives over the past year. We got married just in time, went on honeymoon just in time and moved in just in time.

Have you finished decorating or is there more to do?

Liam: It has a massive loft space, so we’ll put a bathroom up there and a bedroom-come-cinema.

Joanna: I’d also like a hot tub.

We love your “Be kind” sign…

Joanna: The company that did the personalised neon sign for
our wedding sent it. All the profits go to a mental health charity.

Liam: It’s a really important message. I ignore negativity and all that troll nonsense but some people can’t.

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