Patsy and Richard’s vital stats:
- Patsy Palmer (real name Julie Anne Harris), born 26 May 1972
- Richard Merkell, DOB unknown
Patsy and Richard’s children:
- Charley, born 9 February 1992. Charley is from Patsy’s previous relationship with boxer Alfie Rothwell.
- Fenton, born 13 June 2000
- Emilia, born 7 July 2001
- Bertie, born 8 December 2010
1992 – 1998
In 1992, Patsy Palmer became a mum for the first time when her and then boyfriend boxer Alfie Rothwell welcomed a baby boy named Charley. The couple parted ways soon after the birth, leaving Patsy, then 20, as a single mum.
When Patsy was 21, she got her TV break, taking the role of Bianca Jackson in the soap EastEnders.
Patsy met director Nick Love when he was directing her in film where she played a pregnant prostitute. They married in 1998, and the marriage lasted 5 months.
1999 – 2004
After making waves in EastEnders and then taking a career break in 1999 to spend more time with her son, Patsy married her second husband, cab driver Richard Merkell, in 2000.
Patsy and Richard had been friends for 14 years before they got together. It’s Richard who Patsy credits for getting her through the drug and alcohol additions she battled in her 20s. “He’s given me what I’ve always really wanted – a real family,” Patsy said of her husband Richard.
Soon after the pair wed, Patsy gave birth to their first child together, a boy named Fenton.
Baby Fenton arrived by caesarean on 13 June 2000, 3 weeks early. During her pregnancy with Fenton, Patsy admitted she suffered from pregnancy migraines – something fellow celebrity mum Holly Willoughby also suffered during her 2nd pregnancy.
Patsy became pregnant for the 3rd time (her and Richard’s 2nd) and revealed she wouldn’t be stripping off and showing her baby bump to all, like certain other celeb mums.
“I’m pregnant and proud!” Patsy said. “Of course I am, why shouldn’t I be? And I’m showing it, I’m sticking out my belly button. Mind you, I’m not tempted to do a Demi Moore.”
Seven months into Patsy’s 3rd pregnancy she found out she was suffering from vasa praevia.
On July 7, 2001, Patsy and Richard welcomed their 2nd baby together, this time a girl named Emilia. Baby Emilia was born by caesarean at London’s Portland Hospital, 2 weeks early.
Talking about how she had her two babies so close together, Patsy said, “I was pregnant for 14 months out of 18 and I think my body needs a bit of a rest!”
Patsy and her family moved to Brighton in 2004 where she still lives today.
2009 – 2010
In 2009, Patsy admitted she was thinking about adopting after taking part in the celebrity version of The Apprentice for Comic Relief.
“I could think about having another baby but why would I do that when I have 3 already and there are kids out there who need parents,” Patsy said at the time.
However, in 2010, Patsy, whose soap character was a mum-of-4, made her work a reality when she announced she was pregnant with her 4th baby.
“We can confirm that Patsy is pregnant and delighted,” an EastEnders spokesperson said at the time.
In December 2010, after Patsy was crowned ‘Mum of the Year,’ it was revealed she’d given birth to her 4th baby, a boy named Bertie, 3 weeks early.
“Patsy’s waters broke a few weeks ago and she was rushed to hospital. To be on the safe side she stayed in,” a source said at the time. Patsy had to stay in a Brighton hospital for 3 weeks and unveiled her little bundle of joy on the cover of Hello! magazine a few weeks after Bertie was allowed home.
Soon after Patsy showed off baby Bertie, she revealed she was leaving EastEnders. Apparently her daughter Emilia begged her to quit after the controversial baby swap plot.
“Emilia adores her new baby brother Bertie and she couldn’t believe something like that could happen,” Patsy said. “She was sobbing and kept saying, ‘Please don’t go back there, Mummy.'”
Around 7 months after Patsy gave birth to Bertie, she spoke about her post-baby. “I’m curvier than I was but I’m proud of my body,” she said.
“My hips are wider, my boobs are bigger and I still can’t fit into some of my old clothes. But I like the shape I am and I am proud of my body.”
As for looking good post-baby, Patsy claimed it was down to, “A spray tan and some Spanx body shaping tights. They are my lifesavers.”
Despite Patsy previously saying she didn’t want her eldest son, Charley, to go into the acting business – “I don’t want him to be an actor. It’s too insecure. So I’m pleased he’s got lots of other talents” – she later admitted she hoped he would bag a role in EastEnders.
“I’d be really happy for him to be in EastEnders. It’s quite old-fashioned and they are strict. They really look after young actors,” Patsy said.
“I’m very happy for him to follow in my footsteps, just so long as he wants to act and doesn’t have a notion of just wanting to be famous.”