Ayden Callaghan removed from Hollyoaks stillbirth scenes after tragically losing own baby

Ayden Callaghan - who plays Joe Roscoe in Hollyoaks - asked producers to remove him from the heartbreaking stillbirth scenes

Ayden Callaghan as Joe Roscoe

by Kayleigh Dray |
Published on

As Hollyoaks fans will remember, Mercedes McQueen (Jennifer Metcalfe) tragically lost her and Joe Roscoe’s unborn baby in tearjerking stillbirth scenes last year.

To do the storyline justice, the soapstar worked alongside two stillbirth charities, Sands and Kicks Count, to prepare for the heartbreaking storyline.

She said in a statement: "I'm honoured to have been given this storyline to raise awareness of such an important cause.

Kicks Count is a fantastic charity, which aims to teach expectant mothers about noticing changes in their pregnancy to reduce the risk of stillbirth.

"And working with Sands has helped me understand how Mercedes would cope with life after her baby has died.”

As fans will undoubtedly remember, Mercedes was forced to go through the ordeal without the support of Joe, after she lied and told him that the baby wasn’t his.

Now, speaking almost a year after the scenes aired, Ayden Callaghan’s girlfriend, Sarah-Jane Honeywell, has revealed that the actor specifically asked to be removed from the storyline.

The couple had endured a devastating miscarriage in 2012 and, unsurprisingly, the scenes felt a little too close to home for the pair of them.

Writing in an emotional blog, Sarah explained: “Ayden was going to be involved in a storyline on the soap he works at, where he would be the father of a stillborn baby and it would be filming around the time I was due to give birth.

"It's wonderful that soap operas cover the heartbreaking, barely talked about subject of stillbirth. If it's done well it can help all of us deal with it – but of all the actors in the show, I wished with all my heart that it didn't have to be Ayden that was doing it.”

She added: “I hadn't even thought about the possibility of a still birth until then, but now it was firmly in my mind.

“I couldn't even look at baby things or clothes without having blackouts. I stopped putting on weight and on scans Phoenix had stopped growing. At this point I begged Ayden, was there any way he could not do that storyline. I knew I was being irrational but I couldn't help it and it was making me and therefore, our baby ill.”

At the time, Ayden had no idea how his request would be received - and the couple even feared that he would be axed from the soap.

However the Hollyoaks team responded to the grieving dad’s request with kindness and sensitivity.

Sarah added: “Now, it is absolutely unheard of for an actor to ask to be written out of a storyline and I'd say 99% of them wouldn't do it for their family.

“He didn't know if he would be sacked, blacklisted and he certainly knew that he would lose money – but he loved me and the baby he hadn't even met so much that he put his whole career on the line for us.”

The couple went on to welcome a healthy baby boy in November last year, whom they called Phoenix.

Their little boy’s name means “reborn from the ashes” - which we’re sure has an extra-special poignancy to both Ayden and Sarah-Jane following their previous pregnancy trauma.

Speaking to OK!, Sarah explained: "We had a miscarriage last year.

"You don't realise how devastating something like that is until you've been through it.

“It made me really superstitious this time around. I wouldn't even let Ayden take the cot out of the box until a few months before my due date."

Thankfully Phoenix arrived safe and well - although his birth was not without difficulties.

Despite planning for a natural birth, Sarah was forced to undergo a C-section.

She said: "I got to the hospital at about 5am on the Tuesday morning and didn't go in for my C-section until 7.30pm that evening.

"In that time, I was in so much pain. They gave me gas and air but that made me go a bit loopy and I started hallucinating.

“I know it sounds silly but I was convinced the nurses were using their machines to turn up the pain."

Thank goodness everything went swimmingly - we’re so glad to see that the little family are happier than ever!

Ayden Callaghan is one of the wonderful celebrity dads nominated for Closer’s Dad Of The Year Awards 2016.

Click here if you would like to vote for him to win the title.

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