She may have just turned 33, but Michelle Keegan has revealed a lot has changed since her early twenties and finding fame on Coronation Street.
The former soap star is now happily married to Mark Wright and has a string of television shows under her belt, including Our Girl, Ordinary Lives and Brassic, but it hasn’t always been easy for her growing up in the public eye.
Michelle played the role of Tina McIntyre from 2008 until 2014 and had to adjust to life as a celebrity rather quickly. Speaking to Cosmopolitan, she admitted: “It was really daunting. It happens very quickly on a soap because you’re in people’s living rooms five times a week, so people start believing they know you.
“It was scary, I was still a young girl and I was growing up in the public eye. Everyone had their own opinions – how you act, how your hair looks, what you’re wearing, how you physically look… Growing up in that was very hard and I let a lot of negative comments get to me. There’s an inner confidence now. I don’t let negative comments affect me the way that they did 12 years ago,” she added.
On the advice she would give to her younger self, Michelle continued: “It’s OK to say no and go with your instinct. I always wanted to please people but I think if something doesn’t feel right, just say no. I go with my instinct a lot now. I am still that ‘yes’ person as I don’t like upsetting anyone. But I feel like I am getting stronger. That comes with age.”
Since marrying former TOWIE star Mark back in 2015, Michelle made a conscious decision to limit what she shared on social media – and she hasn’t regretted it.
“What I’ve had to do since I got married is pull back and keep my private life for me, and I feel a lot happier and [more] settled since I made that choice,” she explained.
“At the beginning people didn’t understand it and were like, ‘You talked about it all the time four years ago’. But I feel like I have to hold things back for me because I need to regain control. A few years ago I felt like I’d lost that control.”
The happy couple have been loving life in lockdown and spending quality time together, as Michelle added: “We were saying we’d enjoyed it. It’s been nice because we’ve both been working from home. Normally we could be out all day or I have to go to Manchester or Mark is in London. I’ve been doing a jigsaw a week and I’ve taken up cycling on a proper road bike. We go out three times a week and do 11 miles!”
The Manchester-born actress has even been writing her own material, and admitted she has two ideas in the pipeline. “I’ve never had the time to sit down, write and research and I’m really enjoying the process. It’s a comedy drama and a mini-series drama.
“I had the idea for one of them a few years ago and this time has helped me get my ideas down on paper. I’ve had meetings with production companies on Zoom. Hopefully it’s something we can get off the ground. It’s exciting!”
Read the full interview with Michelle in the August issue of Cosmopolitan, which is on sale July 2.