Inside Innocent star Katherine Kelly’s life from Royal bond to marriage split

Ex-Coronation Street star Katherine Kelly shot to fame for playing her lively barmaid character of Becky McDonald.

The beloved actress, 41, graced our screens in 2006 on the ITV soap and was initially only meant to stay on the show for a brief stint – even destined to be killed off at one point.

But although she was originally cast in the role for three months, she ended up staying in Corrie for six years and signed an 18-month contract at the time.

She was inspired by her nan and dad's old Yorkshire phrases and drew inspiration from them.

On top of that, she took her former co-star Bradley Walsh's advice to "just go for it".

Katherine had studied acting at RADA, a top London drama school and had even been a part of the Royal Shakespeare Company, so Coronation Street was a big genre change for the star.

Katherine, whose first TV job was in an episode of Last of The Summer Wine, said: "I was playing all these princesses – now I'm Becky."

Becky soon became a Corrie favourite, and became friends with Roy and Hayley Cropper on the show – marrying Steve McDonald.

After six successful years on the cobbles with her ex-jailbird character, Katherine departed from the show in 2012 to explore other TV projects.

She had previously said that moving on from Corrie was "one of the hardest decisions" of her life and that she loved Coronation Street and everyone there.

She added: "I have had the most blissful five years. I wouldn't change one moment of it – but it feels like the time is right to say goodbye to Becky".

After leaving Corrie, Katherine's first role was in the BBC Four biopic The Best Possible Taste.

She bagged her next major role as the fancy Lady Loxley in ITV drama Mr Selfridge, before joining the show Happy Valley.

Katherine has racked up her ITV Drama credits having appeared in Cheat, Him and in the second series of Liar.

But away from the acting world, she actually has some very strong Royal links as she is childhood friends with Mike Tindall, who is married to Zara Tindall, The Queen's granddaughter.

Katherine was even at school in Wakefield with the former England rugby player and the pair lived in the same village before they moved south.

Katherine told YOU Magazine: "He was amazing at rugby and I was good at drama and we were both really dedicated, so there would be nights where we would be out at a club 'til two in the morning with everybody, but we’d be on soft drinks because he’d got a match and I’d got rehearsals the next morning."

Katherine – who is a mum of two young girls with her ex-husband Ryan Clark – Orla and Rose – was not only a superstar guest at Mike and Zara's wedding in July 2011, but she is also godmother to their daughter Lena.

And adorably, Katherine's eldest daughter Orla has Mike as her godfather.

On Mike and Zara, Katherine said: "I go out quite a lot with Zara and Mike and they are unbelievable fun.

"Zara is lovely, she's really l down to earth and lively, they're made for each other."

Opening up about Ryan, Katherine has said: "I met Ryan at my best friend’s wedding in Australia. But he was with someone else and I’d only split up with my boyfriend of six years the week before," she told Daily Mail’s YOU Magazine in 2016.

"We became good mates first because he was part of my friend’s circle and I’d see him whenever I was visiting her. Then when I went back, he was single and so was I, so it was lovely to get together romantically at last."

Katherine married Ryan, who is a digital analyst, in a private ceremony in Las Vegas back in 2013.

On her wedding, she said: "It was awesome. I’ll never forget that moment for the rest of my life."

Sadly, the couple announced in August 2020 that they had split up after seven years of marriage.

A spokesperson for the pair said: "Katherine and Ryan have made the difficult decision to separate.

"They see it as a positive move for both of them and the separation is completely amicable."

The former couple remains on good terms and keep in contact so they can co-parent their daughters.

Katherine has since moved back up north to Barnsley from London to be closer to her family.

And excitingly, the actress is currently starring in Innocent, a new four-part crime series on ITV where she is taking on the role of former teacher Sally.

Sally was wrongly convicted of murder and sentenced to a minimum of 15 years in jail for the death of a schoolboy she was also accused of having an affair with.

Although she gets cleared of the horrific crime, it means the real killer is still out there, so Sally must reclaim her life, and sets out to help the police find the real murderer.

On the show, Katherine explained: "Sally’s got a tricky relationship with her ex-husband, but she’s still wearing her wedding ring, because he’s the love of her life and always has been.

"The through line for her is she says that everything was taken away from her for no good reason and she wants it back. That really rang true to me. She is fighting for what she feels is fair and right, the injustice."

Innocent airs at 9pm tonight on ITV and continues every day until Thursday (20 May).

  • Coronation Street
  • ITV

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