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My husband loves this photo so much he put it up in our bedroom; EXCLUSIVE Holby City actress Tina Hobley talks about how she keeps the spark alive in her relationship and why her daughter approves of her on-screen toyboy...

Byline: Claire O O'Boyle

It takes a fair amount of courage to pose totally nude with just a strategically placed leg to protect your modesty.

And Holby City star Tina Hobley - a mum-of-two, a couple of years shy of her 40th birthday - admits she felt nervous before turning up for our exclusive photoshoot.

"I'm 38 years old and had my second daughter just 15 months ago, so I guess exposing myself for a sexy shoot was pretty nervewracking," she says.

"But these opportunities don't come along very often, and I thought I should grab the chance while I'm still happy with my body.

"I had my fingers crossed they'd turn out well and I did want to have something to look back on when I'm older. I want my girls to have them in years to come and remember their mum really did look pretty good."

But it was husband Oliver Wheeler's reaction that put the icing on the cake for former Corrie actress Tina.

"He really loves the photos," she says. "As a surprise he got in touch with the photographer and got some professional prints done for us. They look brilliant and I was so pleased he did it because I knew he really thought I looked lovely.

"That was probably the best bit about it, that Oli really loved them. He put them up in the bedroom and I was so flattered he liked them so much."

You can see why. Tina is enviably tiny in the flesh, she caused a stir when she lost her baby weight within months of giving birth to baby Olivia in April last year.

And Tina, who has a 10 year old daughter Isabella from her previous marriage to graphic designer Steve Wallington, admits that even she was shocked by how quickly the weight fell off. "It was much quicker than with Isabella, even though that was 10 years ago and I was still in my 20s," explains Tina.

"I can't pretend it was some amazing, tough regime. I was just really busy. I was back at work after nine weeks to film a couple of Holby episodes. That keptme very active, rushing from work to my newborn baby.

"But thankfully after that the scriptwriters were able to write me out of the storyline for a couple of months so I got time to spend with the baby and to rest properly."

Although Tina says she hates vigorous exercise, she forces herself to work out to keep her body in shape.

"I have a personal trainer who comes to the house twice a week," she says. "If I had to go to the gym I'd make excuses and not bother.

"I don't like exercising just to exercise but I love cycling and walking with my family. At weekends we go away to our cottage in the Cotswolds and cycle about 20 miles over a couple of days.

"I enjoy that sort of fun exer-cise, but I can't stand sweaty workouts." Tina admits she's finding motherhood much easier the second time around.

"Since Olivia was born, it's been 15 months of complete joy. It's so much easier now I know what I'm doing," she says. "I'm so much more relaxed this time. I used to go rushing off to A&E with every little rash Isabella had, it was completely over the top!

"Some people were worried about the age gap between the girls, but actually it has been fantastic.

"It's like Olivia has two mums - she adores Isabella.

"Isabella plays games with her to keep her entertained and speaks to Olivia all the time. Olivia comes out of her room calling for 'Lala' in the mornings, looking for her big sister.

"And Oli is completely besotted with the girls. He's a very tidy guy and I think a house full of women suits him well - even though it's a bit pink for his taste!"

Tina says that although some people can be critical of mums who work when their kids are still young, she has no regrets.

"Some women feel guilty leaving the children when they're little, but I think the girls need a good role model in their mum," she says.

"They'll be proud that I had a great career and I have no qualms about that. But some days I leave the house very early and it can be difficult knowing I won't see the girls.

"Isabella and I have actually got into this little habit of leaving notes for each other if we know we're going to be apart all day. I'll write something like 'Keep smiling' or 'Have a great day' or whatever and she sees them every day."

Tina, who wed PR director Oli in December 2006 (James Blunt was an usher, natch), says the secret to their happy marriage is plenty of quality time as a couple, and with the girls.

"It's important these days when everyone is so busy," says Tina, "even if it's something as simple as going for a walk together.

"We always have dinner together and Monday is our movie night with Isabella. Neither of us has anything major to do on a Monday so that's our family night.

"Oli cooks a big dinner like lasagne or noodles and we spend the evening together and just having a laugh.

"Then Wednesday night is our date night. He books theatre tickets or a table at a restaurant. Or perhaps we'll go out for drinks with friends.

"Oli is amazing at that sort of thing. I'm less organised but we make sure we get some proper social time to keep having fun with one another."

And she's certainly having fun at work as well. Holby fans have seen Tina's character nurse Chrissie Williams invite hunky new toyboy Oliver (played by James Anderson) out for a drink.

Next week viewers will see Mark catch them flirting and quiz Chrissie about her feelings for Oliver. "James is absolutely gorgeous so I'm having a real giggle," Tina says.

"He's only 26 - 12 years younger than me - so it's a bit of a gap! And I even got Isabella's approval - she came to the set and asked if she could meet him. She said he has beautiful eyes, so at least she understands!

"Chrissie is having a lot of fun with him. But deep down she's really hoping to find true love - she's been quite unlucky so far. She's not getting any younger and she's worried about missing out on kids. Our lives really are very different."

Tina, who describes her relationship with her second husband as feeling so right it's "like a great pair of jeans", says single women shouldn't waste time hunting for Mr Right.

"People shouldn't put their lives on hold," she says. "It can be very off-putting if someone is clearly looking for a serious rela-tionshifrom the first moment. It puts a lot of pressure on things that are tricky enough already.

"Just relax and enjoy what you're doing and, although it sounds cheesy, love will find you.

"I was certainly not expecting it when I met Oli. We met at a polo match and things just developed from there."

And, four years on, it's clear he still fancies the pants off her...



IN LOVE: With husband Oliver ROMANCE: With James on Holby ALL SMILES: With kids
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 18, 2009
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