Coronation Street actress Kimberly Hart-Simpson, who plays Nicky Wheatley in the long-running soap, made a return to the Weatherfield earlier this year much to the delight of her fans.
The character first appeared in June 2020 when she met the recently widowed Daniel Osbourne (Rob Mallard), but left four months later to start a new life with her daughter.
Now back on the cobbles, the 34-year old has reprised her role with Nicky working as a teaching assistant alongside Daniel at Weatherfield High. However, that began to fall apart last week when Max Turner (Harry McDermott) overheard Daniel and his new girlfriend rowing in the street about his past relationship with Nicky and her previous work.
Max subsequently leaked a video and pictures of Nicky working in the sex trade, which led to her being hauled into Mrs Crawshaw's (Carla Mendonca) office and losing her job. But things are only going to get worse for Nicky, who discovers the gazette is preparing to publish an article about her.
Kimberly's life, however, is much less dramatic than that of her on-screen persona. A big fan of the soap, she previously told the Manchester Evening News : "This is not for everyone, but I like vision boards, things that I want in my life I want to see in front of me on the daily - it gives me direction and purpose.
"On the day of getting the call about Corrie, I'd just done a vision board of the 10 things that I want in my life in general, and Corrie went back on there, and I pinned it up and I wrote the reason. I wrote what it would feel like, how I got the call, what would happen next and who I told first - this is all part of something I read online."
She continued: "I did that, and within two hours I got the call to see whether I wanted to go back! "Whether that be the power of my boards, I don't know, but I think that solidified me, having that vision. I make no secret of the fact that this is where I want to be in life. I love this show, and this has been by far the best job I've ever had."
And when Kimberly first landed the role of Nicky she revealed it was a particularly special moment as it was her father's dying wish.
At the time she told the Sun : "I've been watching Coronation Street from the womb. I have been brought up on it. No one would dare ring our house phone when Corrie was on. My dad was a massive Corrie fan. Every time I went to him, even if I hadn’t seen him in a month, he'd want me to shut up while it was on. I think it might have mattered more to him than I did.
"Unfortunately, I lost my dad in 2007. One of the last things he said to me was, 'Just do me a favour and get on Corrie, love.' We had that shared connection with it."
After leaving Corrie in 2020, meanwhile, she appeared in the E4 reality series Celebs Go Dating: The Mansion. At the time she confessed that she wasn't fussed about what gender her future partner might be, telling the Mirror: "I have dated people who are male, female, transgender. Gender is completely irrelevant to me.
"We're all on different spectrums. There are many qualities about me I would deem just as much male as female. It's about the person, not what sex they were born. I just fancy everybody."
Kimberly would later reveal in January 2021 that she was pansexual, but has since told the Sunday People that she received cruel memes after coming out. Despite such hurtful messages she took the reaction in her stride.
"I've had a couple of memes. Me holding a Tefal pan, because I'm 'pan-sexual', but that's all right," she said. "People saying it's a stunt are not my problem. That's their problem."
Away from acting Kimberly is a businesswoman having established a fashion company, Hart-Work, in 2018. All the items it sells have been handmade by the star herself.
Kimberly explains how she got into making clothes. She said: "Working as a professional actor for over a decade, I picked up a sewing machine in 2018 when work was dry, but my creative mind wasn't! Hours of YouTube videos and a couple of dodgy garms later, I discover I had the patience and steady hand to create. Fortunate enough to get my work on the red carpet at The Soap Awards 2018 I knew I had given birth to a new obsession; Hart-Work!"
In addition she regularly picks up items from a charity shop before breathing new life into them and sharing the end result on her Instagram account. In February Kimberly wowed fans after posting a picture of herself in a faux-leather crop-top that she had snapped up for just £2.
Kimberly went on to add that whilst away from Corrie she had been putting in shifts in the British Heart Foundation store. "I've gone to their shops near me for years, not just to shop but to chat with the staff because I became friends with them," she told the Mirror.
"The charity have done a big volunteering drive as the numbers of shop volunteers they had fell after lockdown, so I've been doing it around my schedule and it’s become a home from home to me."
Kimberly also revealed that her older sister Emma Simpson was diagnosed with a chronic heart condition a few years ago.
She added that donations to the charity helped save her life as they go towards funding scientific research for new medicines and other treatments for people affected by heart problems.
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