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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Nia Dalton

David Jason's family life - baby joy at 61 and discovering unknown daughter

During his incredibly successful career, Sir David Jason has chosen to keep his family largely out of the spotlight, but there are few occasions when he's opened up about his nearest and dearest.

This week, the Only Fools and Horses actor revealed to the Mirror that he has a 52-year-old daughter he knew nothing about for her entire life - and he also has a 10-year-old little grandson.

Sir David was "surprised" but "delighted" to welcome his biological child Abi and her son Charlie into his supportive family, with wife Lady Gill White, 62, and 22-year-old daughter Sophie.

The 83-year-old legendary TV star has been on somewhat of an emotional rollercoaster in his romantic life over the years. From the death of his long-term partner to becoming a dad at 61, The Mirror takes a look back at the star's romances...

The successful TV actor suffered a broken heart before he met his current wife Gill (BBC/Matt Squire)

Sad death of his former partner

Before Sir David married Gill Hinchcliffe in 2005, he was in a relationship with his girlfriend Myfanwy Talog for more than 18 years.

The couple began dating in 1977 and stayed together while he nursed her through breast cancer.

Tragically, Myfanwy lost her life to the disease and passed away in 1995, inspiring David to set up his own charity in her honour, The David Jason Trust for terminally ill children.

Becoming a father at 61

The three of them are a very close-knit and supportive family (David Jason & Gill Hinchliffe with their daughter)

Sir David met his current wife when he was acting in a popular ITV drama, A Touch of Frost, where Gill was working as a production assistant.

Over two decades ago, the couple decided to start a family, when he turned 61 and she was aged 40.

He wrote in his ­autobiography: "We were older than people conventionally are when they think about these things. The idea scared us a lot. We batted it back and forth."

But "fate answered" and they welcomed their daughter Sophie Mae into the world in 2001, despite Sir David thinking his chance had "swept by" due to his workload.

At the time, David thought Sophie was his first child - but later went on to discover that he had an unknown elder daughter.

Discovering his unknown daughter

Sir David discovered he had a newly-found daughter Abi Harris after five decades (Mirror Pictures)

It was Sir David's newly-found child Abi Harris who started to suspect the pair were related, after conversations with her actor mum Jennifer Hill.

Sir David and Jennifer's brief relationship began at the start of 1970, while they both starred in Dylan Thomas's Under Milk Wood at London's May Fair theatre.

The pair stayed in touch through a shared circle of friends and Abi was born in October that year.

She and Sir David crossed paths several times, but he had no idea they were related.

They happened to be standing beside one another at an event when she spotted they had similar side profiles, then became convinced he was her father.

She felt reluctant to broach such a sensitive subject for many years afterwards, but finally decided to bravely write Sir David a letter to ask if he would take a paternity test.

A source told the Mirror: "It's a lovely letter, which David has kept. It was light-hearted but serious, without being overwhelming.

"It was obvious whoever had written it was a nice person who just wanted to find out her heritage."

The 83-year-old agreed to take the DNA test but it still came as a complete surprise to everyone when it showed he was Abi's biological dad.

Sir David said: "My wife, Gill, and daughter, Sophie, have been very supportive and understanding and have embraced Abi and welcomed her and her young son into her now wider family."

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