EASTENDERS star Kellie Bright has hit back at criticism for having a child at the age of 44 as "nobody would bat an eyelid" if she was a man.
The soon-to-be mother-of-three announced she was pregnant with a "miracle" baby following IVF treatment with husband Paul Stocker.
Kellie, who plays Linda Carter in the soap and is already mum to sons Freddy, nine, and Gene, four, has been forced to clap back at criticism over having a child in her 40s.
"First of all, if I was a man having my third child at 44, no one would bat an eyelid," she told OK! magazine. "Don't forget my husband is much younger than me.
"He's in his thirties, so he's still running around after the kids, which is great. We met when I was 31 and I didn't want to jump straight into having kids."
She explained that she would've "finished having babies at the end of her thirties" if there was a chance to map out her perfect life.
"But who gets to pick their life like that?" she concluded. "We had fertilitty struggled we didn't expect and had to just deal with it."
Actress Kellie went on to reveal how the couple required IVF treatment after "struggling to get pregnant" with their second child.
The soap star said she was 39 when they tried the treatment for the first time, managing to get "four, good strong embryos", one of which became her son Gene.
Kellie and Paul then had to use the following three embryos trying for their third baby, with their "miracle" third chance working out after "the first two embryos didn't work".
She explained that the pair decided to try for a third child at the end of 2019 but their plans were put on hold by the coronavirus outbreak.
"This baby inside me now was the last one we had," she revealed. "The last chance of pregnancy, because at 44 we were not going through IVF again. It was a rollercoaster.
"I believe it was meant to be. [It was] a real roller-coaster."
Kellie has been an EastEnders star since 2013, when she joined Albert Square as Mick Carter's wife Linda.
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