British actress Celia Imrie has opened up about her quest to become a mother in her 40s, revealing she turned to actor Benjamin Whitrow to father her son because she hated the thought of marriage.
The Bridget Jones's Diary star admits in her upcoming autobiography The Happy Hoofer she never wanted to settle down with a man, but longed for a child.
Imrie told Whitrow about her plight in the early 1990s and he offered to father a child with her. The actress accepted - but the 58 year old was clear in her conditions for the deal.
In the book, she writes, "I told Ben that, although I never wanted to take that step (marriage), I did want a baby, now more than ever, before it was too late. Ben asked if I meant it. We gradually got to know each other and grew very fond. He thought perhaps in time... But because Ben had a grown-up family I was very anxious not to upset them.
"Ben and I walked on the beach one day as I laid out my terms. As long as he understood I would not ask for anything, I wouldn't want to live with him, or marry him, would never ask for money for the child and I would be responsible for choosing and paying for the child's education, accommodation, clothing - everything. If Ben could take all that on board, I said, then his offer to fulfil my wish for a child would be wonderful."
Imrie gave birth to a son, Angus, in 1994 - and now admits Whitrow has become a male role model in the teenager's life.
She adds, "He has proved to be a marvellous father to Angus. And his whole family has been very welcoming."