Emmerdale Cathy star’s life – real age, co-star brother and emotional soap exit

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    Emmerdale’s Cathy Hope recently returned to the village following her mental health battle.

    Struggling after battling heavy periods and severe mood changes, the teen left to go and stay with her half-brother Scott Windsor in the Lake District.

    The teenager was told she may be experiencing Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, although a diagnosis is not yet confirmed.

    READ MORE: Emmerdale emotional exit, Coronation Street drugs horror and Hollyoaks death fears

    As a tearful Cathy opens up to Wendy about her continuing struggles, Daily Star has taken a look at what actress Gabrielle Dowling gets up to away from the soap.

    Co-star brother

    As eagle-eyed fans of Emmerdale will know, Gabrielle and Sebastian Dowling – who plays Heath Hope – are twins in real life.

    Though rumours were rife earlier this year that Heath had been replaced by another actor after he debuted a hair transformation on screen, Sebastian has played the role since he was a baby.

    The pair joined Emmerdale in 2007.

    However, despite their young age, Gabrielle and Sebastian didn’t originate the roles of Cathy and Heath. The twins were originally played by Ella Whitehouse Downes and Lilith Kitching for the first few episodes, as Sebastian had to remain in hospital for an extra week after his birth.

    Gabrielle and Sebastian also have an older brother, Oliver.

    Landing role at four weeks old

    Gabrielle and her brother Sebastian have played the roles of Cathy and Heath their whole lives – landing the job when they were both just four weeks old.

    Gabrielle told Metro.co.uk about her time in the role: “I’ve enjoyed having the opportunity to build the role that I’ve grown up with and develop the character of Cathy whilst learning from experienced actors and directors.

    “I’ve been in the soap since I was four weeks old so it’s second nature to me. It’s one big family, everyone gets on and it’s a great atmosphere to work in.”

    The star continued: "The studio and village have been a huge part of my life along with my brother’s. Having celebrated birthdays on set allowed me to feel close with the people around me and showed me how much of a family we are."

    Crying on cue

    Due to the dramatic nature of a soap like Emmerdale, it’s not surprising that the twins have had to shed a few tears.

    Their mum Louise Dowling committed the pair to their roles as long as work didn’t interfere too much with their home life. And Gabrielle and Sebastian were both well behaved while on set.

    That meant producers had to do something to make them able to cry on cue.

    Mum Louise said: “They sometimes want them to cry, which can be difficult because they don't really cry much unless they're hungry."

    In order to get them to cry, the film crew would give each of the babies a bottle before yanking it away – but mum Louise was fine with it.

    She said: “It's only for a few seconds while they film. I'm chilled out about it."

    Their mum was a star in her own right, having been a professional dancer, and confirmed the twins weren’t initially tied into a contract.

    Louise explained: “You don't get opportunities like this every day and it will be something for them to look back on when they are older.

    “I was a bit dubious at first because I wasn't sure what my husband would think about it. But Emmerdale has been fantastic.”

    Real age

    In Emmerdale, the twins are both 16 years old, having been born in February 2007.

    In real life, however, Gabrielle and Sebastian are both 17, less than a year older than their soap characters.

    They were born in December 2006, which makes them Capricorns.

    Emmerdale airs weeknights on ITV1 and ITVX at 7.30pm

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