TWO years ago, Jorgie Porter admitted that she could not see motherhood in her future.
“I don’t get excited about babies,” she said in an interview at the time. “The thought of raising a human is daunting.”
But in the last 13 months, not only has the Hollyoaks star undergone a huge change of heart after falling for property developer Ollie Piotrowski, 32, but the pair have also had to come to terms with the discovery they were expecting quadruplets and then deal with the trauma of Jorgie, 33, miscarrying them all.
It has been a heartbreaking time and one that would test any relationship. For Jorgie and Ollie, it has brought them even closer.
“If we can get through this, we can get through anything,” she tells Fabulous in her first interview since their loss in August.
When she first got together with Ollie last October, Jorgie still wasn’t convinced she wanted to be a mum. But seven months in, everything changed.
“Ollie said he could see himself having children with me, and it was a big moment, because I felt like I absolutely wanted children with him, too,” says Jorgie.
“I remember driving to work thinking: ‘I want to come off the Pill.’ I’d been dating him for less than a year, but I knew I wanted him to father my kids.”
Trusting her heart, Jorgie stopped her oral contraceptive and even bought an ovulation tracking kit to pinpoint her most fertile time. Remarkably, in a matter of weeks, she discovered she was pregnant.
“I peed on the ovulation stick and when it showed a smiley face, indicating a surge in fertility hormones, it didn’t make sense to me, because I thought I was on my period,” recalls Jorgie.
“I did a pregnancy test and when it came up positive, Ollie and I were knocked for six. We ended up doing four tests in one night to be absolutely sure – we even drove to Tesco at midnight to buy one! It turned out my ‘period’ was an implantation bleed. I never even knew that was a thing until I Googled it.”
Very quickly, Jorgie began experiencing strong pregnancy symptoms.
“I couldn’t stop eating, I was so tired and my boobs ballooned overnight. You could see them from the back, they were so ginormous!” she laughs.
“I also felt very irritable and didn’t want Ollie to touch me. I’m not usually hormonal and don’t get moody at my time of the month, so it was out of character. I felt like I was going insane.”
Jorgie’s mum Julie, 62, is a twin and with a history of twins on Ollie’s side, at roughly six weeks of pregnancy, the couple paid for a private scan to check whether Jorgie was expecting more than one baby. But nothing could have prepared them for the outcome.
“The sonographer started rubbing my belly with the foetal Doppler,” explains Jorgie. “Then on the screen we could see three little dots, which she said were three sacs. I thought: ‘Oh my goodness, we’re having triplets!’”
Jorgie was advised to book an urgent appointment at Royal Bolton Hospital, where a scan revealed the unimaginable – she was pregnant with quadruplets.
“The midwife said: ‘OK, there are four embryos,’” recalls Jorgie. “We were thrown into the air. My first words were: ‘I’m too little to have four!’ And Ollie was like: ‘Four? Four?!’ Our lives passed before our eyes.
“My first feeling was excitement. I wasn’t thinking about the practicalities of raising four – I just started visualising our own mini football team or girl band. Then I started panicking, thinking things like: ‘I don’t have four boobs, how will I breastfeed them all?’ It was an emotional blur.”
Conceiving quadruplets naturally is rare – at 700,000-to-one – and attracts an increased risk of complications.
Over 60% of twins and nearly all higher-order multiples are premature (born before 37 weeks), and multiple pregnancies bring a greater chance of early-stage miscarriage or genetic abnormalities and disabilities if they go full term.
At one point, Jorgie and Ollie were offered a foetal reduction operation – where one or more foetuses are terminated to increase the others’ survival chances. Jorgie immediately ruled it out.
“Mum and her twin brother, my late-uncle Luke, had such a connection, I couldn’t imagine cancelling one or more, so we decided to leave it to nature. I thought: ‘I’m pregnant with four, we’re going full-on for four. We will cope. I am ready for this.’”
My first feeling was excitement. I wasn’t thinking about the practicalities of raising four – I just started visualising our own mini football team or girl band.
Jorgie had weekly scans to assess her health and the progress of her pregnancy, but after initial exuberance, she became wary of being excited.
“It was so stressful. I wanted to believe everything was going to be OK, but I was scared because I knew the risks. At every scan, we’d have the same worry – do they have heartbeats? I was going through so many emotions.
"I was carrying four babies, but didn’t know if they’d survive. Whenever I was around anyone who knew me well, I felt the need to go: ‘I need a hug.’ It was like I needed people to carry me emotionally.”
Most women keep pregnancy news a secret until entering the so-called 12-week “safe zone,” but Jorgie’s web of emotions and her increasingly-protruding belly (“all of a sudden my costumes weren’t fitting”) forced her to confide early in a handful of close friends and her Hollyoaks bosses, who were “so supportive”.
But Jorgie would soon need their love and strength more than ever. In August, at a scan at around 14 weeks, she and Ollie discovered there was no sign of life in any of the embryo sacs.
The quadruplets had died in a missed miscarriage, when the body doesn’t recognise the pregnancy loss or expel pregnancy tissue. In some cases, the placenta continues to release hormones, so pregnancy symptoms continue despite the absence of life.
“It didn’t make sense,” recalls Jorgie. “I’d not had any sign that things weren’t OK. No pain or bleeding, I was getting bigger, my boobs were growing, I had so much hair on my body and I still felt pregnant. When the consultant performed the scan then said: ‘You’ve miscarried,’ I was in total shock.”
Within a few days, Jorgie went under general anaesthetic to have her uterus cleared, and after regaining consciousness, the nurses handed her a care package containing four tiny teddies. “One for each baby lost,” says Jorgie.
She says that she has since coped by focusing on how the experience has brought her and Ollie closer.
“We’ve come through so much. My auntie Gina died when we found out we were pregnant, Ollie’s grandad died this year, then we lost the quads. As hard as it was losing them, I just have to believe that, for whatever reason, it wasn’t our time.
“Of course I’ve shed tears,” continues Jorgie. She says that hearing Little Mix star Leigh-Anne Pinnock had welcomed twin boys in August was tough, as it reminded her of what she had lost.
“I felt a pang of pain, thinking: ‘We would have had that,’” she says. “It was a grieving process, but only because I’d dared to imagine life with them in it.
"I’ve tried to come to terms with it by thinking: ‘They’ve never lived, I don’t know them,’ but it took Ollie to say to me: ‘You held them in you for three months,’ to appreciate the power of those emotions.”
Jorgie credits Ollie for encouraging her to open up by showing his own vulnerability.
“Men suffer during miscarriage too, and Ollie was so, so sad,” says Jorgie. “By voicing his feelings, he got us through, because that encouraged me to speak about mine, too.”
As hard as it was losing them, I just have to believe that, for whatever reason, it wasn’t our time.
Now Jorgie hopes that by sharing her story, she will provide comfort, support and understanding for other women who have experienced miscarriage.
“Miscarriage is still a taboo subject, but by speaking out, it’s a way of coping and helping other women realise that they’re not alone,” she says. “Since it happened, a couple of women at work have had miscarriages and I’ve taken them aside and gone: ‘Me too. I get it.’ It’s OK to talk.”
Despite the pain of this experience, the pair still hope to become parents some day – and it’s made Jorgie more sure than ever that motherhood is something she wants.
“I mean, we’re not not trying! We’re not not doing it! One of the first questions Ollie asked was: ‘When can we start [trying]again?’ The female doctor was like: ‘Give it a minute!’
"She said my body needed to rest. We both agreed that it hadn’t put us off. I said: ‘I know more than ever that I want babies with you.’ This experience has tested us in so many ways, to make sure that we’re now certain we want it.”
Jorgie is well-stocked in life experience. Growing up in Eccles, Salford, she “never knew” her father and was raised by her single mum, artist Julie, and grandma, Elizabeth, who died in 2014.
“Mum worked constantly to keep us alive, and three women in one household was quite intense, but every single day we’d laugh, even about struggles,” she says. “We’d always have humour.”
Jorgie and Ollie recently moved into their own dream home in Greater Manchester, a pad they “ripped out and re-did” based on interiors inspo she discovered on Pinterest.
This is Jorgie’s first-ever “grown-up” home after years of house-sharing with pals – and domesticity feels good, if a little alien.
“I feel like I’ve got to be a housewife, but I don’t have a clue what I’m doing,” she laughs.
“I just keep moving things around because I don’t know where they go. I’m like a desperate housewife, a woman of the world, doing things like hanging out the washing, while thinking: ‘Oh my god, am I actually doing this?’”
One role Jorgie has down to a tee is being a friend to Ollie’s seven-year-old son from a previous relationship. Ollie, who shares custody of his son, discovered his ex was expecting when he and Jorgie first dated briefly in 2014.
This put Jorgie and Ollie at different places in their lives and the romance ended before it had begun, but the pair would frequently bump into each other, before rekindling their relationship last October.
Seeing Ollie be a “great dad” was, in Jorgie’s words, “really attractive.” Now they’re one happy, blended family.
“I didn’t think I’d get on with a kid so much!” she says. “I play FIFA, we go hiking, do extreme sports and the other day he saw me reading my scripts and said: ‘Jorgie, I need your help with my nativity play.’ I was like: ‘I am there for you. I’m going to be your drama coach!’”
He could do worse. Jorgie’s been a fixture on British TV for over 13 years, since being cast in Hollyoaks as much-loved Theresa McQueen in 2008, a role she played for nine years. She took part in I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! in 2015, before leaving the soap a year later.
Jorgie has since accumulated a hefty list of reality TV jobs, including Celebs Go Dating and Celebrity Haunted Mansion. She also spent two years in LA having acting lessons and toured the UK in Fame: The Musical.
Miscarriage is still a taboo subject, but by speaking out, it’s a way of coping and helping other women realise that they’re not alone.
Then last year she visited the Hollyoaks set to film a Come Dine With Me special, and decided to return after four years away. Her epic comeback came in October last year as part of Hollyoaks’ 25th anniversary.
Many soap stars hanker for greater variety in their careers. In an industry where competition for high-profile roles is fierce, so does Hollyoaks feel like a safety net?
“I’ve wondered this,” replies Jorgie, who had previously returned to the show in 2013 after a six-month break. And while some actors can be dismissive of soaps, Jorgie doesn’t feel the need to seek out roles in gritty dramas, instead choosing jobs that interest her.
“I’m not striving to do something serious to prove myself. Once you put pressure on yourself to prove yourself, you go into a spiral of unhappiness. I’ve always enjoyed reality TV, and staying in a haunted mansion or going on a date on telly is the dream!
“I prove myself by playing Theresa. I can get my teeth into gritty story lines.”
She admits there was some trepidation returning to the character, though.
“I was worried. I thought: ‘Can I even do this?’ But when I put on the outfit and put in the hair, it’s like she’s back.”
'WE'LL BE TOGETHER FOREVER'
Talking of alter egos, today’s jumper-wearing Jorgie is a world away from the girl who, during her Hollyoaks heyday, reigned as the queen of lads’ mag photo shoots – something Jorgie previously described as “empowering”.
Earlier this month, fellow Hollyoaks actress Sarah Jayne Dunn, 40, was dropped from the show after refusing to remove “sexier, racier” photos from her OnlyFans subscription site. The content, said a spokesperson, was not in line with the soap’s young target audience.
Speaking about her former co-star, she says: “I think it’s an individual’s choice and I wouldn’t judge anyone for doing it. However, I understand Hollyoaks’ decision and I think it’s about respecting that.”
Speaking of her own experience, she says: “I’m comfortable with my body and will post a sexy picture in my underwear on my socials.
"I’ve always felt in control of shoots and never been asked to do anything I’m not comfortable with, so I get the empowerment argument and agree with it being a woman’s choice. That said, the world is changing and
I worry about how my images have been used online. In a world where anyone can access anything, any time, and it’s there forever, it needs more consideration.”
These days, Jorgie keeps in shape with weekly Peloton and gym workouts and by playing tennis and football with Ollie’s son.
“I need to exercise, I’ve got so much energy,” she says, adding that she’s recently become a bit healthier after “definitely drinking more alcohol” during lockdown.
But with a new pad for entertaining, Jorgie can’t wait for corks to pop, especially on Christmas Day, when she turns 34.
“I’d like a party at the house with all our friends, a good old knees-up,” she smiles. “I want to give people matching glasses and be like: ‘Do you want me to top you up?’”
And if Ollie threw in a proposal…?
Jorgie looks like she might explode with happiness. “Ollie is my forever. It wouldn’t matter if I married him tomorrow, today or in 10 years’ time. I just know we’re going to be together forever.”
Watch Hollyoaks, weekdays, 6.30pm, Channel 4, with a first look on E4 at 7pm.
- Hair: Dino Pereira using Kiehl’s Since 1851 Magic Elixir
- Make-up: Aimee Adams using Nude by Nature
- Styling: Nana Acheampong Jorgie wears on p11: jumpsuit, Prettylittlething.com; shoes, Boohoo.com. Dress, Nastygal.com; earrings, River Island; rings, Orelia & Vick; boots, Bershka
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