Emmerdale’s Michelle Hardwick on trolling ‘I’ve had death threats and police have been called’
2nd May 2022

Emmerdale star Michelle Hardwick is loving life, having found happiness with her wife, Emmerdale producer Kate Brooks, after meeting on the Yorkshire soap.

But while friends, family and fans have celebrated their relationship, the couple have also been subjected to vicious abuse online.

“We’ve had a bit of trolling over the last few years,” admits Michelle, 46, who has appeared in the soap since 2012 as vet Vanessa Woodfield,.

“And there have been certain times when police have had to be called because there have been death threats."

"When they’re mentioning your son’s name and you’re just going ‘Really? I’m just in a soap you know – we’re not doing any harm to anybody'."

Michelle, who starred in Heartbeat spin-off The Royal before landing her role in the top ITV soap, came out in 2013 and has had numerous attacks via social media over her sexuality since then.

It's an issue that is clearly upsetting and baffling to the star who is naturally disappointed that some sectors of society choose to attack over her lifestyle, when there are such bigger issues in the world to worry about.

“The root of it all is always because I’m gay, I’m a gay woman. And it’s like, ‘Lesbians shouldn’t be on this Earth, just burn in hell and die’.”

Since getting together with the star, and subsequently marrying in September 2019 at Elvis’s Graceland mansion in Memphis, Kate has experienced the type of trolling that Michelle had already been plagued by.

The Liverpool-born showrunner who also worked on Hollyoaks and Coronation Street before being announced as a new series producer on Emmerdale, alongside Laura Shaw, in April 2018, has been shocked by the treatment they have received from some quarters.

“It’s all pretty horrific, isn’t it?” says Kate, 39. “The majority of people are really wonderful and supportive, but, you know, as great as social media can be, there is this real dark side to it as well.

What has been particularly upsetting are the threats that mention the couple's son Teddy, who was born in October 2020 following IVF treatment. The haters can’t spoil the joys of parenthood for Michelle and Kate, but it does make them worry about the world in which they are bringing up Teddy, and any other children they may have in the future.

“We want our kids to be brought up with a healthy attitude to social media and for it to be a place where they can feel safe," adds Kate. "At the minute we’re not quite there yet, but I think we’re making a lot of progress getting to that place.”

Michelle has reached out in the past to those who have supported her after the insulting posts.

Following one trolling she took to Instagram to say, “Overwhelmed by all your beautiful supportive messages. I honestly don’t take it to heart, I just like to highlight it every so often.

“Thank you to every single person who took the time to message me whether I know you personally or not. I promise I’ll read then all.”

Emmerdale airs Monday to Friday on ITV at 7.30pm and is on the ITV hub.

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