Posted: 22:01 GMT, Jan. December 2020 | Updated: 22:49 GMT, Jan. December 2020

While most of us want to forget about 2020, Sheridan Smith says that today was the year she finally found satisfaction after giving birth to her son

In an interview with The Mail in You magazine am Sonntag, the actress tells how Billy’s arrival in May ended years of self-doubt “Things used to look so complicated and now everything is so simple,” she says

“I’ve been looking for it all my life I’ve been looking in the wrong places – in nightclubs, while drinking, at work Now in this little baby I’ve found that I’m at peace with everything. Year olds was often overshadowed by the sensational headlines surrounding their lifestyle She hit rock bottom in 2016 when her father Colin was diagnosed with cancer and cared for him during his final weeks Despite the reassurance of friends and family, she remained “petrified” by motherhood until “it just happened”

She and Billy’s insurance broker father, Jamie Horn, are about to settle in rural Hertfordshire. “My priorities have all shifted I don’t want to go to nightclubs or partying or drinking,” says the actress, whose credits include Cilla and Pooch Perfect, one upcoming BBC show with professional dog groomers competing for the best dog stylist award

“I’m in bed by 9 p.m. and from all the things I’ve ever done, I feel like I’ve really achieved something”Whatever I did before, I was never proud of myself. Now that I’m going to be a mother, I’m incredibly proud’

Sheridan with Rodney, the four-legged assistant of the photographer Sheridan wears a sweater, Lanvin pants, Jacquemus, Mytheresacom Photo editor: Stephanie Belingard Fashion editor: Sophie Dearden Make-up: Barrie Griffiths at Frank Agency with Clarins hair: Ernesto Montenovo from London Style Agency

Sheridan Smith used to be more famous for falling out of nightclubs than her acclaimed gigs. Then came a burnout that almost broke her. She tells Louise Gannon what it took to find the “peace” she has always longed for

After decades of erratic behavior, anxiety, and self-doubt, Sheridan Smith has finally put her problems behind her

The actress, who won the Bafta and Olivier Awards, is standing in a studio in West London, bundled up in an oversized coat and scarf. Half of her face is covered in a mask, but nothing can hide the fact that she has regained confidence and confidence has a visible sense of satisfaction

“I don’t think I’ve ever felt this way before,” she explains, “Regardless of anything in my career, I’ve always felt insecure and worried about what people think of me”And now I feel happy. This is a novelty’

In May, Sheridan, 39, became mother to Billy’s birth marked a profound change in the actress, whose talent came with self-doubt and mental health problems that were only properly diagnosed two years ago

Her ability to be at home and play Chekhov in equal measure, play a comedy rap with ex-boyfriend James Corden in Gavin & Stacey, or star in the acclaimed film Quartet with Dame Maggie Smith and Tom Courtenay has been frequent through the scandalous headlines affected their disastrous relationships and sometimes their auto-accident lifestyle

But Billy, she says, has anchored her world. She’s just weaning him, spends the afternoons cooking and mashing vegetables. Today he’s with her mother and aunts, who haven’t been able to spend time with him because of lockdown Sheridan was filming her latest TV series, BBC1’s Pooch Perfect, her partner Jamie Horn came with her so she could breastfeed during breaks. At the moment, Jamie is orchestrating the move from her rented farm to “our own place” in the Hertfordshire countryside There, says she: “I can paint the walls, make a mural for Billy, and put up pictures without having to worry about the landlord’s permission”’

She tells me about her home setup and how excited she is to host her first prime time TV show along with a group of dogs (Pooch Perfect, a bake-off style dog grooming contest) when she stops and says, “I never thought I would be that person – a mother. Things used to be so complicated and now everything is so simple. I love Billy so much I hold him and he looks at me and I know he loves me back and needs me ‘

Your eyes are full of tears “I’ve been looking for it all my life I’ve been looking in the wrong places – in nightclubs, while drinking, at work Now I’ve found this little baby “She is looking for the words” that I am at peace with everything ’

Few people can express emotions like Sheridan Smith Anna Mackmin, who she staged in Hedda Gabler in the Old Vic in 2012, says that what sets her apart as an actress is that she is “missing a layer of skin” Sheridan can slide out of the hustle and bustle into the depths of the feeling, which is why critics speak of her in the same breath as Dames Judi Dench and Julie Walters.She has parts in comedies (The Royle Family, Gavin & Stacey), musicals (Little Shop of Horrors, Legal Blonde), stage classics (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Flare Path), and gritty TV dramas like The C-Word and The Nailed Moorside

The youngest child to be born into a Doncaster-based family of artists, she was six years old when she appeared on stage with parents Colin and Marilyn at working-class clubs on their country singing The Daltons When she was eight, Sheridan was shaken by the death of her older brother Julian’s cancer, too, and he wanted to be an actor too, and Sheridan, who always put on plays to cheer him up when he was sick, vowed to carry that torch for him. Her precocious talent landed starring roles in the National Youth Theater with and at 17 she was cast by Sam Mendes in a Donmar production of Into The Woods From then on she worked continuously and in 2015 received an OBE for services to the drama

I last saw Sheridan a year and a half ago.She then told me how she had never felt good enough, pretty enough, thin enough, or polished enough to deserve the fact that she had never attended drama school, made her a cheat The more awards and praise she won, the less she felt able to handle what was expected of her. She wore her vulnerability on her sleeve. She drank, she partied, she dated a number of unsuitable men, from the WWE- Fighter Stuart Tomlinson to model Graham Nation and actor Greg Wood

Left: With co-host Stanley at Pooch Perfect Right: With her mother Marilyn and a best actress BAFTA for Ms. Biggs, 2013

“I felt stressed and scared all the time. I was supposed to be a celebrity but I couldn’t get it right. I was caught on camera” F ***! ” when i won my first olivier publicists tell me how to behave i would forget exactly what i thought i drank pints, made rude jokes and was brilliant at saying the wrong i could walk in heels, look elegant until I had a drink, then walk with bandy legs and run like a peasant. If I got dressed I would look messed up, so I would keep sending pictures of myself to stylists, asking, “Is that okay?” And be totally paranoid ’

It all melted away by 2016 when her father was diagnosed with cancer when she starred in a West End production of Funny Girl.She had grown up knowing how hard it was to succeed as a actress and Sticking to her parents’ philosophy, keep smiling, keep going so she tried but kept failing, there were missed curtain calls, speculation that she was drunk on stage (which she has always denied) and frequent apologies from the organizers the show, who attributed their unpredictable performance to “technical difficulties” She sought help from doctors. One said she was bipolar. Another told her that she suffered from extreme anxiety. At this year’s Baftas, host Graham Norton made a joke in front of the celebrity audience at her own expense. “We’re all looking forward to a few drinks tonight Or, as it is known in theater circles, a pair of glasses with technical difficulties. “Sheridan sat as her colleagues laughed loudly and died inside

That moment changed everything Sheridan walked away from the theater, lost herself in a drink, threw away her anxiety pills, and was hospitalized for a severe reaction for stopping her medication.She went home, sat by the bed of hers It was, she told me, the response she got from members of the public who would stop her on the street – hug her or say to her, “Don’t worry, dear It will be.” You are fine – that gave her the strength to act again David Walliams and Ricky Tomlinson also spoke out for her. “You have no idea how much that support means,” she says

A year and a half ago, Sheridan stopped drinking and found “the right man” in insurance broker Jamie, who is ten years younger than her. They met on Tinder “Don’t knock!” she laughed. “It can work. They lived together in a rented farmhouse with 12 dogs, a couple of horses, four donkeys, two pot-bellied pigs and a pair of goats.I asked her at the time if she would like to have children and she told me with typical frankness that she was afraid of not being able to cope with a baby She told her mother the same thing, but Marilyn had replied that she had watched her take care of her father and she knew she would be a wonderful mother

I remind her of that conversation and she gasps, “I was worried,” she says, “Petrified over so many things I’ve always doubted myself David [Walliams] said to me,” Gosh, you gotta get one Baby “and I’d be like,” What if I’m not good enough? “And then it just happened ‘

During the lockdown, she filmed both a one-woman drama about a pregnant woman who is about to give birth and Sheridan Smith: Becoming Mum, in which she talked about her problems with anxiety and why doctors told her she was should continue taking her medication throughout pregnancy

“The documentary was supposed to be about pregnancy myths, but when we started filming – it was just myself and this one woman and her camera – I opened up to things I’d been through. Then I thought,” Oh, Sheridan! You did it again “I talked about being hospitalized and things my mom didn’t know about But I decided to run with it The response from other mothers and pregnant women has been incredible. Many women have the same problems and feel awful taking medication but ultimately it’s better for you and the baby so I felt like I broke the silence over something that affects so many women ‘

The birth wasn’t easy though. Sheridan went into labor three weeks early and was taken to her local NHS hospital by Jamie. “It was terrifying,” she says. “My placenta had split and Billy basically had his way kicked outside so they had to do an emergency caesarean when he came out everyone was silent I saw One Born Every Minute and after the birth all you hear is the baby’s screams but my baby made no noise at all Jamie held him and said, “He’s perfect” But I was so scared and kept saying, “But is he okay? Is he okay?”

“And then I held him. He was tiny but breathed and moved He looked like a little chicken McNugget Only five pounds but he was beautiful I can’t describe how I felt – it was surreal I had to Stay in the hospital a few more nights and then we went home the three of us I just remember thinking, “Are you really going to go home with him alone?” Lockdown turned out to be a blessing. “It was a magical time – just me, Jamie and Billy,” she says. “It was sad that Jamie’s parents and mother couldn’t come to visit, but that’s how things were. And because we were alone there was absolutely no pressure on us It felt incredible to me to have no pressure

“You don’t really know what you are doing as a new parent. We just did our own thing. I haven’t read books that told me what to do. I wasn’t in a postnatal group. I breastfed for six months until my McNugget turned into that chunky baby with big rolls of fat on its little legs and after a few weeks he smiled at us and then he laughed I couldn’t leave him alone I see him sleeping in bed next to me because I don’t have any of it can do to make him cry “She adds,” And he has my father’s eyes blue like his, not dark like mine I see my father in him I never expected my father to be there ’

Motherhood, she says, has taken the pressure off; she no longer feels the need to be a “perfect celebrity”, no longer worries about choosing the right job, and no longer worries about her Six months after motherhood, she’s not wearing size 10 jeans “Who cares?” she says, “There’s no rush, is there?”

Billy is the reason she decided to take her first prime time presentation job at Pooch Perfect, where ten pairs of professional dog groomers compete for the crowning glory of the UK’s top dog stylist “Acting will always be my passion, but that really appealed to me and it worked in terms of family obligations.We were filming during lockdown and everything was very strict.I felt so privileged to work because so many people in the industry are on their knees and we keep doing shows otherwise everything will collapse. But for me it was perfect. I was breastfeeding and Billy and Jamie came and hung in a room where I could jump back during breaks

“Jamie is used to me getting into the character and I can often play traumatic roles. It’s hard not to take this home with me so he loved that I did a show with dogs I love Dogs My only problem was that I couldn’t stand being the person who told the snow groomers they hadn’t gotten to the next round. Sometimes there were tears – mine too – and it took everything not to hug them because you’re so involved It’s such a fun show and amazing to see all of these incredibly creative snow groomers – and loads of dogs’

Next June Sheridan will be 40 years old “I feel good about it. I look in the mirror these days and think,” Yes, you are a mother You did well “My priorities have all shifted. I don’t want to go to nightclubs or partying and drinking I’m in bed by 9 p.m. and from all the things I’ve ever done I feel like I’ve really achieved something I’m looking forward to the future Jamie wants to get married so yeah that’s on the plan

“But I feel so at peace with myself and because of everything I’ve been through and talked about, I feel more connected to people than ever. Whatever I’ve done before, I’ve never been proud of myself Now that I’m going to be a mom and have Billy, I’m incredibly proud ‘She laughs’ And I still can’t quite believe those words came out of my mouth’

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