EASTENDERS star Shona McGarty – who plays Whitney Dean in the soap – has revealed she is set to marry her boyfriend in an ‘Irish-themed’ wedding.
The 26-year-old’s boyfriend of five years, Ryan Harris, popped the question recently after hiding an engagement ring inside her birthday cake.
The Londoner, whose parents Patrick McGarty and Jennifer McNamara hail from the Emerald Isle, said she wants “loads of children” to emulate her large family back in Ireland.
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The actress told OK! Magazine: “Ryan threw me a surprise party for my birthday at a golf course and the choir who I sing with burst into song. When I cut the cake, there was a box on the top of the cake with a ring inside.
"We're getting married towards the end of the year in the UK. We'd like an Irish-themed wedding as my family is from Southern Ireland.”
McGarty said she and Ryan were friends at first but grew closer after helping one another get through previous past break-ups.
Harris had split from the mother of his two children, Scarlett, 10, and Alfie, six, while McGarty broke up with former co-star Matt Lapinskas – who played Anthony Moon – in 2013.
She said: "Obviously it was harder for Ryan, but my break-up was publicly humiliating for me, so that was hard.
"To be honest I never thought I’d go out with someone who already had children, but it couldn’t have worked out any better. It’s so lovely and I couldn’t imagine my life without them now.
Speaking about the possibility of having kids, McGarty added: “‘I always say I’d like to start when I’m around 30, but you never know what’s going to happen.
“I come from a big Irish family so I want loads of children – we’d definitely like a large family."