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Simon Gregson — things you didn’t know about the ‘Coronation Street’ and 'I'm A Celebrity' star

Simon Gregson as Steve McDonald in Coronation Street
Simon has played Steve for over 30 years. (Image credit: ITV)

He’s been Steve McDonald since he was a teen, but his off-screen Coronation Street's Simon Gregson’s life has been just as eventful.

Simon Gregson first stepped on the cobbles when he was just 15 years old, and 32 years later he’s still there. Over the decades, we’ve seen Steve McDonald grow from a rebellious teen to a settled married man and dad – but there’s been lots of drama in between. Steve’s done time in jail, married five wives, been a love cheat, battled depression, and faced impossible heartache as he buried two children.

Now Simon is taking on a challenge of a lifetime as he joins the castle camp in I'm A Celebrity 2021, making a massive U-turn after saying he would never join the ITV reality show. But after some persuasion from his wife and three children, Simon is now showing fans what he is really like away from the cobbles.

Here's everything you need to know about the Coronation Street star behind Steve McDonald... 

1. Simon’s not a Gregson

It may say ‘Simon Gregson’ on the closing credits of Coronation Street, but his name is actually Simon Alan Gregory. Simon had to change his surname when he wanted to join the actors’ union Equity after he started on Coronation Street.

The actor grew up in Stockport with his elder sister, Tracy.

2. His Corrie fame was an accident

Simon didn’t intend to be in Corrie. He won the role while he was still at school when the soap was looking for teen actors to play twins, and Simon found himself put up for the role as he was a similar height and build to schoolmate Nicholas Cochrane (who’d go on to play Steve’s twin Andy), as Nick had already secured the audition.

“I started filming the week after my 15th birthday in 1989,” Simon recalled on ITV series The Chase. “My first line was ‘mam, why do we have to have the back bedroom?’”

Simon did find his lack of acting experience was a hurdle he had to overcome. “I was thinking I’d got the job through luck, that I wasn’t that good at it. I was hard on myself,” he told The Mirror.

3. He has three cute kids

Steve might be on his fifth wife, but Simon’s a one-woman man, marrying Emma Gleave in 2010. The pair have three sons, 14-year-old Alfie, 12-year-old Harry and five-year-old Henry Teddy.

“I had to pinch myself the other day – a beautiful wife and three beautiful kids who are hilarious. I thought, ‘well life’s all right!’” he told celebrityradio.biz

4.He lives in a haunted house!

With three sons, Simon already has a full house, ­but he’s revealed there’s another resident at the family home in Cheshire.

“I have seen a ghost!” he confessed on ITV’s Loose Women. “There is a white lady that’s in our house where we live now. I’ve seen her. Emma’s seen her. Alfie, my son has seen her. She’s completely fine. She doesn’t do anything. Alfie saw her reading a book. I saw her go from one bedroom to another.”

“I love all the supernatural stuff,” he adds. “I think, to be honest with you, the reason for it is because it’d be so nice if there was something else afterwards.” 

5. His real life has mirrored Steve’s

Steve Coronation Street

Simon as Steve McDonald in 'Coronation Street'. (Image credit: ITV)

While Steve fought depression on-screen, Simon has faced his own mental health battles. “When I was told about the depression storyline I was being given, I was determined to do it justice,” he told the Manchester Evening News.

On Coronation Street Steve and his partner Michelle suffered a terrible tragedy when they lost their baby son, Ruairi, in 2017. Simon and Emma have faced their own baby agonies as Emma suffered 12 miscarriages as well as a dangerous ectopic pregnancy which saw her rushed to hospital. “The surgeon said another couple of hours and she might have died," Simon told ITV’s Lorraine.

6. He’s had a spat with Liam Gallagher

Back in the early days of Oasis, Simon made an enemy of Liam Gallagher after the actor made a rude gesture to the singer outside the ITV studios in Manchester.
“He wound down his window and flipped the bird at me and then I’ve chased him down the road,” recalled Liam to The Sun. “He wound his window up and drove off and I kept catching him at lights.”

However, last year Simon offered an olive branch offering to go for a pint with the singer via twitter. We do hope this tale has a happy ending.

7. He’s mad on cars

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Simon’ a big fan of classic cars and motorbikes, amassing himself a bit of a collection.

But he also had a big heart. During the pandemic, Simon decided to donate a 1968 Triumph car and 1955 Francis Barnet Kestrel motorbike to deserving NHS staff. “I just thought it was a nice thing to do, with the thought being that when these guys finish doing all these huge amounts of hours helping everybody that a nice little project might be something nice for them,” he told ITV’s This Morning.

8. He’s got a famous dog

Simon’s own dog Cookie plays Steve’s dog Rover on-screen in Corrie.

“Cookie is not like any Jack Russell you’ll ever meet,” Simon told ITV’s Britain’s Favourite Dogs. “She’s very soft and gentle, and lets the kids do anything to her. She’s my shadow around the house, to the point that I’ve nearly broken my neck several times, tripping over her.”

The family also have a Yorkshire terroir called Lucy.

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Simon Gregson’s fact file.

Answers to the most frequently-asked questions about the Corrie actor….

How old is Simon Gregson?

Simon Gregson is 47. His birth date is 2 October 1974.

Is Simon Gregson married?

He married Emma Gleave at Cheshire in 2010.

Does Simon Gregson have any children?

Simon Gregson has three sons with wife Emma Gleave, Alfie, Harry and Henry Teddy.

Where was Simon Gregson born?

Simon Gregson was born in Wythenshawe, South Manchester.

How tall is Simon Gregson?

Simon Gregson is 5 foot 11 inches tall.

Twitter: @simongregson123

Instagram: fat_dracula

Coronation Street airs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 7.30pm and 8.30pm - see our TV Guide for full listings. You can also catch up on episodes on ITV Hub now.

We work hard to ensure that all information is correct. Facts that change over time, such as age, will be correct, to the best of our knowledge, at the time of the last article update.

 

Steven Murphy

Steven is a writer, editor, and commentator with a passion for popular TV and soap operas. He spent 20 years as the editor of Inside Soap magazine, documenting every punch up and pucker up in the Street, the Square and the village. As a feature writer he’s covered TV crime dramas, period dramas and even some real-life star dramas. He’s been seen as a talking head on more TV clip shows than he cares to remember, has a 

a life-long passion for TV sci-fi – the older and creakier the better – and is a slight obsessive about any reality show featuring hotels.