Inside Emmerdale star Lisa Riley’s life – quitting booze, IVF struggles and mum’s death

Emmerdale’s Lisa Riley is one of that nation’s most recognisable soap stars on television.

Lisa, 45, has played Mandy Dingle on the iconic ITV soap since returning to the Dales in 2019.

The actress first joined the soap in 1995 until 2001 – before she reprised her famous role of Mandy once more in 2019.

Over the years, the star has bravely opened up about her IVF treatment – after her and her fiancé have tragically made various failed attempts to have their first baby.

Daily Star have taken a look back at Lisa’s dramatic life away from Emmerdale village.

Mum’s death heartbreak

Lisa Riley’s mum Cath sadly died in 2012

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Lisa sadly lost her beloved mum Cath back in 2012 – who passed away at the age of 57.

Lisa’s mum passed away after being diagnosed with breast cancer – and she died in her daughter Lisa’s arms at the star’s house.

Lisa told The Mirror: “It went into her ovaries, then her pelvis. When it reaches the pelvis… boom, it goes round the body like a firework. I knew then that it wasn’t good.

“She died in my arms. She was at my house.

“The entire family was there and we laughed together on the morning that she passed away.

Lisa's mum Cath died in her arms after being diagnosed with cancer

Lisa’s mum Cath died in her arms after being diagnosed with cancer

“That was Mum. It was wonderful. She had dignity. She was fun and smiles to the very, very end.”

Last year, poor Lisa revealed that her “world fell apart forever” when she lost her mum, and that losing her hurts more and more every day.

Taking to Instagram eight years after Cath’s death, Lisa posted an emotional tribute to her mum last year with a sweet throwback snap of the two together.

She said: “Eight years ago today my world fell apart forever…..losing mum to cancer.

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My mum Cath was everyone’s reason to happy, bringing joy and happiness to each and every person she met.

“Her electric personality radiated from her, I hope these two photos show just how much love and compassion she had for everyone, reasons the pain without her gets greater and greater by the day. Unique, different, special, fun, kind, empathetic, one of a kind.

The list could go on and on, her glow in these pictures speak volumes of her LOVE….my forever, always angel. KEEP SHINING FROM HEAVEN.”

IVF struggles

Lisa had been trying for a baby through IVF when she returned to Emmerdale

Lisa had been trying for a baby through IVF when she returned to Emmerdale

Lisa had been trying for her first baby along with her musician partner Al, 50, when she returned to the Dales in 2019.

Her doomed IVF battle came after Lisa lost her mum Cath.

She previously shared how she was told by medical experts that despite her efforts to welcome a child, it is unlikely she will ever conceive, even through IVF treatment, due to the poor quality of her eggs.

She also revealed that she believes people treat her “differently” after the rounds of IVF failed.

However, she has said that she has now made peace that she will never have children, and that she feels happy – due to her amazing relationship with her nieces and nephews.

Lisa has made with the fact she will never have her own children

Lisa has made with the fact she will never have her own children

She told The Mirror: “I really struggled losing my mum and going through IVF but even at the end of it all I know how lucky I am.

“I have such an amazing partner who loves and supports me. I don’t have kids myself but my nieces and nephews are my world. I have a job I adore and have the most amazing friends and family.

“I feel more confident and comfortable in my own skin than ever before.”

Quitting booze

Lisa turned to booze after her mum's death

Lisa turned to booze after her mum’s death

Lisa turned to alcohol in a bid to cope with her overwhelming grief resulting from her mum’s passing, proceeding to hide her grief “behind a bottle of wine” after the loss, Lisa said.

However, she has since managed to ditch the booze in order to become teetotal.

Last year, she celebrated five years sober and told her followers how ditching alcohol has improved her life – and reduced her paranoia after nights out.

In a candid post on Instagram, Lisa said: “CELEBRATION.

Lisa recently celebrated five years sober

Lisa recently celebrated five years sober

“Wow FIVE years ago today I drank my last drop of alcohol.

“I wouldn’t change it for ANYTHING, my life is so much clearer, happier, gained more glow, laugh so much harder, having the life I always dreamt of, no fake friendships, needing that someone who NEVER knows when to go home, not cringing when I open my eyes (have I argued with anyone) not remembering, that’s the WORST, maybe, well not actually maybe, CERTAINLY.”

Weight loss journey

Lisa lost a staggering 12stone the natural way though had excess skin surgically removed

Lisa lost a staggering 12stone the natural way though had excess skin surgically removed

Lisa also underwent an inspiring weight loss journey – where she lost a staggering 12 stone by late 2016.

She began losing weight after she met her partner Al back in 2012

And after a number of personal tragedies – including four family members – she decided she would try to be as healthy as she could.

She cut out booze and unhealthy foods, opting for a good diet and exercise whenever she could.

After shedding half of her body weight, dropping from a size 30 to a trim size 14, Lisa also had 1.5stone of excess skin surgically removed.

Lisa cut out booze and unhealthy foods and exercised when she could

Lisa cut out booze and unhealthy foods and exercised when she could

She said previously: “People forget how gigantic I was. With the skin removal, I lost twelve stone, one pound.

“The surgeon chopped off one stone, four pounds. Since then my weight has more or less stayed the same.”

Despite doing things the natural way, Lisa is still dogged by accusations that she had a gastric band.

“I did it through good old-fashioned willpower, driven by me finally wanting to buy nice clothes and underwear,” she proudly said.

Emmerdale return

Mandy's husband Paul died on what would've been their wedding

Mandy’s husband Paul died on what would’ve been their wedding

After almost 20 years away from the Dales, Lisa returned to Emmerdale as Lisa Riley in 2019.

She first played the loveable rogue between 1995 and 2001, and she’s been a welcome addition since her return.

Recently, she’s been involved in a huge storyline which took a look at gambling addiction and abuse between a father and son.

Her husband-to-be died, leaving her heartbroken, however she was soon hit by another tragedy when she learned that he had been beating up their son.

In her time away though, Lisa was a regular face on television, as a panelist on Loose Women and in dramas such as Fat Friends and the incredibly moving Three Girls.

Emmerdale airs weekdays on ITV at 7pm

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