Heartbeat’s Nick Berry unrecognisable two decades after quitting fame to be stay-at-home dad

Heartbreat and EastEnders' fan favourite Nick Berry made the tough decision to quit acting and fame to spend more time with his family after feeling his career was 'robbing' him of precious memories with his boys

Heartbeat star Nick Berry looked unrecognisable sporting a bushy beard and glasses when he popped out for a coffee recently.

The actor, 60, played heartthrob Nick Rowan in the ITV police series, after his stint on EastEnders as Simon Wicks. The star has since undergone somewhat of a transformation since last rocking up on the soap in 2012 for Pat Butcher’s funeral, growing a beard and letting his previously brown hair go grey.

He cut a casual figure while he was out grabbing coffee from his local bakery, wearing a black NYC t.shirt, jeans, trainers and sunglasses. Nick decided to quit his TV career to be a stay-at-home dad to his sons Louis and Finley, who he shares with wife Rachel Robertson.

The couple tied the knot in 1994 and decided to make family life a priority not long after. The family now live in Epping in Essex – but Nick hasn’t completely ruled out a return to his former acting career. When he decided to quit the limelight, he said his busy schedule was ‘robbing’ him of time with his two young sons.

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However, now that Louis and Finley are older, Nick would ‘never say never’ to a return to his TV career. “I chose to be a stay-at-home dad and have loved it,” he told Mail Online in a 2011 interview. “I always said that when the boys were teenagers I could go back, but the longer you don’t do something the harder it is to do it, and I haven’t really missed it.

“While I’d never say never, I’m genuinely happy as I am. The job was great. You’re driven everywhere, fed every five minutes and told what to do and where to go. What I struggled with was that the boys were very young and I felt like I was away filming all the time.” Nick was a fan favourite on EastEnders and also respected by the cast.

His influence and help while on the BBC soap was not unforgotten, with Sid Owen, who played Ricky Butcher, praising the actor in his autobiography, From Rags to Riches. Sid wrote: “Nick was such a lovely, modest guy. As soon as he discovered I was living in a squat in Islington, quite close to the posher bit where he’d bought a flat, he offered to drive me up to work and back again.”

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