'My daughter is the best plan I didn't make'
Fair City’s Clelia Murphy reveals Clara Belle (15) is ‘the best thing that ever happened' to her
Dublin actress Clelia Murphy has spoken of how motherhood transformed her life.
The Fair City star, who portrays businesswoman Niamh on the soap, tells the RTE Guide that her daughter Clara Belle is “the best thing that ever happened to me”.
“Clara Belle was the motivation I never had,” said the 38-year-old single mum in the frank and heartfelt interview. “I was never motivated before that. Now I have something to work for and work towards.”
“The best thing that ever happened to me, the best thing that will ever happen to me, is Clara Belle.”
"Clara Belle is the best plan I didn't make."
Already a firm fixture in the RTE soap when she became pregnant at 22 - playing feisty Niamh since 1995 - Clelia’s growing bump was written into the soap’s storyline.
But while her baby was explained away on-screen in a tragic abortion, Murphy began to raise her ‘best friend’ Clara Belle at her Castleknock home with the help of family and friends.
As a young girl, Clara spent much of her childhood being cared for on the RTE set, looked after during takes "between me and (best friend) Claudia Carroll".
But the doting mum says her 15-year-old daughter (while an avid Fair City fan) is an “independent” kid. “I think it’s important that you teach your child to be independent of you.”
“Of course you panic when you allow her to go off and do her own thing. The thing is to be watchful but also let her make her own decisions,” she said.
Nonetheless, the mum-of-one, who's character Niamh recently cheated on her lothario screen husband, admits that motherhood is “tough” and “nobody tells you how hard it is.”
“The important thing I think is that if you’ve think that you’ve messsed up in any way you should try to be big enough to say sorry.”
Her own mother and grandmother gave her an important adage to live by: 'if you tell yourself you have the answer to a problem you will find that answer'
And she believes that perspective in life is something that being a mum to Clara Belle has given her in spades.
"Life is so fast, the important thing is to stand back and think, 'yeah I feel happy now'"
As for the Irish actress' love life, Murphy reveals she's yet to find the right man and hasn't considered becoming a mum again. "My attitude to life is that while you plan things that are sent to you are just as exciting."