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Shortland Street's Jayden Daniels on his baby surprise

Woman's Day logo Woman's Day 6 days ago Sophie Neville

The 23 year old actor can't wait to be a father!: Shortland Street's Jayden Daniels on his baby surprise © Provided by Bauer Media Pty Ltd Shortland Street's Jayden Daniels on his baby surprise When Jayden Daniels first sat in Gigi Barclay’s make-up chair at the Shortland Street studio three years ago, they had an instant attraction. Despite a seven-year age

gap, they fast became best friends – working together, travelling together and even having sleepovers.

“But we were both scared to take the next step because we didn’t want to ruin our amazing friendship,” tells Jayden, 23, as he introduces his gorgeous – and heavily pregnant – partner to Woman’s Day.

“When it happened, we were both like ‘finally!’ and it was serious straightaway because we already knew each other so well.”

Just three months after becoming a couple, the smitten pair were surprised and delighted to learn that Gigi was expecting. They’d spoken about having a family, but it all happened a little earlier than they had anticipated.

“We’d actually both wanted kids for ages,” tells Jayden.

Your favorite soap stars: then and now Slideshow: Your favorite soap stars: then and now

“We used to talk about it all the time, even when we hadn’t got together. And whenever I hung out with kids or babies, I’d be like, ‘Oh, I want one too!’”

When Gigi suspected she might be pregnant, the couple rushed out and bought a test. On the way, they saw several praying mantis – which, according to superstition, is a sign that a baby is on the way!

“I’m not really superstitious but it was a bit weird,” laughs the 31-year-old. When the test came back positive, an overwhelmed Gigi burst into tears, while dad-to-be Jayden just couldn’t stop laughing.

“I was just so happy,” he says.

“I was really shocked,” tells Gigi. “We were living with my mum at the time and she heard all this crying and laughing coming from the bedroom, so she came in to see what was going on! We told her and she was so excited. She could see how happy we were.”

The couple then flew to Wellington to share their news with Jayden’s whanau. With his hand resting on Gigi’s baby bump, Jayden – who plays lovable rogue Curtis on the TVNZ 2 soap – says he’s not daunted about being a young dad. In fact, he has the best role model in his own father.

“My dad had three kids by the time he was my age and he’s awesome,” he says. “We are really close, so I know that being a young dad works. I wouldn’t want to have waited much longer.”

Gigi’s pregnancy has been straightforward, with very little morning sickness. In fact, it’s only now at 37 weeks that she’s starting to feel some aches and pains.

“It’s getting harder to sleep and I’ve had to stop working quite as much because it can be long days. I’m getting to the point where I’m ready to meet my baby now. I just can’t wait!”

The pair were thrilled to find out they’re expecting a little boy at their 20-week scan.

And with his due date of November 20 – just two days before Jayden turns 24 – the Shorty star is hoping they’ll share a birthday.

Jayden is already excited about watching his son grow up.

He enthuses, “We’ll be totally open to seeing what path our kid takes in life. We’ll nurture that, rather than try to dictate it. I love the thought of watching him grow and learn. I just want to be there for all of it and kind of be his hero.”

a man and a woman standing in front of a palm tree © Provided by Bauer Media Pty Ltd

Gigi hopes she and Jayden will be relaxed when it comes to parenting, and she’s keen to instil a sense of adventure into their wee boy.

“I can’t wait to do lots of fun things with him. Jayden and I love going places and seeing new things, so hopefully that won’t change.”

And Gigi has no doubts that her man is ready for fatherhood, despite his tender age.

“He’s amazing with kids,” she tells. “My niece and nephews adore him – they think he’s the best thing ever. He’s really playful, so he’ll definitely be the fun one. And he’s the best partner – he gives me massages, supports me with everything and he’s really affectionate. I feel very lucky.”

Gigi admits she’s nervous about experiencing labour for the first time, but they haven’t taken antenatal classes. The pair will call on family wisdom instead, with both of their mothers invited into the birthing suite to see the new baby arrive.

“My mum will definitely be there and we really hope Jayden’s mum will come too,” tells Gigi. “She’ll try, but coming up from Wellington will be a matter of timing. I know I’ll feel a lot calmer with them there to help us through it.”

With everything all ready for their boy, who will have Maori, Italian, Spanish and Scottish heritage, now Gigi and Jayden just can’t wait to meet him.

“It’s going to be so incredible to see what he looks like,” says Jayden. “It almost feels like a dream.”


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