Corrie's loveable but troubled Billy Mayhew made history on the cobbles in 2014 when he became the soap's first gay vicar.

Since then, he has revealed a dark past of drug addiction and crime, and relapsed in 2018 when he became addicted to painkillers after falling down a cliff and temporarily ending up in a wheelchair.

Off screen, actor Daniel Brocklebank - who plays Billy on the cobbles - lives a much less stressful life.

However over the years, the much loved actor has had his ups and downs, falling in love and suffering his fair share of heartache and trauma.

Split with co-star Rob Mallard

Daniel Brocklebank and Rob Mallard at British Soap Awards
Daniel Brocklebank and Rob Mallard briefly dated while they were co-stars on Coronation Street

The actor made headlines when he started dating fellow Corrie actor Rob Mallard - who played Ken Barlow's son Daniel - for a couple of months.

The pair seemed smitten when Rob said his beau was "the best thing I've taken home this year" at the British Soap Awards in 2017.

But sources close to the pair told The Sun at the time that the pressure of working together and dating became too intense for them.

The source said: "They decided to part ways a couple of weeks ago but they’re still great friends and hope to remain that way."

After their amicable split, Daniel confirmed he'd moved on with Stuart Hatton Jnr. in a tweet after the handsome pair met at Stockholm Pride.

Daniel wrote: "The best love story is when you fall in love at the most unexpected time with the most unexpected person."

The hunk who won Mr Gay World and was twice crowned champ of Mr Gay UK seemed equally infatuated with Daniel and uploaded a snap of the pair.

He jokingly captioned the photo with: "Not only is he awesome but when I fart he stands and applauds then records it as a ring tone #keeper."

Daniel Brocklebank on Good Morning Britain
Daniel has spoken out about representation of LGBT+ characters on screen

Secret split with Stuart Hatton Jnr.

Sadly, after two years of dating, Daniel and Stuart decided to call it a day on their relationship.

The pair, who had spoken about their dreams of having children one day, quietly made the mutual decision to part ways shortly before Christmas in 2019.

A source told The Sun their romance had been plagued with scheduling conflicts and they weren't able to devote much time to each other.

The source said: “They just don’t have the time and they sat down and had the talk to end things.

“There’s no-one else involved, things just didn’t work out and they decided to move on.

“They still care about each other and wish each other the best.”

Homophobic abuse online

After Corrie bosses wrote a heart warming gay adoption storyline for Daniel's character, Billy Mayhew, the veteran actor spoke out about his fear of a backlash.

Opening up about his experience since coming out as gay when he was 18, he said: “Because I’ve been out professionally since I was 18, I’ve been aware that I was overlooked for roles because producers knew I was gay, and I’ve had to put up with homophobic abuse on social media.

"People forget that you are a person, who still goes home to their family every night. I think they expect you to be thick-skinned.

Daniel Brocklebank as Billy Mayhew
Daniel has played loveable but troubled vicar Billy Mayhew on Corrie since 2014

"What they don’t see is when you shut the front door after a barrage of abuse and have to try to shake it off."

"I think that caused more backlash than any other storyline I’ve had, and I had a lot of parents getting in touch saying they were disgusted and that they had to explain to their child why two men were kissing," he said.

Daniel added: "My response to that was, 'Great, that’s amazing that you’ve actually been able to educate your kid that love comes in all different formats'."

He also reflected on some harrowing experiences growing up knowing he was gay in the eighties.

Daniel Brocklebank and a puppy
Dog-lover Daniel said it was tough growing up knowing he was gay in the 80s

He said: "When I was growing up, the legal age of consent was still 21 and it was illegal for teachers to discuss homosexuality in schools.

"I lived in a rural area, there was no internet and there were no gay role models on TV.

"It was the 1980s – all you read was gays were spread­­ing Aids and gays were paedophiles. It was hideous."

Now, he hopes by playing a gay character on a prime time soap, he can speak to children from the LGBT+ community who might be looking for role models.

"When I was 14 I thought I was maybe the only person in the world who was gay. And it would’ve helped massively to know I wasn’t," he said.