Coronation Street star Chris Gascoyne has played Peter Barlow on the ITV soap since 2000.

Peter has had a rocky love life over the years - even becoming a bigamist at one stage - but Chris' real life relationship couldn't be further from his character's.

Chris has been with his wife Caroline Harding for 20 years and in 2010 he said: "It's odd because I've never been like that at all.

"When I was younger it wasn't for want of trying, but I'd be the bloke at the bus stop at the end of the night on his own with a kebab."

Caroline has actually appeared in Corrie multiple times over the years, but the vast majority of fans would have had no idea she was Chris' beloved wife - reports Mirror Online.

The couple first met in 2000 when they went to see their mutual friend Catherine Tate performing at London's Comedy Store.

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Chris spotted Caroline during the interval but thought she was with her partner, so was thrilled to discover it was just a friend when she came over to chat at the end.

They went for a walk through Soho together and Chris was gutted he didn't get her number, but thankfully he managed to get it from Catherine and they started seeing each other.

Caroline has played four different characters in Emmerdale and appeared in Weatherfield twice in 2015 as the doctor who diagnosed Hope Stape's cancer.

Caroline played Dr Howarth on Coronation Street last year
Caroline played Dr Howarth on Coronation Street last year

Most recently, Caroline played Dr Howarth, who treated dying Oliver Battersby and told the court it would be an act of kindness and compassion to switch off his life support.

Chris is step dad to Caroline's two sons, Pip and Freddie, from her previous marriage to Line of Duty star Jason Watkins.

Together they are also parents to daughter Belle and got married in 2002. They now live in Manchester close to where Corrie is filmed.

Chris said: "If someone had said to me in my 20s that I'd have dated a divorced mum with kids, I would have said no way.

"But it kind of made me feel closer to her. It was a very real relationship very quickly. I saw this amazing strength in her and I loved her kids Freddie and Pip."

Like his character Peter, Chris admits he had a problem with alcohol after leaving drama school in the early 90s, but in 2002 Chris decided to put his party lifestyle behind him, partly due to meeting Caroline.

He said: "I kept looking back and realised any mistakes I made could be put down to alcohol.

"I had said things to people and done things I wouldn't have done if I'd been sober.

"And when you realise that, it spoils your drinking. You can still drink a bit, but not to the same level. Meeting my wife was part of me changing, but mainly it was a realisation in myself that drinking was making me unhappy.

"Before I would drink to all hours of the morning and wouldn't really question it. But now it gets to midnight and I get slightly scared and have to go home. I know when I've had enough.

"I'm not teetotal, but I drink very rarely now."

*Coronation Street airs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays on ITV