ITV Coronation Street: Real life of Steve McDonald actor Simon Gregson – his actual name, drag mischief, and anxiety struggles


Steve McDonald first hit the Coronation Street cobbles more than 30 years ago in 1989.

The former tearaway has had his fair share of dodgy dealings, but has become more of a comedic character over the years.

His misjudgments could also explain why he’s remarried so many times on the soap too – he’s got hitched seven times to five different women.

Steve is played by actor Simon Gregson, whose real life is very different from his fictional alter ego.

The 47-year-old attended The Kingsway School in Stockport, where he was scouted for the role of McDonald.

His first appearance in Corrie aired on December 6, 1989, when he was just 15-years-old.

He was initially credited under his real name – Simon Alan Gregory – but later adopted the stage name of ‘Gregson’ once he was old enough to join Equity, which is the trade union for British actors.

I have opted for Gregson as there was already a member with his real name, and it has stuck ever since.

Simon (right) joined the hit soap at 15

Simon married former Hollyoaks actress Emma Gleave in 2010 and they have three boys together – Alfie, 14, Henry, 12, and five-year-old Teddy.

The family-of-five live in Cheshire.

Whilst Simon was taking part in last year’s I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! where he came runner-up, Emma spoke about her husband’s life de ella away from the cameras.

The 38-year-old said Simon sometimes spends his downtime in New York bar in Manchester’s gay village – where he has been known to dress up in drag.

“Our good friend owns it and it’s always been a safe place for Simon to have a few drinks and cause mischief on the stage,” she told the Mirror.

“He loves a laugh… he always ends up dancing on the tables and loves stripping off at parties.

“He’s got a thing about being free. If anything silly is going on at the end of the night, he will be involved.”

Simon during an eating challenge on I’m A Celeb

Emma also opened up about Simon’s crippling anxiety disorder, saying he has made great strides since they first met.

The proud wife said: “Ten years ago there would have been absolutely no way he would have done I’m A Celeb.

“So to watch him go in and take on the unknown, which he was really nervous about, to actually embrace it and to look so relaxed while he is doing it, we are dead proud of him.

“I was very emotional watching. When we first got together he couldn’t leave the house or go to restaurants because it was so bad.

“One time we went to stay in our caravan in Anglesey and Simon thought he was having a stroke and dying. His whole face dropped and we had to call an ambulance.

“He got to the hospital and they told him he had a panic attack.

“He has since been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and it has completely changed his life. He was medicated and there was a reason why he felt like he did.

“That changed everything for him, so he could understand what was wrong. Now he speaks to a lot of people on social media about it and he likes helping people.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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