Martine McCutcheon was “a little bit in love” with Hugh Grant when they filmed ‘Love Actually’.

Martine McCutcheon

Martine McCutcheon

The former ‘EastEnders’ star portrayed Natalie opposite the ‘Undoing’ actor as the Prime Minister in the festive favourite and while she was very nervous when they started filming, she was thankful her co-star was so “gracious and kind”.

She said: “In the first scene we filmed, I had to run and straddle Hugh at the airport.

“I felt so insecure and was petrified I’d knock him over.

“Hugh had always been my crush and I was a little bit in love with him.

“But he was so gracious, encouraging and kind, and wanted me to shine.

“That was 18 years ago but we’re still in touch. He’s so happy and content – the happiest that he’s ever been.”

While the movie is a Christmas classic for many, Martine hates watching it back.

She said: “My mum loves it but I’m always critical of my performance.”

But the 44-year-old star is looking forward to her five-year-old son Rafferty – who she has with husband Jack McManus – being old enough to watch the movie and understand its messages.

She told Britain’s HELLO! Magazine: “I’m so proud of this film. When Rafferty grows up and has children of his own, I want them all to know its message of love is what I stand for.”

Meanwhile, Martine recorded a festive EP, ‘Home for Christmas’, in her husband’s home studio during lockdown and she admitted it helped lift her family’s spirits.

She said: “It cheered us up and brought hope. We also involved other musicians who have been out of work for months because of lockdown.

“It’s important to keep your mojo going and help others feel good.”