Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Giving Up Hope for a Second Child Was Brutal but We Are Lucky, We Have Gaia Giving Up Hope for a Second Child Was Brutal but We Are Lucky, We Have Gaia; Greg Wise Tells of Family Life and the Agony of IVF

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Giving Up Hope for a Second Child Was Brutal but We Are Lucky, We Have Gaia Giving Up Hope for a Second Child Was Brutal but We Are Lucky, We Have Gaia; Greg Wise Tells of Family Life and the Agony of IVF

Article excerpt

Byline: LEE CARLTON

IT'S JUST under a decade since Greg Wise galloped into the hearts of millions of British women - most notably that of Emma Thompson - as the caddish Willoughby in Sense and Sensibility.

Smouldering in Persil-white jodhpurs and high black boots, he was the successor to Colin Firth's sublimely uptight Mr Darcy.

"Greg Wise turned up to ride, full of beans and looking gorgeous. Ruffled all our feathers," Emma wrote in her diary, lamenting that she felt "frumpy, sad, old and weepy".

She got the guy, but it hasn't all been a fairytale; they have had a tough few years.

They had a difficult time conceiving. Emma got pregnant with Gaia on their first IVF attempt, at 40. Emma said it was "a great agony" to not have another child.

Wise's career never seemed to take off and his biggest role seemed to be as a devoted dad. Pictures showed him toting Gaia around north London. Wise admitted he was " completely in love with the idea of fatherhood".

But eventually they had to give up on the idea of a second baby.

"You have to," he says when we meet. His face darkens. "It's brutal.

Emotionally and mentally, for everyone. We tried our hardest, and it didn't work. But we are fantastically lucky. We have the most blissful child.

"Gaia is very like both of us. She's unstoppable, a complete force of nature. And you have a whole different relationship if you have one child than if you have three or four.

You're a lot more portable. You can go, 'Come on'. Which hopefully we'll be able to do in a couple of years' time: go off and spend six months in Uganda building a school."

His plan to build the school is part of Wise's efforts to live "morally". He gives 10 per cent of his earnings to charity and a young Rwandan refugee lives with the family at weekends.

The more you talk to Greg Wise, the more you realise his looks are a red herring - they make him seem one sort of person when he is actually something else. …

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