EastEnders star Michael Greco becomes a dad for the first time as his son is born 6 weeks early – with rare birth defect

EASTENDERS legend Michael Greco has become a dad for the first time at 51.

The actor, known to soap fans as Beppe DiMarco, has welcomed a baby boy with his girlfriend Helen Harris after she gave birth six weeks early.

Taking to Instagram, Michael revealed his firstborn came into the world prematurely weighing just 4.47lbs on Thursday.

He has named his son Gianluca Greco and the adorable Italian name means 'gift of god'.

Gianluca is now receiving treatment in ICU at Great Ormond Street Hospital for a rare birth defect.

"The little man was born prematurely due to the fact that previous scans had failed to pick up his rare birth defect called Gastroschisis," Michael explained on Instagram.


https://www.instagram.com/p/CQ1EF1EAgQ1/

A post shared by Michael Greco (@thegrecs)

"The consultant suggested it was best for him to born early so that he could get the necessary care and attention.

"He was born at University College of London Hospital @uclh Their staff were extremely professional and Mother and Baby could not have been in better hands."

Michael admits he was a "tad emotional to say the least" at his son's birth.

"Baby has already had his first operation to replace his bowel where it should belong and is under the worlds best care of @greatormondst where he will be in ICU for a while and most probably for up to 6 weeks," he added.

"My heart is full already and this is by far the best day of my life. I love you Gianluca more than I can ever imagine."

Michael was expecting to welcome his first child with his girlfriend Helen Harris later this year.

Michael appeared on Loose Women in April to break the good news.

He told the panellists: "I’m a traditionalist about colour. I know some people aren’t. I’m Italian, I’m old fashioned, I’m a traditionalist," before holding up a pair of blue socks.

The soap star was overcome with excitement as he shared the joyous news on his Instagram – and heart-warmingly admitted it was "the greatest post" he's ever shared.

The actor wrote alongside a picture of his baby's scan: "Baby Greco. First time daddy at 51! Probably the greatest post I’ve ever shared.

"Cant explain how emotional it was for me to be told that I am to be a father for the very first time, with my absolute soul mate.

"I’m normally a very private person but I couldn’t help reveal my utter joy and I just want to tell the world!" he continued.

After sharing his exciting news, many of his 48,700 followers shared their congratulations and well wishes under the post.

"This is just the best news!!! Soooo much love. Congratulations to you both! x " one follower wrote. "You are going to be such a wonderful Dad xxx".

Another shared: "Amazing news!!! So happy for you".

Michael only went public with his romance in September when the TV star shared a photo of him and Helen together.

At the time, he posted a gushing tribute to the blonde beauty, who he said was "worth waiting for".

He penned alongside a photo of them cosying up together: "Took 50 years to find that special someone but she was definitely worth waiting for.

"My beautiful girl. I love you. Xxx".

However, the mother-of-two initially hinted at their relationship last March as she shared a photo of her enjoying a night in with Michael and their two friends ahead of the UK's first lockdown.

Michael was catapulted into the spotlight playing gravel-voiced loverman Beppe Di Marco on EastEnders between 1998 and 2002.

At the height of his fame, he was voted Soap's Sexiest Male at the British TV Soap Awards and the Sexiest Male Soap Star ever by readers of the Radio Times.

After EastEnders, Michael made the switch to Casualty in 2017, where he played Phil Paterson, a copper called to the Emergency Department to arrest a troublemaker.

At the time, Michael announced that he was joining Casualty on Twitter where he praised the show's "incredibly high standards".

Aside from BBC dramas, he also appeared in 2006 movie Naked in London with fellow ex-EastEnder Jake Maskall, who was Jake Moon.

Yet, Michael has put his acting career on hold and is a big name on the professional poker circuit.

Michael previously dated fellow actress and Hollyoaks star Stephanie Waring – but split six months after going public in 2017 amid reports he wasn't keen on settling down.

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