Ian Stenlake has a smile from ear to ear – and for good reason. The former Sea Patrol star and his wife, Amber, have a baby on board.
Speaking exclusively to New Idea, a jubilant Ian reveals his radiant wife is six months pregnant. The couple have four children between them from previous relationships. This
is their first child together.
WATCH VIDEO EXCLUSIVE: Behind the scenes with Ian Stenlake!
Ian says telling their children they will soon have a baby brother or sister was very special. They were all seated at the dinner table when he and Amber delivered their happy news.
“That was one of the most exciting moments of our lives,” Ian, 49, enthuses. “I tend to be a bit silly at the best of times, and I remember I said, ‘Hey kids, I’ve been doing a bit of drawing. I’ll go get it and you tell me what you think.’
“But I then brought in the picture of the ultrasound and they were totally confused. They were saying, ‘It’s not a drawing, it’s a baby.’”
And then it dawned on the children whose baby it actually was.
“They are very excited,” Amber, 42, says of their children’s reaction to the pregnancy. “I think we are lucky.”
Ian and Amber met on September 4, 2015 – and two years later, to the day, they were married.
With their own Brady Bunch-like brood, the couple had originally decided another baby was not on the cards.
“We thought, ‘We’ve got two kids each and that’s pretty good,’” Ian concedes. “You’ve got this common sense thing saying we shouldn’t have another.”
But then Amber dropped a mini-bombshell on Ian.
“Amber said to me, ‘I might have been telling a little fib about not wanting another child,’” he recalls.
And it was all the encouragement he needed.
“I said to her straight away, ‘I would absolutely love another one. There is nothing I would love more than that,’” Ian remembers.
“You’ve got pressure not to have another baby, but in reality, I was busting to have another one.”
Ian was still a teenager when he stumbled into acting – and onto one of the biggest movie sets of the time.
After finishing Year 12 in 1990, Ian took a gap year to see the world. While in Rome, Italy, he met actor Franc D’Ambrosio, who invited him to the set of Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather III.
He snared a role as an extra, playing a waiter in a party scene – and it was this role that spurred him on to pursue acting as a career. Ian landed a role in cop show Murder Call, which led to him being cast as a regular as Constable Oscar Stone in Stingers, alongside Peter Phelps and Kate Kendall, in 1998.
The role catapulted Ian to stardom, and he followed it up with success as Lieutenant Commander Mike Flynn in hit series Sea Patrol.
Away from the screen, Ian is famous for role in hit musicals Guys and Dolls and last year was in a production of fan favourite Mamma Mia!
He’s balanced work – which often takes him away from home – with being a dad. Ian has two children, Tahlula, 12, and Roxie, 10, from his previous marriage to actress Rachael Beck. The couple divorced in 2012. Amber, who has two children, Aneesa, 16, and Keyaan, 13, from a previous marriage, is kept busy as part-owner of a fashion label called 2NDSKIN.
How do the pair make co-parenting work?
“You just do the best that you can,” Ian says. “At the end of the day, particularly with Amber and [me], you can’t always get the time that you want.
“But for the greater part, it works.”
When they were courting, both Ian and Amber were keen to know each other’s parenting styles. It was a relief to find they had a lot in common.
“I think that the main things about what we expected of our kids was how they treat us and how they treat each other, and we agreed on a huge deal of that,” Ian says.
But there are always challenges to face.
“Even when we have everyone together on the weekends, it can be a logistical nightmare,” Amber concedes. “It takes an hour of planning between us.
“It will always be a work in progress, but I think we’ve got to a good place.”
One thing’s for sure, there will be plenty of help at hand to lighten the load when the baby comes along. “I’m sure they will be helping as much as they can,” Ian says with confidence.
The couple have been prepping their children for their new – and often less than exciting – jobs.
“Our son is saying that he won’t do the dirty nappies,” Ian laughs. “He will do a number one but not a number two. That’s a start. I’m happy with that!”
One thing they’re keeping from their children (and from us!) – for now – is the sex of their baby. The couple agreed to find out the gender of the baby. Although it wasn’t an easy decision.
“We had a conversation about it and I was keen to wait and have the surprise, but I’m also aware that Amber likes to be able to plan things out and we decided together that we would find out,” Ian says.
“We held out for a while,” Amber adds.
Two weeks after receiving the letter which contained the gender of the baby, they finally decided to open it. They went down to the beach at sunrise and enjoyed the magic moment together.
So far, it’s been what Amber calls an “easy” pregnancy. No cravings and no problems, save for a bit of back pain.
Ian, however, remains on alert for any “urgent requests” from Amber.
“He’s been very good and takes care of me and makes sure that I’m comfortable and getting massages. He is a fantastic support.”
WATCH VIDEO EXCLUSIVE! 5 Questions with Ian and Amber Stenlake
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