Colin Vickery, The Daily Telegraph, reports
Sometimes life imitates art.
Just ask Zoe Tuckwell-Smith.
The Aussie actor spent most of last year padded up to play the pregnant Bec (Rebecca) Gilbert on Winners and Losers.
Now Tuckwell-Smith is pregnant in real life. She and long-time partner, actor and director Damon Gameau, revealed in June that they were expecting their first child.
Here's hoping Tuckwell-Smith has a happier time in the aftermath of her baby's arrival than her TV character.
Bec has spent most of this year's third series of the Channel 7 drama getting over the death of her husband, Matt O'Connor (Blair McDonough).
Matt died after a tragic accident. He was working on the block of land in the country where the couple planned to build their dream home when an acetylene tank exploded and he was engulfed in flames.
Bec has also had to cope with the revelation that before his death, Matt had been cheating on her with nemesis Tiffany Turner (Michaela Banas).
Bec is raising baby son Harrison with the help of her ex-boyfriend, Doug Graham (Tom Wren), who happens to be the boy's biological father.
This week's Winners and Losers showed Bec at a crossroads. She has decided to sell her salon and start a new chapter in life.
"Bec has been through the wringer," Tuckwell-Smith says.
"She has been through all the possible lows that life can throw at you.
"Losing Matt in such a traumatic way, raising a child pretty much on her own - the only way is up really.
"What we're about to see from Bec is that she is going through a transition phase into a fresh start. There is the possibility of a brighter future and also a more honest future.
"She can no longer deny that her relationship with Matt was not the ideal she had imagined in her heart.
"She always envisaged a long-term future with Matt and now she's got a blank canvas."
There are more than a few echoes of Bec's dilemma in the recent series of Offspring. Like Bec, Nina Proudman (Asher Keddie) faces life as a single mother after the shock death of her partner.
Some pundits are predicting that Offspring viewers, already traumatised by the passing of anaesthetist Patrick Reid (Matthew Le Nevez), may shy away from next year's series because it could be too upsetting.
The makers of Winners and Losers have been able to offset Bec's dark storylines with sunnier storylines featuring friends Sophie Wong (Melanie Vallejo), Jenny Gross (Melissa Bergland) and Frances James (Virginia Gay).
This year the show has also introduced Katherine Hicks (Rescue Special Ops) as Jenny's half-sister Sam McKenzie.
Tuckwell-Smith hasn't been afraid to take Bec to some dark places. In fact, she has relished it.
"Our show in the past has always been very happy-go-lucky so I have felt proud to be able to bring a bit more depth to the character and show her evolution. I hope I have done it just. I haven't been through half the things she's been through.
"I did a lot of reading about people who had lost relatives and loved ones suddenly and how they had lived through it.
"It was really humbling to read true accounts of what people go through.
"I really enjoyed doing that justice - bringing a voice to some of the darker experiences of life, but also showing a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel - that people can overcome huge tragedy."
Tuckwell-Smith was recently photographed showing off her baby bump as she dined with close friends at a Bondi cafe.
Tuckwell-Smith says acting out Bec's pregnancy last year was a "practice run" for the real-life event.
Fans will remember that Bec had a home birth, surrounded by Sophie (who delivered the baby), Jenny and Frances.
"This pregnancy is much more delightful than anything Bec went through," Tuckwell-Smith laughs.
"(For a start) I'm pregnant to someone I actually love. It has been wonderful. Damon and I are so happy. We're really excited about being parents. We feel very lucky. I've been very well."
Tuckwell-Smith's pregnancy isn't expected to affect filming of Winners and Losers if it goes to a fourth season.
Series three wrapped in July. Seven hasn't announced a fourth series yet though the ratings have been encouraging with an average of more than one million viewers nationally per episode.
If series four does go ahead, filming wouldn't start until January at the very earliest.
"I couldn't have timed this pregnancy better if I'd tried," Tuckwell-Smith says.
"It is hard to tell what happens with a child. You can't know. Hopefully it will be straight back in (to work on Winners and Losers) and it will flow smoothly.
"It (baby) will have so many aunties. Virginia, Melanie, Melissa and I are very close and when Katherine came along we welcomed her with open arms because she is hilarious and a great actor.
"That has made the job over the last three years really easy. There is nothing like turning up to work when the environment is relaxed and everyone is compatible.
"Winners and Losers is not like Neighbours or Home and Away where you can see it going on indefinitely.
"Hopefully we've got a couple more seasons in us. Who knows what the future will hold?"
Tuckwell-Smith reckons there is still plenty to explore in Bec's life journey.
"Bec has always been very good," Tuckwell-Smith explains.
"She's done the right thing. I guess I like that about her - that goodness in her.
"Now that is tempered with reality. She always had clear definitions of what was right and wrong and now she is left with a grey area - that Matt wasn't the love she necessarily thought. She's had the edges knocked off her. She's more accepting of life's uncertainty and its imperfections.
"That makes her more relaxed and a bit more accepting of other people's imperfections. She used to be judgmental, but now she's more understanding of other people's foibles.
"She is also a bit more fun. Going through something that rough (Matt's death), it makes you appreciate life more."
Winners and Losers, Channel 7, Tuesday, 8.50pm