Julie Claire Hesmondhalgh was born 25th February, 1970 in Accrington. She is an English actress who played Hayley Cropper on Coronation Street from 1998 to 2014, who was notable for being the first transgender character on a British TV soap opera. Despite this, she is not transgender herself and this was subject to criticism from some members of the LGBT community but as a whole, Hesmondhalgh has been praised for her performance. She has also appeared in The Bill, and Dalziel and Pascoe.
She supports the Labour Party, just like her former on-screen husband, David Neilson.