Helen Baxendale has revealed why she turned her back on America and why, ultimately, she put her family life first.

In the late 90s, after becoming one of the most popular UK actresses in Cold Feet and then Friends, Helen Baxendale decided against pursuing stardom in Hollywood and focused on her family life.

Helen told The Mirror that she has never regretted the move, adding that the lure of the bright lights of LA was never as glamorous as it seemed.

“I am really glad I did those shows, but it was a different life and not one I am desperate to return to,” she said.

“Ultimately it is actually a very boring one in terms of your life. Those people in Friends could not go out without being hounded, shouted at or followed. Who wants that? I don’t want that.

“People have a glazed look half the time and they don’t respond to you directly. I never felt sorry for the people in Friends though. They had enormous wealth and they were funny, creative people who gave a lot of people happiness.”

But Helen wanted to start a family: “I wanted to have children and I wanted to be with the person I was in love with. To me there are many aspects of being ambitious. There is this perception that TV is glamorous and it is the pinnacle of your existence – I don’t think it is. Yes I was lucky enough to have a glimpse into that world, but it just wasn’t for me.”

*Helen next appears in BBC1’s sci-fi thriller Outcasts, starting soon.