The EastEnders star confirmed that his second wife Christie is eight months pregnant with a baby girl - their third child together. Richie has two sons from a previous marriage to Coleen Nolan.
Speaking to Hello magazine, he admitted that he had decided to keep the pregnancy secret due to the BBC soap's controversial baby-swap storyline involving his character Alfie Moon.
"People see me as Alfie Moon," the 47-year-old said. "They would keep asking me about the cot death storyline and it would have felt strange tagging on the end, 'Oh, and by the way, we're expecting a baby'. If people asked about Christie, I said she'd put on a bit of weight."
Speaking of the storyline which saw Ronnie Mitchell swap her dead son James for Kat and Alfie's son Tommy, Christie, 31, said: "There are things you choose to avoid when you're pregnant. Obviously I wasn't going to watch the moment Ronnie's baby died."
However, praising the storylining team, Richie added: "I think they've handled the storylines brilliantly."
> 'EastEnders' duo discuss baby plot climax