Miranda Tapsell is an incredible, successful, Australian actress, but for the longest time she wanted to add the title of “mum” to her resumé.
With a big extended family, the proud Larrakia Tiwi woman always dreamed of having a little one of her own one day and after meeting husband James Colley – via Twitter DM, of all things – back in 2016, it seemed that her dream wasn’t that far off.
The couple fell hard and fast for one another and were married by the end of 2018, but it turned out that falling pregnant wasn’t as easy as Miranda had expected.
“I’d spent so long as a young woman learning about contraception and how not to get pregnant, that learning how to fall pregnant was a real shift,” she told The Australian Women’s Weekly.
“It’s not as easy as people think. I got disheartened, it was like, ‘no, I’m not pregnant this time. Not this time either’. So, I was at the point where I was quite pessimistic.”
She and James spent 18 months trying to conceive through 2019 and 2020, and Miranda was almost starting to lose hope – that is, until she saw those lines on a pregnancy test in 2021.
Discovering she was pregnant in lockdown certainly wasn’t what Miranda had planned for, but she and James couldn’t have been more overjoyed by the news.
“I came downstairs to tell James and it was the most wonderful thing. We were able to have that moment together and just savour it,” Miranda said of that moment.
James added: “And seeing Miranda as a mum is the part that I’m really most excited for.”
Their dreams of parenthood became a reality in December 2021, when they announced the arrival of their daughter Grace Birri-Pa Purnarrika Colley!
Now a proud mum, Miranda can’t get enough of her little girl and shares regular photo updates on Instagram, which we just can’t get enough of.
Keep scrolling to see the latest photos of Grace and look back on Miranda and James’ incredible journey to parenthood.
Actress Miranda Tapsell first met James Colley, who is the head writer for three hit ABC series – The Weekly with Charlie Pickering, Question Everything and Gruen – on Twitter of all places! Some mutual friends suggested she follow him back in 2016 and the pair soon got chatting in the DMs. Soon after they met up in Melbourne and sparks flew.
It didn’t take long for couple to become an item and by Christmas of 2017 they were engaged! Miranda captioned this photo on Instagram: “Proud to announce that @jamcolley took Beyonce’s advice over the🎄Chrissy holidays. He’s so lucky to spend the rest of his life with this nerd 🤓💍”
Miranda and James said “I do” in December 2018, tying the knot in a beautiful ceremony packed with loved ones at Panorama House on the Bulli Tops Lookout in NSW. Miranda wore a custom handmade gown by Australian designer Weave and couldn’t have looked more stunning on her big day.
In 2021 Miranda found out she was expecting after struggling to fall pregnant for 18 months – she and James were going to be parents!
“I want to make that balance of being able to give my child what they need but also fulfil my aspirations. I still want to act, to write and create, because that’s my outlet. I love being a storyteller,” she told The Weekly.
“My people have been telling stories for so many years and I’m glad that my child will get to witness those stories. That’s the most important thing to me.”
The couple welcomed their beautiful daughter on December 13, 2021 and shared the joyful news on Instagram with two photos of their little bundle of joy. Miranda anad James revealed that they named their little girl Grace Birri-Pa Purnarrika Colley, explaining the meaning behind her name: “Birri-Pa is Larrakia for Butterfly, Purnarrika is Tiwi for Water Lily.”
Miranda wrote of her little girl: “Grace has entered the world adored by her mum and dad, as well as all her aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and so many more. We are extremely grateful, overjoyed and so, so tired 💕”
Just a few days after becoming a dad, James shared this darling photo with his little girl as he wrapped up another year of work. Marking the last episode of Gruen for the season, James reflected on the year and wrote: “Not a bad knock.
“But now I reckon I’ll take a few months to focus on something that really matters. The NBA. And also my precious baby, i guess.”
Miranda shared this cute update on Grace wearing a shirt from Blak-owned label Gammin Threads. She captioned the snap: “Thank you @gamminthreads for this little Aunty’s deadly new tee. Got that side eye down pat 🥰💕”
James couldn’t get enough of his wife and baby over the holidays, sharing this snap ahead of Christmas 2021.
James kicked off 2022 with this family snap, which he captioned: “comedy’s over. 2022 wholesome posts only.”
Miranda is starting her daughter’s cultural education early, taking her along to Yabun Festival – the largest one day gathering and recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures in Australia – on January 26.
James was there too, supporting the cause and taking on dad duties!
James captioned this delightful snap of his daughter poking her tongue out at the camera: “The disrespect starts early.”
Miranda spent extra time with her “little woman” on International Women’s Day and we can’t believe how much Grace has already grown.
Family adventures! This daddy-daughter trek took place while James and Miranda were filming Summer Love, the first script they ever collaborated on.
Meanwhile Miranda was looking gorgeous and couldn’t help dressing Grace in some industry-appropriate gear.
Three generations of Larrakia Tiwi women! Miranda captioned this photo on Mother’s Day 2022: “Happy Mother’s Day, Barbara. You’re a wonderful matriarch who cares very deeply for her family and friends. Gracie’s lucky to have you as a grandmother.”
James honoured his wife on his own profile, captioning this tender moment: “Winner of the TV WEEK Logie Award for Best New Mum (a very controversial category they probably shouldn’t have added). Your family love you and are so grateful for the care, love and attention you show us. Happy First Mother’s Day. This message was dictated by Grace and Brando too but as the only one with thumb control I was nominated to write it.”
Miranda Tapsell family wedding
This trio scrub up nicely for a wedding!
James Colley daughter
This little outfit is too adorable.
James Colley daughter
Like father, like daughter.
Grace and Miranda
That little face!
James and Grace
“My flat mates are rude,” joked in her caption for this snap.
She definitely inherited mum’s big grin!
Grace is growing up so fast – just check her out here at six months old.
James shared a peek into his and Miranda’s life as new parents with this charming photo from a walk with Grace in August 2022.
Grace has grown so much! James shared this cute family portrait with the caption “Here’s what you’ve missed” in August 2022.
“Some shots from the last days of the Elizabethan era,” James captioned this photo days before the Queen’s funeral.
This special photo with Miranda’s dad was posted for Father’s Day, with Miranda captioning it: ‘Happy Father’s Day, Awaw. My heart bursts when Grace lights up at seeing you. We love you so much, and hope you feel special today. Here’s to all the Father’s and father figures.’
The gorgeous Grace is beginning to walk!
Miranda paid tribute to James on his first Father’s Day: ‘Getting in early to embarrass the hell out of this funny, clever dad on his first Father’s Day. Thank you for all the coffee, cuddles and care @jamcolley. Me, Gracie and Brando won the lottery with you.’
Happy 1st birthday to Grace!
Miranda posted this to Instagram to celebrate Grace’s first birthday, with the caption: “Verified
One year ago, this hungry little caterpillar became a beautiful butterfly. My darling Birri-Pa, Thank you for teaching me to appreciate the little things, thank you for laughing at all my facial expressions and clapping and dancing to my singing, and most of all, frowning at Dada. You are the most wonderful little person and the world is all the better now that you’re in it. I love being your Mummy. Thank you to all the loving friends that came over on the weekend to make our Gracie feel cherished ♥️”
This beautiful family shot was posted by James on the 25th of December, wishing everyone a Merry Christmas.
We can’t get enough of this cuties grin!
Grace is a water baby!
In December 2023, little Grace celebrated her second birthday.
“We don’t know where this year has gone but we’re so grateful to come out of it with the sweetest, cleverest, cheekiest little kid you could ever ask for. Happy birthday Gracie!” Miranda wrote.