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Emilie Ullerup Overcame a Health Scare Before Becoming a Hallmark Sweetheart

Get to know this strong leading lady and don't miss her new movie 'Retreat to You'!


Long before Emilie Ullerup was gracing our screen as a Hallmark sweetheart, she was spending her days in Copenhagen, Denmark, growing up as the daughter of a Danish diplomat. You may recognize her from films such as Don’t Forget I Love You, Nature of Love, Winter Castle alongside When Calls the Heart‘s Kevin McGarry or Christmas Bells Are Ringing, but her career started long before her time as part of the Hallmark family.

After her European upbringing, she made her big move to Vancouver, Canada, where she decided to take her interest in acting to the next level and attend the Vancouver Film School. Since then, Emilie has made a name for herself both on and off the small screen, and has overcome a major health challenge to get to where she is today.

Ullerup is quickly rising through the ranks of Hallmark royalty, and you can catch her next film, Retreat to You, on September 23 at 8/7c alongside Peter Mooney, who you might also recognize from Hallmark’s Fly Away with Me!

(Read about Peter Mooney, the handsome new Hallmark star, here!)

Emilie Ullerup, 'Retreat to You', 2023
Emilie Ullerup, Retreat to You, 2023Hallmark Media/Photographer: Syd Wong

Emilie Ullerup breaks into the industry

Ullerup’s earliest role came in 2006 for two episodes of Battlestar Galactica as Julia Brynn. “That was my very first audition,” she told Pop Culture Principle. “Battlestar Galactica was a huge hit show and it ran smoothly and everyone was so professional, so for me as a first time experience, it set the standard pretty high. At the same time, I had no idea what I was doing. It was overwhelming and terrifying, but a great experience because everything was just easy there. It was just lovely.”

Soon after, she did an eight-episode stint in Sanctuary, for which she played the role of Ashley Magnus, a character who, despite being controversial, received a lot of support in the wake of her being written out of the series.

“When you leave a show — I was very, very nervous that the forums would be extremely excited that Ashley was gone. I mean, you never know what people are going to feel,” she told Clique Clack. “And seeing that it wasn’t that way was really exciting. Because of this experience, there’s a different relationship for me with the fans because — it’s meant a lot.”

Emilie Ullerup, 2014
Emilie Ullerup, 2014Andrew Chin/Getty Images

JPod was another series she was celebrated for early in her career, playing the role of Kaitlin Joyce, and winning a Leo Award for her work in the series. Other early roles include Arctic Air, Blood Ties, Riese and True Justice.

Emilie Ullerup overcame an agressive tumor

In 2008, after dealing with persistent back pain for a year and a half, she discovered the presence of an aggressive tumor at the bottom of her spine. While luckily benign, its removal was invasive and required removal of her coccyx and half of the sacrum of her pelvis.

“There were moments of great frustration and fear and lack of control,” she told Clique Clack. “I think those are very healthy things to be faced with once in a while — as long as you can get out of it okay.”

Emilie’s off-screen romance

Emilie Ullerup is married to Kyle Cassie, another Canadian actor known for his work in Deadpool, Puppet Killer and Lost Boys: The Tribe. The couple have two children together.

Emilie Ullerup, Kyle Cassie, and their two children
Emilie Ullerup, Kyle Cassie, and their two childrenemilie.ullerup/Instagram

Getting her Hallmark start

Emilie Ullerup has starred in a total of 12 Hallmark films so far, as well as a few series, her earliest being in a supporting role in 2012’s The Music Teacher. Her most recent works on the network have awarded her leading lady status. Take a look at a few of our favorites from over the years, as well as what’s to come!

The Music Teacher (2012)

Annie Potts, Emilie Ullerup, Moneca Delain, Shawn Roberts, 'The Music Teacher', 2012
Annie Potts, Emilie Ullerup, Moneca Delain, Shawn Roberts, The Music Teacher, 2012Crown Media Holdings, Inc./Photographer: Katie Yu

A Kansas City music teacher faces the loss of her beloved after school music music program in the wake of budget cuts. With the help of her former students and their commitment to their teacher’s cause, they put on a show in the hopes of saving the program.

Chesapeake Shores (2016)

Emilie Ullerup, 'Chesapeake Shores', 2016
Emilie Ullerup, Chesapeake Shores, 2016Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Ricardo Hubbs

Ullerup acted in five seasons of this Hallmark series, which follows the O’Brien family and their trials and tribulations in the picturesque setting of small-town Chesapeake Shores. Emilie played the role of Bree O’Brien, a flamboyant playwright who lacks the inspiration that once drove her work.

Hearts of Christmas (2016)

Emilie Ullerup, Kristoffer Polaha, 'Hearts of Christmas', 2016
Emilie Ullerup, Kristoffer Polaha, Hearts of Christmas, 2016 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Kailey Schwerman

Emilie Ullerup plays Jenny in Hearts of Christmas, the young colleague to a soon-retiring neonatal ICU supervisor. When Jenny takes on the task of throwing a staff Christmas party/surprise celebration for her, she runs into trouble thanks to the hospital’s new CFO who has to cut costs.

With Love, Christmas (2017)

Emilie Ullerup; Aaron O'Connell, 'With Love, Christmas', 2017
Emilie Ullerup; Aaron O’Connell, With Love, Christmas, 2017Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Ryan Plummer

Two ad executives, Melanie and Donovan, butt heads in their effort to create the next best cellphone commercial for the holidays. To make things even more complicated, Melanie, played by Ullerup, is her colleague, Donovan’s, secret Santa.

Christmas Bells Are Ringing (2018)

Emilie Ullerup, Josh Kelly, 'Christmas Bells Are Ringing', 2018
Emilie Ullerup, Josh Kelly, Christmas Bells Are Ringing, 2018 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Ryan Plummer

Sam and Mike were inseparable friends as children, as Sam spent summers vacationing at her family’s home in Cape Cod, while Mike was a local boy who she befriended upon visiting. When Sam’s mother passed away, she couldn’t bring herself to return. Thirteen years later, with her father’s wedding on the horizon, Sam returns to Cape Cod, only to meet Mike once again.

Winter Castle (2019)

Kevin McGarry, Emilie Ullerup, Winter Castle, 2019
Kevin McGarry, Emilie Ullerup, Winter Castle, 2019Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Courtesy of Johnson Production Group

Emilie Ullerup stars alongside When Calls the Heart’s Kevin McGarry in this icy love story. Jenny is ecstatic for her sister’s wedding, set to take place in an ice hotel. When the best man catches her eye, things start to warm up in this frigid location.

(See where Kevin McGarry ranks in this list of 15 Hallmark heartthrobs!)

Nature of Love (2020)

Christopher Russell, Emilie Ullerup, 'Nature of Love', 2020
Christopher Russell, Emilie Ullerup, Nature of Love, 2020Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Courtesy Johnson Production Group/Luba Popovic

Katie is a magazine writer from the city tasked with writing a piece on a “glamping” resort. Will is the rugged, handsome and outdoorsy guide tasked with showing her the ropes. Sparks fly between the two, and it isn’t from a campfire! Fun fact: Emilie Ullerup was actually pregnant during filming of Nature of Love!

“I was four months along which made it way more tricky for everyone involved.” She told Parade, “I had to have a body double for any wide shots as I was showing. I had to hold a lot of purses or my hands in front of me to camouflage the bump. You could make a drinking game out of the movie: any time you spot the bump you drink. You may actually never see it though, I’m not sure.”

Don’t Forget I Love You (2022)

Clayton James, Emilie Ullerup, Don't Forget I Love You, 2022
Clayton James, Emilie Ullerup, Don’t Forget I Love You, 2022Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Courtesy Johnson Production Group/Luba Popovic

Taylor’s mother, who has passed away, left behind a time capsule that she opens on her birthday. The time capsule contains a list of challenges and instructions for Taylor that force her out of her comfort zone and open her up to all of life’s possibilities — even love.

I believe we are all pretty resilient and with time everything heals.” Ullerup told Media Village, “I liked that about this story, and even though Taylor has lost a parent, it’s a nice commemoration of that. I thought it was a lovely, lovely tale of a woman also learning to let go a little of the fears and the control issues she’s obviously put in place to protect herself [and] learning that maybe they’re not serving her anymore.”

Retreat to You (2023)

Peter Mooney, Emilie Ullerup, 'Retreat to You', 2023
Peter Mooney, Emilie Ullerup, Retreat to You, 2023Hallmark Media/Photographer: Syd Wong

Catch Ullerup alongside Peter Mooney in her newest Hallmark film, Retreat to You, which follows two high school ex-best friends that cross paths once again in a chance meeting at a wilderness retreat. Watch the film on September 23 at 8/7c!

For more on your Hallmark favorites, read below!

10 of Our Favorite Kimberley Sustad Hallmark Movies, Ranked

Erin Krakow Is One of Our Favorite Hallmark Actresses — Here’s Why We Love Her

Hallmark Heartthrobs! Our Top 15 Favorite Actors, Ranked

Celebrity Couples Who Starred in Hallmark Channel Movies Together

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