JUST a month ago, Denise Van Outen was planning a small register office wedding with her partner Eddie Boxshall, hoping to tie the knot sooner rather than later.
But now, fed up with Covid restrictions and desperate for a party, the 46-year-old entertainer has had a change of heart.
In an exclusive interview with The Sun, Denise has revealed it is more likely they will get hitched in 2023, as they want as many friends and family as possible to celebrate their big day.
She revealed: “We’re not engaged but we are preparing to get married. It will definitely happen but we’re not in a rush.
“We’re both getting back to work now with everything opening up and it’s just finding the time, as we want it to be a big day and that takes a lot of planning.
“We don’t want a small wedding. We want a big group of people and a big party with no restrictions.
“Plus, with all the weddings that have been cancelled because of the pandemic, there’s going to be a massive backlog and I wouldn’t want to get in the way of all of them. Let them all go first!”
Denise and Eddie, 46, a commodities trader, have been together for seven years. They live in Essex along with Denise’s nine-year-old daughter Betsy, from her first marriage — to musical theatre performer Lee Mead.
Eddie has two children from a previous relationship.
The couple are often seen on TV’s Celebrity Gogglebox joking around in front of the telly — and Denise tells how moving in together three years ago cemented their relationship.
She said: “We’re like a married couple already. I knew he was The One quite early on, but living together has made it feel even more like that.
“I can count the number of times we’ve argued on one hand. I’d say we’ve had about three barneys in the past seven years.
“We just have a laugh together, and so much fun. What you see of us on Gogglebox is exactly what we’re like at home. We’re the most annoying people to watch telly with!”
While Denise and Eddie are planning their big day, neither is keen on getting engaged in the traditional sense, especially as Denise has been married before. She and Lee split in 2013 after four years together.
The former Big Breakfast host was even planning on proposing to Eddie in 2020, but Covid put paid to that.
She previously revealed: “I was going to propose last leap year but we went into lockdown so it was impossible to do it properly. It didn’t feel right.
“So it’s a joint decision. There is no proposal. We’re doing it the modern way. We’re in our forties and I’ve been married before. For a lot of women, the dream is the big rock on the finger. I’m the opposite of that.
“I just want the commitment between two people. I don’t need to wear a diamond ring to feel someone loves me. I said to him that we’ll get bands when we marry.”
When most people were stuck inside due to lockdown last year, Denise was busy training for Dancing On Ice — though she had to pull out after week one of the competition due to fracturing her shoulder, which she was “gutted about”.
She says with a sigh: “Three months of solid training down the drain.”
She also spent a week in total isolation for the celebrity version of Channel 4’s The Circle.
“I missed [my family] so much,” she said. “I was on my own in that flat and it was hard. I have so much respect for anyone who has been living on their own throughout the pandemic.
“I only did it for a week. As soon as I got out of The Circle flat, I contacted all my friends who live on their own just to see how they were and to check up on them.”
While Denise was able to distract herself with TV projects and writing her autobiography, which she described as “quite cathartic” and which will be out this year, it was a different story for Eddie and Betsy. Thankfully, she didn’t have any worries about the pair not getting along in her absence.
She said: “Eddie is brilliant with Betsy but he really struggled in lockdown, especially as he was the one doing the home-schooling most of the time, which was really hard.
"And being an only child, Betsy found it tough not being at school and seeing all her friends. She really missed them.”
There is no chance of Betsy getting any more siblings, however, as Denise has ruled that out.
She previously said: “Two or three years ago we did talk about trying to have children. But it never happened and I don’t have any regrets.”
Two or three years ago we did talk about trying to have children. But it never happened and I don’t have any regrets.
Denise turns 47 later this month but despite lockdown restrictions easing next week, she and Eddie are just planning to have a quiet celebration together.
The pair are heading to the seaside near their home, where they have hired a beach hut for the day while Betsy is at school.
Denise said: “I would go away usually but there’s just as nice places to go in Essex. One good thing about the past year is how we’ve all realised how much there is on our doorstep.
“The only thing is you can never rely on the British weather. I hope the sun’s out for me.”
While many dread getting older, Denise recently spoke about how she is more body-confident now than 20 years ago, when she was posing semi-nude in lads’ mags.
She said: “I try to embrace my femininity, it’s fun. In another ten years I won’t be doing photoshoots, so I’m making the most of it now.
“Looking good has become more of a focus because, as I’m older, I do like to get dressed up and glam.
"I host a burlesque cabaret show in London. When you are surrounded by all these young, beautiful women, it inspires you to keep yourself looking good.
“I don’t do it because I feel pressure. I do it because it makes me feel better. I’ve been with Eddie seven years and I still want to look nice for him. It’s very easy in lockdown to live in Ugg boots and tracksuits every day.”
For now, Denise is looking forward to getting back on stage in Cabaret All Stars at London’s Proud Embankment this month.
The Masked Singer contestant will be hosting the show — which showcases fire breathers, burlesque dancers, acrobats and celeb guests — as well as performing herself. And Denise can’t wait to do what she’s good at.
She said: “This year has been so frustrating for myself and many others in my industry, who are creative people and need creative outlets. I’m lucky I got to live-stream a play I wrote in lockdown but you really can’t beat a live audience, so it’s great that we’re allowed to get back on stage.
“It’s amazing for the audience, too, to be able to go to see a live show again. It will be really emotional for us and the audience when we first get back on stage.”
- Denise will star in Cabaret All Stars at Proud Embankment in London from May 28. See proudcabaret.com for more information and tickets.
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