Coleen Nolan was about to ditch Tinder but swiped right one more time and found love

The Mirror’s Agony Aunt, Coleen Nolan, who split from Ray Fensome in 2018 after 11 years of marriage, met new man Michael Jones on Tinder last summer

Coleen Nolan has gone public with new man Michael JonesByClaire O’BoyleAssistant Features Editor/Writer

  • 20:00, 23 Jan 2022
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She’s been the Mirror’s Agony Aunt for more than a decade. But Coleen Nolan reveals it was only when she took her own advice that she found happiness with a new man.

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The Loose Women star says three years as a singleton worked wonders for her independence and by the time she went looking for love again it was because she wanted it, not needed it.

“This was probably the most secure and confident I’ve ever felt going into a relationship,” says Coleen. “It means that seven months in, things are going brilliantly. We’ve not even had our first row.”

Mum-of-three Coleen, who split from guitarist husband Ray Fensome in 2018 after 11 years of marriage, met new man Michael Jones on Tinder last summer.

But, she says, he was lucky to get a right swipe at all because earlier that day she’d been ready to jack in a search for love on dating apps completely.

Coleen Nolan and ex-husband Ray Fensome
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Image:
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“I was literally about to come off the app when I spotted Michael and swiped right,” says Coleen, 56.

“I’d been on there for a while and after a string of dates with guys that just hadn’t worked out I was fed up with the whole thing.

“The men were all very nice, but one told me he couldn’t deal with the fact I was in the public eye, so obviously that wasn’t going to work.

“Another was a bit tetchy when I didn’t reply to a message straight away so I knew that wasn’t worth the effort.

“Others I met I just didn’t feel a spark with, so that morning I’d decided I was going to get rid of my Tinder account altogether and take a break.

“I was fed up with it, but then Michael popped up. I thought, ‘Oh he’s nice’ and something stopped me from deleting my account.

“Looking back, it wasn’t even that nice a picture of him, he looked like he’d just got out of bed, but something caught my eye and that was it.

Coleen says she's happier than ever
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Image:
Ken McKay/ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

“I swiped right, we got a match, and I’m so glad I did.”

After some initial messages online and a few texts, the pair first met up at a pub between Coleen’s Cheshire home and 57 year-old Michael’s in Warrington.

“I was just about to go off on a cruise with The Nolans when he said, ‘Let’s meet up before you go’,” she recalls.

“Now I’m very brave online and in texts, but when someone says, ‘Let’s meet up’, I’m a wreck. I tried to put him off until I was back from the cruise but he said, ‘That’s two whole weeks, let’s just meet up now and at least then we’ll know if it’s worth pursuing’.”

On the day they met at a country pub – the Dun Cow in Knutsford, Cheshire – on June 23 last year, the conversation flowed and there was an instant spark.

“We both drove there and met at 5pm,” says Coleen, mum to Shane Jr, 32, Jake, 28, her sons with first husband Shane Ritchie, and daughter Ciara, 20.

“By 11pm that night the pub owner said, ‘You’re welcome to carry on chatting, but I’ve got to take my dogs for a walk, so can you keep an eye on the pub?’

“We’d been there for hours and hours and chatted non-stop about absolutely everything. We went from one topic to another, some serious, some ridiculous and before we knew it, hours had flown by.

“My phone was full of messages from the kids asking, ‘Where are you?’ and ‘Are you dead?’

“I was scared of going home, like a 16-year-old getting in late to their mum and dad!”

However the pair didn’t leave without sharing their first kiss.

Coleen has shared details of her new relationship

“We’d happened to park next to each other, and there was that awful moment where you think, ‘Oh no, what do we do?’” laughs Coleen. “Do we hug, do we shake hands?

“I turned into a 12-year-old again, and Michael now tells everyone that I kissed him, which is categorically untrue. I was going in to give him a hug, which somehow turned into a kiss but he insists I launched myself at him. I didn’t, but it was a great kiss.”

And, she reveals, spending their first night together was just as magical.

“It was after our fifth date,” she says. “It was amazing, and it’s been amazing ever since.”

Now, after introducing Michael to family and friends, including Loose Women pals Brenda Edwards, Ruth Langsford and Kay Adams as well as ex-husband Ray, the TV star is smitten and says Michael, who works in logistics at a supermarket chain, is different from any man she’s ever been with before.

“Before Michael I’d only ever been in relationship with guys who worked in my industry in one way or another. He’s completely different. He’s dead calm and chilled out and in my mad world with the work I do, that’s an amazing quality to find in someone.

“And he won’t like me saying this, but he’s a bit nerdy,” she jokes. “I mean that in a good way, I find it really cute. He’s very intelligent and open. We talk about everything. I think that’s why we still haven’t had a row.”

Coleen and Michael on the cover of OK!
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OK!)

Coleen's autobiography is out now

The fact they haven’t argued might also be down, in part, to the fact Coleen feels so comfortable with her new man, who has a grown-up son from a previous relationship.

“I honestly think I feel more confident now in my 50s than I have before,” she says. “He fancies me whether I’ve got my make-up on or off, if I’m having a fat day or he can see my belly. That’s so good for a relationship because those insecurities just aren’t there.”

She now hopes that as Mirror Agony Aunt she can be the poster girl for many other women who keep being told they need a man, but will know when the time is right for them.

And as for her vow she wouldn’t tie the knot again…

“I’d said I’d never in a million years get married again. But Michael has said a couple of times that it’s just inevitable, so who knows. The connection we have makes it feel that we’ve been together a lot longer than seven months, and while we still live apart, we’re with each other most of the time.

"But I’m trying to keep a calm head about it all, and remember to just enjoy it all for what it is. He’s an amazing man and I feel so lucky to have met him.

"The advice I’d give to anyone looking out for love is to find happiness in yourself first before trying to find it through someone else. It seems to have worked for me.”

  • Coleen’s autobiography, Live, Laugh Love, Lessons I’ve Learnt is out now.

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