Denise Van Outen says that her future wedding plans ‘won’t be a big secret’

Denise Van Outen and Eddie Boxshall have no plans to wed just yet

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They’ve been together longer than some marriages but ­Denise Van Outen and Eddie Boxshall are not rushing down the aisle – ­although she says when they do, we’ll know about it.

The TV and stage star said the news last week of Emma Bunton’s surprise nuptials to Jade Jones after a 15-year engagement in front of a handful of guests was a “lovely” idea.

But Denise, 47, said when she and Eddie, who have been together seven years, do set a date to get hitched it “won’t be any big secret”.

“We will do it at some point,” says Denise. “It won’t be anything huge but we’d like all our friends and family there which will be really nice. We’ve not planned anything just yet.

“We’re not bothered about keeping it a secret, we’ll just tell people.

“I totally get why people do that, and I think it’s lovely that Emma and Jade did, but we do want to invite friends and family, so people will know about it!”

Denise admitted that the couple don't intend to have a secret wedding
(Image: Getty Images)

Set to appear tonight in ITV’s Cooking With the Stars, Denise has been a household name since first presenting The Big ­Breakfast with Johnny Vaughan in the late 90s.

Despite her A-list CV, including playing Roxie Hart in Chicago in the West End and Broadway, the ­mum-of-one says she prefers “to keep things real” in front of the camera.

Denise says: “I’d never want s­omeone to meet me in person and think I looked ­completely ­different than what they’ve seen on ­social media.”

She is not the only familiar face in her ­relationship.

Denise is currently starring on Cooking With The Stars on ITV
(Image: ITV)

While Eddie is not from a showbiz background, pairing up with her for Channel 4’s Celebrity Gogglebox has made him more recognisable than most commodities traders.

Not that Eddie, 46, would see himself as a celeb, says Denise. “No, not at all,” she laughs. “He’d laugh if I said that to him. We get what it is, it’s a telly show. He does get recognised but he takes it all in his stride.”

She adds: “It’s like with everyone, whatever industry you’re in, when you’re home everything else just goes out the window – like when I’m in my wellies in the morning picking up the dog poo in the garden. There’s always that side of normality.

“His mates take the mickey out of him, asking him, ‘When are you going in the [I’m a Celeb] jungle?’, although I don’t think he’d do anything like that.

“The only thing I think he could do would be that SAS programme. It’s the sort of mad thing he’d do. He trains a lot and he likes a good ­physical and mental challenge although I’d hate that, being shouted at by a sergeant major.”

Going head-to-head with presenter AJ Odudu in tonight’s Italian-themed episode of Cooking With the Stars, Denise admits that before top chef Francesco Mattei got to grips with her as her mentor she had a lot to learn in the kitchen.

“I never really cooked before,” says Denise, who shares 11-year-old daughter Betsy with West End star and ex-husband Lee Mead, 40. “OK, I could do beans on toast or egg on toast, maybe a fry-up at a push, but anything else beyond that was out.

“The appealing thing about this show was the fact I got paired with a chef who could actually teach me. When you get to my age and you’re a mum you feel a bit embarrassed you don’t do any cooking. Now I feel like I actually want to be able to cook something for my family.

“Eddie does all the cooking in the house and has done since the day I met him. He’s really good, and I suppose if someone is really good you feel the pressure’s on a little bit if you cook for them.”

Denise and Eddie have been together for seven years
(Image: Channel 4)

That’s all changed though since her time on the show. She laughs: “Now I can go, ‘Yeah, but have you been trained by a top chef? No!’”

She says, as with fellow contestant and Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas, a lifetime treading the boards meant she rarely sat down to an evening meal.

“When I was younger, I didn’t have a particularly good diet,” says Denise. “I’d just burn everything off. I was the queen of takeaways back then, or I’d eat out because I was working.

Emma Bunton and Jade Jones confirmed that they had married in secret
(Image: Dave Benett/Getty Images)

“I had a conversation with Shirley because we felt embarrassed as women who are of an age that we’ve never really cooked. We worked in theatre and shows. We were always performing and on the go.”

But, says Denise, along with skills she has picked up on other shows, from Strictly and Dancing on Ice to The Masked Singer, she is thrilled with what she has taken away from her time on Cooking With the Stars.

“I’ve learned something new. Even on The Masked Singer we were taught by vocal coaches, it’s such a privilege to be taught by amazing experts.

“Francesco was unbelievable, with this amazing passion for food. Had I not done the show I still wouldn’t be cooking, and it’s something I’ll carry through for the rest of my life.”

  • Cooking With the Stars, ITV tonight, 9pm.

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