Denise Van Outen’s devastating heartbreak that led to her extreme weight loss

Denise Van Outen was one of the biggest names in showbiz in 2001.

Fresh from her hugely successful stint, alongside Johnny Vaughan, as a presenter on Channel 4’s The Big Breakfast she was preparing to launch herself as an actress.

But as she started her hugely popular run in the West End musical Chicago, Denise was dealing with a devastating heartbreak.

For three years she had been in a relationship with Jamiroquai frontman, Jay Kay, and the couple were planning their wedding.

Even though they hadn’t set a date, Jay gushed about his girlfriend insisting “she’s very special to me” in 1999.

The couple were together for three years
The couple were together for three years

He added: “We are getting married next year, but no date has been set. We’re going to do it when the time is right.

“No one else is like her at all. She’s bonkers and makes me laugh, I wouldn’t want anyone else.”

Although the cracks were already starting to appear with Jay saying their busy schedules often kept them apart.

He explained: “If Denise and I get to spend five days together it’s a bonus. We hardly get to see each other because of our schedules.

“We may go out once in a while and when we do we always get recognised. Some people notice Denise and haven’t got a clue who I am.”

Denise and Jay Kay were engaged
Denise and Jay Kay were engaged

But by 2001, their relationship was strained beyond repair and the couple split for good.

And as she threw herself into work, she began to notice a disturbing change in her body.

Denise explained: “I’ve had times when I’ve definitely been too thin. I think around the time I did Chicago, I went down to a size 6 but I was dancing a lot.

“I was doing a lot of shows, I’d split up with my boyfriend, I had a lot going on in my life.”

She wasn’t the only one to notice her tiny, shrinking frame, and admits looking back at pictures of herself then is a shock.

Denise admits she was worried about how much she'd slimmed down
Denise admits she was worried about how much she’d slimmed down

Denise said: “I definitely look at pictures at myself back then and think, ‘I definitely look too thin.

“It doesn’t look very nice. But at the time, you think you look OK because everyone tells you that you look fantastic, which is a bit odd because you think, ‘Hmm, maybe I look great, but I feel terrible’.”

And the actress was not the only one to struggle with the break-up of her relationship.

Jamiroquai also released the album A Funk Odyssey in the same year, and it’s rumoured many of the lyrics are about the break-up of Jay Kay’s relationship with Denise.

Many believe the lyrics to the hit single, Little L, are about the breakdown of Jay’s relationship with the Loose Women star.

Lyrics included: “There you were freaking out, trying to get your head around the fact that me and you and love is dead.

Denise with partner, Eddie, on the Gogglebox sofa
Denise with partner, Eddie, on the Gogglebox sofa

“We’re finished now cos you can’t decide what you really want from me.

“Why does it have to be like this I can never tell. You make me love you, love you baby with a little L.”

However, at the time Denise insisted the former couple were still good friends and had only broken up because of the pressures of work commitments.

She said at the time: “Jay and I are still really good friends and people are speculating so much about why we broke up.

“The reason was work-related but we’re still both happy and still speaking to each other.”

Denise went on to marry Any Dream Will Do star, Lee Mead, and the couple are proud parents to daughter, Betsy.

They divorced in 2015 and Denise is now in a relationship with commodities trader, Eddie Boxhall, who is joining her on the Celebrity Gogglebox sofa.

  • Celebrity Gogglebox is on Channel 4 at 9pm tonight.

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