Denise van Outen – Fabulous at 50. McOnline Exclusive!

150 150 Rob McGibbon

Despite numerous requests for interviews from national newspapers to mark her 50th, Denise chose to do this interview exclusively with Rob McGibbon so that she could have confidence in the accuracy of the text. It was then syndicated to the wider media to gain maximum coverage…

Looking slim, fit and sexy, Denise van Outen strikes a raunchy and assured pose in a stunning exclusive new photo shoot with Karis Kennedy to mark turning 50.

The actress and TV star, who hits 50 today, has released the photos to celebrate how she is embracing the new decade with gusto.  

In an exclusive interview, the Chicago performer and former Big Breakfast presenter reveals how she is striding into her fifties feeling “blessed” that so many aspects of her life are in the best shape ever.

In the wide-ranging talk, Denise opens up to reveal how:

– regular therapy sessions have given her a stronger mental health balance

– she has joined celebrity dating app Raya and is relishing the freedom of single life

– her acting and showbiz career is burgeoning in multiple new directions 

– is preparing to fulfil a lifetime ambition to scale Mount Everest 

Essex-born Denise – who has a 14 year old daughter called Betsy with ex-husband Lee Mead – is now gearing up for a year of celebrations to reflect hew new-found joie de vivre.

Denise on: Fitness, mental health and hitting the big 5-0…

“I feel great and I’m really happy about turning 50. With age, comes wisdom, and I’ve learned a lot of things about caring for myself better. If I think back to how I was at 40, I can see that I definitely make much more of an effort to look after myself now. 

‘I have always kept myself physically fit because you have to be healthy in a career like mine. But these days I have a better balance and variety. I train in the gym and I play sport, like golf. I really look after myself and I only drink sporadically. I was a party girl in the 90s, but not too much because I was always working. I monitor my drinking and I’m more moderate now. If I go and party, I do it more during the day because I like a good night’s sleep. 

‘But the big difference these days is that I also look after my mental health. I never really did things like this in the past, but as you get older, you realise it’s so important to look after your mind, as well as your body. I used to think therapy was a very sort of “American” thing, but I have since discovered that quite a lot of people do it – and I think it’s great. 

‘I went into therapy about two years ago and have a session every two weeks – either on Zoom or face-to-face. Sometimes it’s just once a month. It depends what’s going on and how much stress I have in my life. It’s great just having that time to just sit down and discuss how you are feeling.  

‘I have really close friends that I can speak to, but we all have really busy lives, so it’s nice to speak to somebody who is totally impartial. I’m a big supporter of having therapy because this is where you can talk about certain situations that are affecting you, or if things are getting too much.  

‘I have been working in this industry since I was seven and I have been in the public eye since I did The Big Breakfast when I was 23. There has been a price to pay for all that. You sometimes feel like you live in a bit of a bubble and it makes you a bit closed off. Over the years I’ve felt like I can’t open up about how I’m feeling, but now it’s different. I can talk now and get my head around what is happening to me.

‘Back in the 1990s, anything I said or did would end up in a newspaper, so I became quite guarded and had trust issues. I decided that it was really important for me to start to address some of the situations I’d found myself in and change how I was affected by them. 

‘Therapy has been really good for me and has helped me learn a lot about myself. I think the work I have done on myself has helped shape the person that I am at 50. And that is a totally positive thing.’

Denise on: Single life and the joys of being footloose and fancy free…

‘Anyone who has ever read a newspaper will know a bit about my love life! I have been single now for seven months and I’m really loving it. I think I never really ever allowed myself the breathing space between relationships to just enjoy the freedom of being single. 

‘My parents have been married for 55 years and they have always been the benchmark for me when it comes to relationships. I hoped my love life would be like that, but obviously things have turned out differently. I’m OK with that. We live in a different age.

‘The thing is with me, I’ve always put everything into a relationship. I make the person I’m with the main focus – but I forget about me. I’ve had some relationships where I haven’t been able to fully be myself. A lot of women will relate to that. But I feel differently about it all now. I am older and wiser and because I have had my fingers burnt a few times, I now know what I don’t want.  

‘This makes me feel really excited about the new decade and about the prospect of falling in love again. Since I was young, I have always either been set up on dates by friends or I’ve met someone through work, so I have never ever really done the modern way of dating until now.

‘I’ve always thought that a dating app would never be for me, but I joined Raya a few months ago. It’s known as “the industry” dating app and is for celebrities and people in the media. 

‘I’m on there as myself and it has been fun. I’ve been going on dinner dates lately and I’ve met some really lovely guys. Some haven’t felt like a romantic connection, but I’ve made some friends, so I’m enjoying it. 

‘I’m in a nice situation because I’m not in a hurry to find someone, so I don’t feel any pressure and it’s not as if I’m not looking to start a family, so the man doesn’t feel any pressure either.

‘Turning 50 feels like a very exciting new chapter in my life. I actually feel the sexist I’ve ever felt. I think with age, you don’t worry so much about what people think, you are more assured of who you are. And you know what you want.

‘It feels liberating to be single as a 50-year-old woman – totally liberating. I’m allowing myself to just go on dates and enjoy them for what they are. There was a time when I felt like I couldn’t really do that. I don’t feel pressured to rush into anything. When the time’s right, then I will be ready to meet “Mr. Right”. 

‘Until that happens, I’m just going to sit back and go with the flow. I’m not gonna force anything. I feel like I can make the right choices now. This is the new me – single and ready for fun.’

Denise on: A busy career and new challenges ahead…

‘I’ve been in this business since I was seven and I have always worked. I’m a grafter and I come from a family of grafters. I used to feel guilty if I took my foot off the pedal, but I have got to the stage now where I have finally learnt to step back a little bit and make the right choices with work. I’m not just doing everything that comes my way. 

‘I love my job, but it can be stressful at times and it can be overwhelming. I’m a single mum to a teenager, so I am constantly having to juggle things. There’s a lot to think about.  

‘Part of being 50 and this new decade is making sure that I take time out and do all the right things that give me a fulfilled life. A lot of that means spending quality time with family. My parents are getting older, so I’m really prioritising seeing family members.  

‘I’m very lucky that I get to do amazing things with my job, but sometimes just going for a nice walk every day and just being with family is far more valuable and that’s what you should embrace.  

‘I also want to travel more and do fun things with my daughter. We’re basically best friends and she’s at an age now where we can do more together. We’ve gone through the hard part, so now is the time for more fun.

‘You realise as you get older that you should just embrace your age because you’re lucky to still be able to enjoy life. I lost one of my very close friends when she was only 52 to a brain tumour. When something like that happens you realise it’s a possibility for all of us, so you should grab life. I’m seizing the day and I’m seizing new opportunities.’

Denise has many ventures on the go. She now DJs at high profile events and will host a residency in Ibiza this summer. She has also set up her own DJ talent agency called Discoliscious and will release a self-penned dance track this June under the same name. 

On top that, she is bringing back her Proud Cabaret burlesque show for one night only in August. Then, for two nights only in September in Southend, she will celebrate the 10th anniversary of Some Girl I Used to Know, the one one-woman play she co-wrote and performed to critical acclaim.

Soon after that play, she will release her first solo album, which contains a mix of covers and original songs she has written. Many are inspired by experiences from her life, which is why it is titled A Bit of Me – the name of her autobiography published by Penguin in 2022.

Denise is also re-uniting with Johnny Vaughan – her sidekick from The Big Breakfast – for a special television project to be announced soon. 

On top of the work schedule, she will also begin plans to fulfil a lifetime ambition to climb to Basecamp on Mount Everest.

Denise added:

‘I seem to have spent my life spinning plates. Now I have decided to have a year of doing all the things I love – like the play and the music. Work will always be a top priority because it brings me so much joy and right now I’m back to really loving my career. I’m in a good place because I have so many different things going on.

‘I’m reuniting with Jonny Vaughan, but I can’t say at the moment what we’re doing. I’m sworn to secrecy under NDAs and all that, but we’ve got something really exciting for television that we’re announcing soon.   

‘Alongside all the work, I am going to fulfil some personal challenges. I won’t be able to complete it in the next year, but I am gong to start planning to climb to Base Camp on Everest. That has been on my bucket list for ages. 

‘I love trekking and leaving the commercial world behind to get back to nature. No phone, no glamour, just a rucksack. I’ve trekked in the Himalayas twice. I did Kilimanjaro for Comic Relief and I’ve done the Great Wall of China and Peru. I love the physical challenge of these things, so there will be a lot more of that stuff in my 50s.

‘On my actual birthday, I’m having a family meal, then I’m flying straight to LA that night. I used to live in LA, so I’m going out to see all my old friends there. I’m also going to Vegas to see Adele perform. I have known Adele since she was young. 

‘I feel really fortunate to have reached a place of real happiness at this stage of my life. I’ve got amazing friends. I’ve met some incredible people through work and I’ve still got my old school friends. I’ve got a really good group of people around me and I have a lot of fun. Life is all about having the right mix of work, family and friends, so I feel totally blessed.

‘The cherry on the cake will be when I do meet a really good man. It’ll be nice when someone comes and sweeps me off my feet, but we’ll see. I’ve learned that you can’t force anything in life and everything’s about timing. I know it’s a cliche, but if something is meant to be, it will happen. I’m not in any rush. I’ve got a lot of fun to have before then – and that fun starts now!’

Some of the extensive national media coverage from this interview.

Text copyright: Rob McGibbon.

Photos copyright Karis Kennedy Photography