Singer and host Denise van Outen, 46, opens up on her new charity single and how lockdown has changed her plans for Valentine’s with partner Eddie – plus her horrible Dancing On Ice injury that left her in agony for 15 hours before heading to A&E.
Tell us about the new single…
I was going to sing On My Own live on Dancing On Ice, which I was really looking forward to. I performed in Les Misérables in the West End aged 11 and this was always my favourite song. But then I was injured and had to leave the show.
I thought it would be nice to record the song anyway and 100% of the profits will go to The Make A Difference Trust, which is helping performers hit by the pandemic. Not just performers but everyone in theatre from the ushers to the wig department, the costumers — everyone who hasn’t been able to get work.
My parents have been chaperones in theatres since I was a child, and Mum was working on the Tina Turner musical and Dad was on Lion King when the pandemic struck, so they haven’t worked either.
You filmed it at home?
My Dancing On Ice partner Matt Evers filmed it at my home because we’ve been in the same bubble since October.
I recorded it in my spare room and my partner, Eddie [Boxshall], acted as the sound engineer. A real home-grown project.
How’s lockdown been?
It’s had highs and lows. Home schooling was very difficult but I’ve tried to embrace the fact we’ve been able to do a lot of things together. I’m normally 100 miles an hour so it’s nice to sit down at mealtimes and just talk.
The other day I went for a socially distanced walk with a friend who lives alone and we went off the beaten track through a forest. If we hadn’t had lockdown we wouldn’t have discovered those lovely areas.
I feel sad for my friends who have lost loved ones and those who can’t support their kids but there have been lovely moments — like clapping for the NHS. We moved into our house two years ago and now, through lockdown, we’ve met all our neighbours. One is a little old lady who lost her husband to Covid and we check in on her.
Any new skills, like baking banana bread?
I’m not the baker in the family, I leave that up to Eddie. I have become a dab hand at sewing, though.
I won The Great British Sewing Bee celebrity special and Eddie bought me a sewing machine for Christmas so I’m making pyjamas and cushion covers.
You’re not making your own glittery slings for your broken shoulder?
I call them my bling slings! If you’re going to be on Dancing On Ice, you can’t appear in a surgical sling.
So wardrobe made me a gold one and a red one, to match my dresses!
How is the break?
I still don’t know how I managed the routine on TV — my shoulder was broken and it was so painful I vomited afterwards and nearly passed out. But I was determined to do it because I’d been three months preparing.
When I had the accident in training, I spent 15 hours in agony with a dislocated shoulder because I didn’t want to put extra pressure on A&E.
In the end I went and they discovered I had broken the shoulder, and they had to leave it partially dislocated because of the fractures.
How are you going to spend your lockdown Valentine?
I can’t let Eddie know but I’ve organised a surprise. We live in the country and you can’t get fancy food here but one of my real favourite treats is to have sushi.
I’ve managed to find somewhere that will do a delivery. So that’s my Valentine’s sorted — sushi and sling!
You and Eddie did counselling for your new podcast…
I’ve been with Eddie seven years in May and a lot of our friends moved very quickly — they met, moved in, married and, a few years down the line, they seek counselling.
So we talked about getting married when we can, and decided it would be fun and different to deal with the counselling first. It got quite deep in parts but it was fun — we had laughter therapy, then hypnosis, then food therapy.
The traditional therapy sessions actually bought up things about each other we thought would never be an issue so it was fascinating. If you iron these out before the wedding, it’s only a good thing.
What annoys you about Eddie and vice versa?
One of the things that annoys me is we have a heated towel rail but he still hangs his towel over the bathroom door.
Meanwhile, Eddie says I have a certain way I load the dishwasher — and sometimes he spies on me and sees that I reload it after he’s loaded it.
Has lockdown changed you?
I’ve got closer to my friends because you’re stripped bare in lockdown. I’ve had a couple of really in-depth conversations with friends and we’ve developed a real connection.
I’ve always been worried about having a 10-year-old daughter in a world where you are liked and ticked on your appearance but I’m seeing people on social media looking a lot more natural.
There seems to be a backlash against the influencer types. I’ve seen beautiful girls like my niece posting selfies with no make-up on and a tracksuit. People are going back to basics right now.
On My Own is out now, with profits going to The Make A Difference Trust.