With a wedding in the offing and a perfect family, it’s no wonder Stacey Solomon is starting 2013 one happy girl
By Anne Richardson
Stacey Solomon is the sort of girl it’s pretty much impossible to dislike. Sweet, bubbly, a little ditzy (but far sharper than she’s often given credit for) and with a smile as broad as her accent, she hasn’t changed a jot since we first met her on The X Factor three years ago. Apart, of course, from the fact she’s become a mum for the second time to Leighton, seven months, and is sporting a rock on her engagement finger.
It had been agreed before our interview that the 23 year old would discuss the scandal that kicked off when she was papped smoking at seven months pregnant, but, irritatingly it’s soon made clear that she’s not prepared to talk about it. However, for the record, she doesn’t once nip out for a fag during the four hours we’re with her. Instead, the chatter from the make-up chair is all about her wedding plans – Stacey’s decorator boyfriend Aaron Barham, 25, proposed last December in New York.
“It’s going to be around Christmas next year and it’ll be big!” she says. “I’ll have about 12 bridesmaids because I can’t not include people. I want a sleek, fitted dress and a long train made of real flowers.”
It’s not just the big day that Stacey, who was crowned Queen of the I’m A Celebrity! jungle in 2010, has to look forward to. She’s back with Chris Moyles to present a second series of Sky Living’s dating show, The Love Machine, in the new year and is releasing a debut album. Which all means there’s plenty to catch up on…
On The Love Machine, you’re trying to fix people up – what’s your own dating history like?
So boring! I’ve never really dated. I had Zachary [four] when I was 17, then I met Aaron and I’ve been with him ever since. I got lucky early on. I met him on holiday in Greece in 2009 and then when we got home, I kept seeing him all the time. He
had a car – well, a van – and he lived near Lakeside and I thought that was really cool. It was a pure Essex romance!
Aww, sweet. Why do you think your relationship works?
Because he’s the absolute opposite of me. He doesn’t care what I’ve done during the day at work, he doesn’t want to know which celebrities I’ve met, so we can just be completely normal.
Is Aaron a hands-on dad?
He’s a perfect dad, especially if Leighton wakes in the night. Because Aaron’s at work all day, he feels like he’s missing out, so as soon as Leighton wakes up, he shouts: “I’ll get him!”
And has he had much to do with the wedding prep?
Nah, he’s not bothered. He’d turn up in his Arsenal kit if he thought he could get away with it. He said to me the other day: “Colour scheme – red and white?” I said no way!
Will you be doing a magazine deal for the pictures?
If it was on my terms and it didn’t intrude on the day, then I’d be happy to. But it’s not something we care about and it’s not Aaron’s thing. Although I might try to persuade him!
Any showbiz guests?
Chris Moyles and Leigh Francis [Keith Lemon, who Stacey co-presented ITV’s Sing If You Can with]. And my X Factor mentor Dannii Minogue, too – I love her to pieces. She’s always there for me and always calls me for the big things that happen in my life.
What’s it like working with Chris Moyles?
Everyone always asks that, as if he’s some sort of ogre! But he’s so lovely. On the last day of filming The Love Machine he got me
a big bag of Peperamis and a bottle of Malibu, because they’re my favourites!
Do you ever get upset by things you read about yourself?
No! I always get people tweeting: “You’re ugly” or “You’re thick” but it doesn’t get to me. I’d be upset if someone I cared about said something hurtful, but not someone I don’t know. I’m not going to start doing the school run with a full face of make-up – people will just have to get over it.
You had Leighton in May– how is motherhood second time around?
Well, I might be older, wiser and have more money, but I still don’t sleep. I’ve not slept for seven months! But Zachary loves being a big brother. I think I had them at a really good age gap.
How different is it having two children?
I feel like one is one and two is like two hundred – does that make sense? There’s so much more to organise. But because Zach’s started school, I get to have one-on-one time with both of them. If I had a baby and a newborn, I think I’d find it really difficult.
You’ve been working on your first album – how’s it coming along?
It’ll be out in February! I didn’t want to release it until it was perfect and now I’m so nervous. But I really hope it surprises people and they like it as much as I enjoyed making it.
Are you excited about being a pop star again?
Terrified, but excited. I can’t wait to perform again and it’ll be nice for Zach to see me back on stage. Although he’s never impressed by anything. He’s only four and would rather meet Peppa Pig than Simon Cowell!
Speaking of Simon, did you watch this year’s X Factor?
Yes, of course, it was great. I loved Ella – she was incredible. And James Arthur crept up on me every week, his voice is amazing.
How did you get back into shape after having Leighton?
I got back into work really quickly, so that helped. But I didn’t do anything – in fact, I was excited to be able to eat all the things I wanted to again! I didn’t breastfeed with Leighton – I did with Zach – and that is supposed to help you lose weight quicker, but I think it’s much of a muchness. Your body will go back when it wants to, you just have to let it do it naturally.
Did you feel pressure to get back to your pre-pregnancy size quickly?
No, I wasn’t bothered about it. I’ve just given birth to a 10lb baby and an even bigger placenta, what do you want from me? I’m still not exactly back to where I was, but pulling-in pants are the best thing ever invented.
Are you financially sorted now?
I wouldn’t say I’m sorted because I’ve got the rest of my life, please God. I don’t think anyone’s really sorted, unless they’re some sort of million-zillionaire – or Simon Cowell! But it’s definitely a start I never thought I’d have.
How do you think you’d cope if this all ended tomorrow?
I think I’d be fine. When you don’t ever expect to be someone or achieve anything but you do manage to, then you’ve got to enjoy it for as long as it’s there. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world: I’ve got beautiful children, a perfect partner, a lovely family and a great house – they are all the things I’ve ever really wanted in life.
The Love Machine starts on Sky Living HD on Friday January 4.
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