The ups and downs of their turbulent relationship have kept TOWIE fans talking for nearly two years. As Lucy and Mario get ready to celebrate Valentine’s Day, they reveal exactly why they’ve stayed together Photography by Hamish Brown
Should Lucy Mecklenburgh and Mario Falcone decide to procreate, any resulting offspring will probably emerge from the womb sporting a blow-dry, spray tan and ready-made pout.
In short, their babies will be absolutely beautiful.
“Bella and Mario Junior – MJ for short,” says 24-year-old tailor Mario instantly when asked if they’ve thought about children.
After a 21-month relationship punctuated by drama, tears, accusations of cheating and one broken-off engagement (a typical Essex romance, then), the bronzed couple reckon they’re back on track and stronger than ever. Thank heavens for that, eh?
They’re about to start filming series eight of TOWIE and are looking to buy a new four-bedroom house to settle down in with their teacup Chihuahua, Bentley, and Lola, a miniature Pomeranian.
Lucy, 21, says: “It’s quite nice that viewers have seen us good, bad and then sorting things out. Loads of people can relate to it – I don’t know one person who’s had a relationship in which nothing’s happened.”
For the record, everything between them today seems hunky-dory as they flit between genuine affection and gentle joshing. A TOWIE couple who are actually happy? This will never do…
So, what have you two got planned for Valentine’s Day?
Mario I’ve already got it arranged, it’s a surprise. I’m excited this year, because I’ve done so well. I’ve gone all out.
Lucy He’s like a child, saying: “I want to tell you, but I’m not going to!” Mario loves a surprise. But it had better not be scuba-diving or something.
Have you got something up your sleeve for him, Lucy?
L I’m really not romantic.
M She’s lovey-dovey, she’s just not romantic.
L It’s not in me, is it? I’m not built that way. He knows I love him, I just don’t show it the way he does.
What do you think makes your relationship work?
L Arguments. I think every relationship needs some bickering, it keeps it fun.
M I think we need to go through bad times to appreciate good times. So I think we’ve got a good balance of stuff.
L If you’re together and you don’t laugh at least once a day, even if you have an argument, then I don’t think it’ll work.
M Personally, for me, it’s just because I’m so fun all the time. I’m just fun to be around.
And so modest…
L [Exasperated] This is what I have to put up with. I have to block it out.
L I’m used to it now.
M I have her in stitches. From the moment she gets up to the moment she goes to bed, she laughs.
L Do you know what? I don’t think we’ve ever woken up together and not laughed about something.
But you seem to argue quite a lot…
M It’s healthy.
L I’ve seen people that get on and it’s all perfect, but I bet you when they get home it’s a completely different story. So it’s healthy to have a little bicker.
Is spontaneous make up sex better than something planned and romantic?
M Yes. Without a doubt. Angry make up sex is the best. Because you sort of still hate them, but… Actually, sometimes I start an argument just for that!
How often do you have sex?
M It depends on what’s going on.
L Sometimes we’re really busy and it doesn’t happen. Especially when we’re filming.
M The next day you’re f****d from that, so it’s just hard.
L And Mario does personal appearances at nightclubs, so that can make it difficult.
M Yeah, but I don’t think you have to have sex at night. You can have sex whenever, wherever.
L But you know what I mean. A lot of nights we don’t go to bed together.
M I think that’ll change this year, because I’m doing more stuff that involves me working normal hours. I won’t be doing PAs any more because I don’t really like that lifestyle.
L So I won’t just be going to bed with Bentley and Lola! I think as long as you have a cuddle and a chat in bed, that’s important.
How important is sex to a successful relationship?
M It depends on how good the sex is!
L It’s very important. I think if it stops, then you’ve got issues. We’re happy, but it’s just our body clocks are at different times, so that sometimes makes it harder.
Where’s the most unusual place you’ve done it?
M [Smiling] I’m not saying.
L [Squealing] Oh no! Don’t, Mario!
M Well, we’ve done it on a balcony on holiday. But we’ve done it somewhere worse than that. Somewhere a lot worse.
L I’m not saying!
M I would say, but Lucy’s mum will read this, so I can’t. Her mum and dad would be horrified. My dad would think I’m a legend.
Do you still fancy each other?
L We do, but I think things change when you live with each other. When we were just dating, Mario would come to pick me up, and I kind of miss that. I miss him coming to my door, speaking to my dad and then seeing me coming down the stairs in my dress.
M See, I disagree with that. I think if you can still look at the person you’re with first thing in a morning when they look their worst and still love them and still think they’re beautiful, then that’s fancying someone. I can look at a Victoria’s Secret model and think: “You’re fit”. It doesn’t mean I fancy her, I don’t know anything about her. And she might look like s**t in the morning!
L Do you find me attractive when I’m asleep with my brace in?
L You liar.
M It’s true! You still make me catch my breath when you’re ready for a night out.
L You mean it?
L Obviously, 10.
M Yes, 10.
L Say it like you mean it!
M [Shouts] 10!
There have been accusations of cheating on both sides. Do you trust each other now?
M Yeah. It’s so long ago, do you know what I mean? We’re over it.
L We both realise things didn’t mean anything anyway. There’s always going to be that bit of jealousy, but you’ve got to have the trust to get over that.
Do you still get jealous?
L Yeah. And I think if it’s not there at all, you’ve got a problem. Otherwise it’s like you don’t care. I think it’s harder for me, especially when he does a lot of personal appearances and girls are quite… They’ll chuck themselves at him! A girl’s bitten his ear when I’m standing the other side of him!
M I s**t myself!
L He was laughing. I was like: “What is she doing?”
Are you over the worst of your relationship problems?
M I hope so.
L We definitely are. I think it’s been a lot of growing up. We all make mistakes.
M It’s the transition from being young to being serious and living together.
L I think it just clicks somewhere that you’re not a child any more.
M When I’m washing up in my rubber gloves that’s when I realise this s**t got serious. I’m 25 this month. I’m old.
You broke off your engagement last series. Is the plan still to get married one day?
M Of course.
L Just not yet.
M The proposal was premature. With TOWIE, everything moves so quickly, so you think that’s the next thing to do and it wasn’t. We were fine where we were.
L It was massive pressure for me as well. I was like: “Whoa! There are so many things I want to do before I get married.”
M We should’ve just lived for the moment, which is what we’re doing now.
TOWIE returns later this month. Is there life in the old dog yet?
M That depends on the fans. We’ve got new producers in and they’re driven to make the show as good as they can.
L The fact that we’re nearly two and a half years in and were up for a National Televison Award against The Graham Norton Show, Alan Carr: Chatty Man and I’m A Celebrity! is amazing.
M As long as the show stays fresh, I think it will continue.
L As long as people are real.
M A lot of people have left, who everyone said the show couldn’t survive without, but it has. So I think it’s got life left.
Is there anyone in the cast you’d like to see the back of?
L There are a few people that I think play up to the camera a bit too much.
M Yeah, there are some of them and there’s a few people I think are pointless.
M If they’re reading this they know who they are. I think there are people whose storylines have gone on too long now.
M The Charlie and Bobby thing is boring.
L But I think they’re bored with it as well and they need to get something new.
M Charlie is not gay. That’s the end of it.
Do you worry that TOWIE will be the death of your relationship?
L I think the hardest thing is it’s not just us. I’ve got nearly 1 million people on Twitter giving me their opinion. There’s a lot that happens behind closed doors.
M You only see an element of us.
What annoys you the most about the other?
M She’s really messy.
L And he always has to be right.
M I am always right.
L [Sarcastically] I’m never right.
M See, she’s wrong again now.
L Stop it.
M [Enjoying himself] I can wind her up so bad. I can make her go psycho.
L He’s been doing it on the shoot. When I’ve had to have a serious face, he’s been saying rude things so I smile.
And what would you change about the other?
L Maybe he could wind me up a bit less.
M And I’d like her tolerance to be a bit higher so I could wind her up more!
Tell us what you think on Twitter #FabMagTOWIE
- Mario is working with Facial Wellness, restoring health, balance and wellbeing.
- The Only Way Is Essex returns to ITV2 later this month.