STACEY Solomon is everyone’s favourite Essex Girl, whose down-to-earth attitude and honesty about her life and looks has won her legions of fans.

She first found fame when she appeared in the X Factor in 2009, stormed to victory in I’m A Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! in 2010, and joined ITV’s Loose Women as a panellist in 2016, becoming a series regular.

The 28-year-old, who has two children, Zachary, 10, and Leighton, 6, from previous relationships, opens up about fame, love and why keeping separate homes with her partner, TV presenter Joe Swash, 36, is the secret to their happy relationship...

Has being famous changed you?

“I don’t think fundamentally I’ve changed - I don’t think my morals and values will ever change. I’m bringing my boys up as I was brought up - to care first and foremost about being happy and to try to be good people.

“I have a great family around me who keep me super-grounded. All the opportunities I’ve had have opened my eyes to a lot of what’s going on in the world. I’ve seen how accessible the world can be for some people, and inaccessible for others.”

Why do you think you’re so popular?

“I don’t know, but I feel super-lucky. I’ve been given the opportunity to have a voice, which is a privilege. I feel like I change my opinions all the time, I’m very fickle, but I love saying what I think. I don’t ever want to be horrible to people. I feel really bad if I ever think, because of my lack of knowledge on something, I’ve upset someone or offended them without meaning to.

“I’m very aware I might not be popular tomorrow. You never know when the journey will end, it can turn on a sixpence, and because of that, I’m conscious of working hard to make the most of every minute.”

Halstead Gazette:

The beautiful couple on the red carpet

When will you and Joe marry?

“A Disney-style wedding is always in my imagination, but for the moment, it’s not on the to-do list! Me and Joe love each other, are really happy and we’re not in a hurry. We’ve only been together just under three years, so it’s a fairly new relationship and we just want to be realistic about the whole thing, take it at a normal pace and not rush anything, especially as we’ve got children.

“We’ve still got separate homes, but I stay at his house with the kids, or he’ll come and stay with me. Sometimes we have days off from each other and that’s really nice too. I think it’s the best of both worlds, which may be why we’ve sustained a healthy relationship!

Is he a keeper?

"Yes, please God, but you never know what’s going to happen at the end of the day - life moves in mysterious ways. We take every day as it comes.”

Would you like more children?

“I’m in a constant state of broodiness - my ovaries are always on red alert! It wouldn’t matter if I was single or in a relationship, I just love a baby, but its not the appropriate time for me to have another child right now.”

You often shown yourself as you really are in images - why is that important to you?

“I think it’s important for people to see that just because I’m a celebrity, I’m also a real person with flaws and imperfections, the same as anyone else.

“These days, we only seem to be focusing on one type of body and the type of body we see isn’t a bad type of body, but it’s not diverse. It means people are conditioned to think that’s how a body should look, so it’s very important to show different images of bodies - then people don’t feel so alone when they look in the mirror.

"If I have a bit of a tummy or a bad hair day, I’m happy to show it and reveal myself as I really am - also, it means people aren’t shocked if they bump into me in the street!”

Halstead Gazette:

 Solomon with her two children, Zachary and Leighton

How do you look after your health and wellbeing?

“I’m paranoid about my health, so I’m religious about having all the check-ups and tests. I’ve always worried about it, and even more now I have children, because I know they depend on me. I eat healthily and don’t have a car, so I walk a lot. The boys have so much energy and we go on long walks, scooter or bike rides. I rarely make an appearance at the gym, perhaps one Pilates session a week, because I’m so busy.

“Doing arts and crafts really helps my wellbeing. It sounds really sad, but it takes my mind off everything and helps me de-stress. I’m trying to teach the boys to knit and to sew, although they’re not as interested as I’d like! Those skills are so useful in later life - I love being able to sew on a button or mend a hole in my jeans. I make models with the boys too - me and Leighton just made a cardboard Millennium Falcon.”

What are your favourite family times?

“Me, the kids and Joe have family movie nights a lot. It’s my answer to getting the kids to wind down and stop jumping on the sofas! It’s a form of meditation for me - I totally switch off and lose myself in a movie. We watch films the kids like - the Disney movies and the rest - and even when Joe’s there, he’s outvoted. I also have nights with my girlfriends, where we watch rom-coms like Marley And Me and Bridget Jones.”

  • Stacey Solomon is the ambassador for the Must See #FilmsWithFeels campaign, which has launched to lift the nation’s spirits. Titles from the #FilmsWithFeels list are available to buy on DVD in retailers across the UK now.