Actress Claire Sweeney has revealed her engagement to a man 14 years her junior in an exclusive interview with HELLO! magazine.
The former Brookside star said 'yes' to businessman Daniel when he presented her with a three-carat diamond ring in a romantic proposal on Christmas Eve. Showing off the giant solitaire design in an exclusive 'at home' photoshoot in HELLO!, Claire says they were meant to be.
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"I can't believe I'm a fiancée," she says. "The reason I've never married or had children is because I take it very seriously and I hadn't met the right person. I'm a workaholic. I've had a great life and a fabulous career. It would take a very special man to make me stop and want to be with them. Daniel is that person. I was thrilled when he asked me to be his wife."
And she says the 14-year age gap between them doesn't make any difference to their love. "When we first met, the age gap did hold me back," admits Claire. "But the age difference is about the same between my parents. I felt it was about finding things in common, where you have the same values and morals.
That happened over time and now I never notice the age difference. I'm actually surprised when people mention it."
The couple admits they have been planning to have a baby for a while – and that was part of the reason why they got engaged. Says Daniel: "We both really want children. We've been talking about having a baby for the best part of a year. That's why I wanted to propose. It would have felt like something was missing if we hadn't been engaged."
And they hope to get married in the House of Lords, through a friend who she shares with Cilla Black. "The Lord, as Cilla calls him, is such an incredibly generous man and has become a very good friend," says Claire. "He said he will arrange it so that we can have all my showbiz mates perform. The House of Lords will never have had so much showbusiness in it."
To read more of the interview with Claire and Daniel, all the details of the romantic proposal and how they have prepared to have a baby, pick up the latest issue of HELLO! magazine.
See the full exclusive story in HELLO! Magazine, out now.