In an exclusive interview and photoshoot with HELLO! Magazine, Louise Redknapp has opened up about her relationship with ex-husband Jamie, saying she will always love him. "I still love him," she told HELLO!. "After 21 years together how could I not still love him? He’s the father of my boys. Jamie’s a great dad and is very proud that our sons love me so much. He has old-fashioned values and tells them to respect and love their mum."
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And she says that, after divorcing in January 2018 after 20 years of marriage, they are co-parenting their two sons in a positive way. "We have a great system co-parenting them between us," she continues. "Our rule is that while one of us is working, the other is with them. We both want the kids all the time and encourage the other to go out so that we can have them. We share everything, too. On Christmas Day we do the presents together, they’re from us both. Maybe this works now because neither of us is in a relationship, but I like to think it will always be like that."
Louise also describes the deterioration in the run-up to the split as a gradual process that crept up on her. "For so much of my married life I was extremely happy," she says. "But bit by bit I began to unravel. I felt as if I was a spectator watching my life unfold; I was losing myself and felt very lonely. The lives of everyone around me were so fast-paced whereas mine felt stagnant.”
"I was losing myself and felt very lonely," reflected Louise
And she says she hasn’t ruled out dating again. "Over the last two years all my energy has gone into my boys, my career, making a new home and feeling confident. It would be nice to enjoy some male company, though. If the right man turns up and sparks fly, who knows where it will lead. I’m the softest, soppiest human being on the planet. I’m not looking to get married again – but I wouldn’t rule it out. Whoever I meet will have big shoes to fill."
The star, who shot to fame as part of the 1992 girl band Eternal, surprised fans in 2017 when she and Jamie announced their split. The news came almost a year after Louise took part in Strictly Come Dancing alongside professional dancer Kevin Clifton. During a previous interview with HELLO!, Louise confessed how taking part in Strictly really boosted her confidence. "I've had so many messages from women saying, 'You're doing it for girls in their 40s who are mums,'" she said in 2016. "It was so nice to have lovely comments from women saying, 'We're proud of you'. That means more to me than anything. I was really scared about doing Strictly."
The couple share two sons
"At the launch I was thinking, 'I don't know if I'm cut out for this,'" she added. "It was so far out of my comfort zone. But I've realised – and many mums will recognise this – that it's quite nice to feel a bit selfish. I get up and dance every day, which I love. I wanted to get my confidence back a bit." Since appearing on Strictly, Louise has managed to reinvent herself. She landed a role in the 9 to 5 musical and went on to release her new album Heavy Love.
Speaking about her decision to take part in Strictly, Louise explained: "I went into this with no expectations. I'm happy with my life, with being a mum and doing my passion projects. My reasons for doing this [Strictly] are personal rather than for my work. The only thing I would love to experience is doing something on the stage. I like to work. A lot of people say, 'Why do you bother working?' Everyone is different, but I've worked since I was 16 years old and would struggle to stop now."
To read the full interview with Louise, pick up the latest copy of HELLO!, out on Monday