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Outnumbered star Claire Skinner's life away from cameras: from romance with co-star Hugh Dennis to actor son

The actress is currently dating her on-screen husband Hugh Dennis


Claire Skinner and Hugh Dennis split image© ©HatTrick for Sky1/ BBC
Nicky Morris
TV and film writer
Updated: March 19, 2024
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Claire Skinner is reprising her role as mum Sue Brockman in the BBC's beloved sitcom Outnumbered as the show returns with a new Christmas special later this year. 

The actress said of the exciting news, which the BBC announced in May: "I'm really looking forward to being reunited with my TV family. Working on this wonderful BBC comedy doesn't feel like work and is one of the greatest joys for us all."

Outnumbered is back for a Christmas special
Outnumbered is back for a Christmas special

But what about Claire's real-life family? Keep reading for all we know about the star's home life, including her split from her TV director husband and her new romance with Outnumbered co-star Hugh Dennis. 

WATCH: Are yo a fan of Outnumbered?

Claire's home life away from the cameras

When she's not busy filming her next TV project, Claire, 59, can be found at home in London, where she reportedly lives in a £1.2million London penthouse with her partner and Outnumbered co-star Hugh Dennis. 

In her spare time, Claire likes to go running and also loves yoga, according to a 2019 interview with The Times

Claire Skinner as Beth in Coma© KRISTOF GALGOCZI NEMETH / Channel 5 Television / Roughcut TV
Claire Skinner stars as Beth in Coma

Before her romance with Hugh, Claire was married to TV director Charles Palmer, known for his work on Doctor Who, Poldark, and Agatha Christie's Marple. The former couple tied the knot in 2001 and welcomed two sons: William John and Thomas Henry, born in 1999 and 2002 respectively. The pair went their separate ways 15 years later in 2016. 

Claire's eldest son William is also an actor and is known professionally as Bill Skinner. Based in London, Bill has appeared in various major shows such as Endeavour, and The Cleaner, and also appeared alongside his mum in Ted Lasso and McDonald & Dodds. 

Bill Skinner as Lenny Addington in McDonald & Dodds© ITV/Jon Hall/Shutterstock
Claire's son Bill Skinner is also an actor and played Lenny Addington in McDonald & Dodds

Claire's romance with Outnumbered co-star

In 2018, Claire's Outnumbered co-star Hugh Dennis, 62, confirmed their relationship. He told the Mail on Sunday at the time: "I am very, very happy, we are so very happy."

The actor later revealed during a 2019 interview on BBC Radio 5 Live that the pair got together after filming wrapped on the 2016 Christmas special.

Hugh Dennis on Have I Got News For You© BBC
Claire is in a relationship with actor and comedian Hugh Dennis

"That happened I suppose about a year and a half ago. We did an Outnumbered Christmas special about three years ago and then met up again about a year and a half ago," said Hugh, who portrayed Claire's on-screen husband Pete in the comedy. The pair starred alongside Tyger Drew-Honey, Ramona Marquez, and Daniel Roche, who played their children.

Claire also opened up about their romance during a 2019 interview with The Times, revealing that the couple were together for a while before the news was announced. 

Hugh Dennis, Tyger Drew Honey, Ramona Marquez, Daniel Roache and Claire Skinner of Outnumbered pose with their Situation Comedy Award in the press room at the National Television Awards 2012 at The O2 Arena on January 25th, 2012© Dave Hogan/Getty Images
The couple starred alongside Tyger Drew-Honey, Ramona Marquez, and Daniel Roache in Outnumbered

"Nobody really noticed when Hugh Dennis and I first got into a relationship," explained the actress. "The news didn't come out until a year later, which was great. People said to us that someone will notice soon but I kept telling them, 'We're both over 50. Why would anyone be interested in that?' We've got families we wanted to protect, but everybody's pretty cool and happy with it."

She later addressed the romance during an interview on ITV's Lorraine. "It's a lovely little life surprise, isn't it? It's a lovely thing," she said. 

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