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Exclusive: Denise van Outen talks motherhood and co-parenting in the spotlight

Julie Delahaye

Denise van Outen is no stranger to taking on fitness challenges – she's already cycled from Vietnam to Cambodia, and trekked up Mount Kilimanjaro. Her latest adventure sees her taking on the Sky Ride cycling events across the UK – and this time, her six-year-old daughter Betsy will be by her side.

As the pair prepare to join thousands of fellow cyclists for the fun-filled events, the TV presenter opened up exclusively to HELLO! Online about raising her daughter while living in the spotlight.  

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Denise van Outen and daughter Betsy are taking on the Sky Ride events

"She leads a very normal life," Denise explained. "If there's an event or something that I get to share with her, then why not because we get to spend time together– a lot of parents take their children to work with them when they can. I'm lucky that with my job sometimes I can."

She later added: "She knows when she's having her photograph taken but she's really just a normal kid growing up and having fun. It just so happens that both of her parents are in the public eye – and she understands what we do as a job."

Denise also opened up about co-parenting with ex-husband Lee Mead, revealing that the pair, who were granted a divorce in 2015, quickly found a balance which "works well".

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Denise opened up about co-parenting with Lee Mead

"We never really had to think about it too much. At the start we always just made it – we knew Betsy was the priority and as always will be friends," she said. "We are friends. Everybody's situation is different, and ours works well."

With her hectic work schedule which also sees her set to take on upcoming show Big The Musical later this year, Denise admitted that she tries to "set a good example" for her daughter, especially when it comes to work ethic.

"I'm very aware of the fact that I want to set a good example to Betsy and I think it's healthy for her to see that she's got two parents who really get on, have the same job, and we sort of work it out between us and juggle it between us," she confessed. "I tend to say no to a lot of work when Lee's really busy and when Lee's really busy I do more work. We just work it around. I think she will hopefully grow up with a strong ethic and understand that what you put in, you get out."

The next few months will see the star hard at work rehearsing for Big The Musical – and she revealed that it was former Girls Aloud singer Kimberley Walsh who encouraged her to take on the role.

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Denise is set to star in upcoming show Big The Musical

She explained: "I love the film, and I was sent a musical score and the music's really great. I'm really good friends with Kimberly Walsh and it's the same producers that put Elf on in the West End. She was like, 'You have to do it because you'll love the producers and it's amazing and so much fun!'"

Admitting that she tries to up her fitness levels before a big show, Denise shared some of her favourite sports for staying in shape. "I go power walking. I'm not a keen runner, I don't really enjoy running so much, think it's quite tough on the old joints," she said. "I play golf, so I'm out quite a lot. I love walking – trekking is one of my other favourite things."

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Denise often takes on impressive fitness challenges

She doesn't exercise alone, admitting that she and Betsy "do lots of little fun activities and sports together", which is why the Sky Ride immediately appealed.

"Betsy's six now so she's at an age where she can take part in one of the Sky Rides and do it with me, so it's quite a nice thing for us to do together," she said. "It really is something that's nice for all of the family really."

Denise van Outen and Sky Cycling are launching Sky Ride 2016. To register your place, or to find out where your closest free Sky Ride event is taking place, visit goskyride.com and be one in a million.