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 Friday, 27 December, 2002, 16:26 GMT
Holden and Dennis: Life in the spotlight
Les Dennis and Amanda Holden
The couple have announced an "amicable" split
Television presenter Les Dennis and actress Amanda Holden have announced the end of their seven-year marriage. BBC News Online looks at their life together as a celebrity couple.

Les Dennis and Amanda Holden were together for 10 years - considered a long time in showbiz circles - but their marriage was under scrutiny in the press.

Speculation about their relationship was recently fuelled following Holden's short-lived affair in 2000 with fellow actor Neil Morrissey of Men Behaving Badly.

Although she reunited with Dennis following a brief split after the revelations, the couple could never escape the shadow of the affair, which was brought up in nearly every newspaper story which mentioned them.

Les Dennis
Les Dennis the Celebrity Big Brother runner-up
When they married in 1995 it was Dennis who was considered the star after he followed in the footsteps of Bob Monkhouse to host Family Fortunes.

Although he had already made a name for himself as one half of a comedy duo with the late Dustin Gee, the quiz show cemented his status as a family entertainer.

There were raised eyebrows when he announced he was to marry Holden - who he met while they worked on different shows in the seaside resort of Bournemouth - because of the age difference.


He once said of the 17-year age gap: "I was worried, well scared, actually about the age difference.

"I realise now that it's about loving each other and not whether you relate to the same kind of music."

But as Holden's career as an actress took off there was increased interest in their lives, and they resorted to legal action in a bid to protect their privacy.

She won a 40,000 settlement from the Daily Star after it published topless photos of her lying on a beach in Tuscany.

And TV star Holden is currently suing the Daily Mirror over a report alleging she was difficult during the filming of the BBC series Cutting It.

Cutting It
Holden stars in the BBC drama Cutting It
Both Holden and Dennis are also suing OK! magazine over a feature it billed as an "exclusive interview" in the wake of Dennis entering Big Brother.

They claim it was just a rehash of past stories written about them, accompanied by photos taken three years ago.

Holden's big break came playing dippy receptionist Mel in the BBC series Kiss Me Kate alongside Caroline Quentin.


Her next major role was in the sitcom The Grimleys in which she played Miss Titley - a name which tabloid newspapers had a field day with.

She went on to star in the dramas Hearts and Bones and Cutting It, set in a hairdresser's salon in Manchester.

Dennis' career on the other hand had stalled somewhat and he made the decision to quit Family Fortunes after 15 years to concentrate on acting.

He recently enjoyed a recurring role in Channel 4 soap Brookside and a part in an episode of The Bill.

He also took part in a charity celebrity boxing match as part of the BBC's Sport Relief campaign, but lost the bout to comedian Bob Mortimer.

Les Dennis and Amanda Holden
The couple married in Bournemouth in 1995
In November 2002 he plunged himself back into the spotlight as one of six celebrities to enter the Celebrity Big Brother House, with its 24-hour surveillance cameras.

Dennis' involvement in the Channel 4 reality TV show was seen as a big risk for a man who had already undergone the public humiliation of his wife cheating on him.

But he said he was putting himself through the experience to show there was another side to him other than what people read about him.

To begin with he came across as a fun-loving character whose flatulence irritated other members of the Big Brother house.


But a task of nominating two of his fellow celebrity housemates to leave left him showing the strain and fuelled speculation he was cracking under the pressure.

Denials were issued about him being under strain, and he went on to become runner-up in the show to Take That's Mark Owen.

But the fact that his wife was not there to greet him when he left the house during Channel 4's live finale stoked the rumours that his marriage to Holden was once again in trouble.

Work commitments were blamed for her non-appearance amid denials there were difficulties and they were finally reunited days later and were photographed out and about.

But the announcement that the couple's marriage has come to an end is one that has perhaps not come as any great surprise to the showbiz world.

See also:

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