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Wednesday, 12 January, 2000, 16:31 GMT
EastEnder Tamzin's getting hitched
Outhwaite with co-star Casey Anne Rothery (Lucy)
EastEnders star Tamzin Outhwaite is following in the footsteps of her soap character - and getting married.

The 29-year-old, who plays Queen Vic barmaid Melanie Beale, secretly got engaged to her producer boyfriend Marty on Christmas Day.

Turning heads at the 1999 National TV Awards
"We are absolutely thrilled, as are both our families," said Outhwaite.

Glaswegian Marty proposed to the actress over a romantic dinner on the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar, revealed a spokesman for the BBC soap.

The TV sex symbol is maintaining the secrecy surrounding her engagement by not yet revealing her fiancÚ's surname.

In recent reports, Outhwaite described her off-screen romance as making her feel like a "bouncy puppy".

"I feel complete," she said, "If I could sleep with any man in the world, it would be my man."

The star's real-life engagement came in the same week that 21 million viewers tuned in to watch her Albert Square persona wed businessman Ian Beale.

Marriage break-up

But the soap's Melanie split from Ian days after the New Year's Eve wedding, when she found out he had been lying about his daughter, Lucy's cancer scare - a drama Outhwaite doesn't intend to mirror in real-life.

Since joining EastEnders in October 1998, the blonde bombshell has become one of its most popular stars, earning titles such as Sexiest Female at the British Soap Awards and Best Newcomer at the National TV Awards.

Sizzling storylines involving an on-screen love triangle with Adam Woodyatt's Ian Beale and Martin Kemp's Steve Owen in the past year have made Outhwaite a household name.

See also:

02 Jan 00 | Entertainment
Millennium TV smashes New Year records
18 Nov 99 | Entertainment
EastEnders star robbed at home
27 Oct 99 | Entertainment
Thaw's double TV victory
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