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Opik and Cheeky Girl 'take break'

14 July 08 12:31 GMT
By Jackie Storer
BBC News

Cheeky Girl singer Gabriela Irimia is taking a break from her Lib Dem MP fiance Lembit Opik - but the couple have not split up, her mother says.

Magrit Irimia Scmal says the pair have not spoken for at least two weeks, but denied their engagement was off.

"Gabriela is having a difficult time in her life and just wants a little bit of space," Mrs Irimia Scmal said.

Mr Opik's spokeswoman has declined to comment. The 43-year-old MP proposed to Ms Irimia, 25, in Rome in April.

Mrs Irimia Scmal, 53, said Transylvanian-born Gabriela, who performs with her twin Monica, was under increasing pressure from work, her grandmother's recent death and the couple's engagement, which took place just two weeks later.

'Wearing her ring'

"They just have not spoken for the last one or two weeks - these things happen," she said, from her home in Rye, East Sussex.

"She's working and it's a very busy schedule. Today she is in Blackpool - they are having concert after concert.

"She's having a breather in the relationship. She's wearing her ring. In my eyes, it is not the break up of the relationship. Gabriela did not think for a moment to return that ring or put it down."

But Mrs Irimia Scmal said the death of the twins' grandmother, who passed away in Monica's presence while Gabriela was on TV with Mr Opik, "upset her very much... the girls were looked after by this woman for 20 years".

Mrs Irimia Scmal, who was speaking after newspaper reports suggested her daughter and Mr Opik had split up, said she wished the media would leave the couple alone.

The Cheeky Girls arrived in the UK from their native Romania in 2002 and shot to fame after an appearance on reality TV show Popstars and other reality shows.

Mr Opik, who speaks on housing issues for the Lib Dems and is MP for Montgomeryshire, is one of the best known of his party's MPs.

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