Denise Van Outen‘s new boyfriend Jimmy Barba was once an Italian reality star who sent flirty messages to the likes of Cheryl and Laura Woods, MailOnline can reveal.
The singer, 48, went public with her new man Jimmy, 55, this week when they attended the Grand Prix Ball – five months after she split from her cheating ex Eddie Boxshall.
Denise has enjoyed a long life in the spotlight, starring on various shows and demonstrating her vocal talents on the West End, and it’s now been revealed that her new partner has forged a similar career path.
Back in 2010, Jimmy became a household name in Italy after starring in the eleventh series of Big Brother (Grande Fratello) where he finished in fourth place.
While he may not have won the series and bagged the €300,000 grand prize, he kept audiences entertained during his stint by striking up romances with two of his fellow housemates, Rosa Baiano and Margherita Zanatta.
Brushes with fame: Denise Van Outen’s new boyfriend Jimmy Barba was once an Italian reality star (pictured right on Big Brother Italy) who sent flirty messages to the likes of Cheryl and Laura Woods, MailOnline can reveal
What followed was a short-lived pop career, with Jimmy releasing three singles between 2012 and 2013 – although they failed to light up the charts.
More recently, Jimmy – who described his career as being a dancer and farmer when he appeared on Grande Fratello – has shunned the world of showbiz to become a property developer.
However, the British-Italian star did reveal that he still has an interest in celebrity culture when he struck up a conversation with the likes of singer Cheryl and Sky Sports’ Laura Woods.
In 2019, Jimmy was quick to offer himself up as a romantic prospect for Cheryl, 34, who tweeted: ‘Wanna be my Valentine?!’ prompting Jimmy to quickly respond ‘Yep.’
In December 2021 Jimmy was quick to call Laura ‘Beautiful’ with a kissing emoji after she shared a snap showing off one of her outfits.
Jimmy is said to have been dating Denise for a few weeks after being introduced through All Saints star Shaznay Lewis, with an insider telling MailOnline they have been ‘on a few dates.’
‘It’s early days but everything is going really well and Denise is happy,’ the source revealed.
As seen on screen: Back in 2010, Jimmy became a household name in Italy after starring in the eleventh series of Big Brother (Grande Fratello) where he finished in fourth place
Oh my! While he may not have won the series and bagged the €300,000 grand prize, he kept audiences entertained during his stint by striking up romances with his fellow housemates
Pucker up! Jimmy quickly made a name for himself as the Lothario of the Big Brother house
Sources told MailOnline the couple have been dating for a few weeks after being introduced by a mutual friend.
The entrepreneur owns Whiteditch Lane Development LTD and based on photos added to his Twitter account appears to be a father to a young daughter.
Denise is mother to 10-year-old Betsy whom she shares with ex partner Lee Mead and while she has performed in many West End shows Jimmy too is a singer.
Denise went Instagram official with Jimmy on Thursday morning, sharing photos of the two cuddled up at the event and dining with friends.
The couple appear to have much in common with photos posted to his social media grid showing him taking to the stage with a microphone in hand.
It’s Denise’s first relationship since she revealed she had split from partner of seven years Eddie in a New Year’s Instagram post, after initially discovering his infidelities in November 2021.
Cute couple: The singer, 48, went public with her new man Jimmy, 55, this week when they attended the Grand Prix Ball – five months after she split from her cheating ex Eddie Boxshall
She caught Eddie flirting sexually with three women and has described his behaviour as ‘disrespectful and devastatingly hurtful’.
Denise claimed that she found pictures and Instagram messages on Eddie’s iPad, detailing the ordeal in her autobiography, A Bit Of Me: From Basildon To Broadway And Back.
Denise wrote: ‘There were also Instagram messages alluding to phone sex with a third woman. I quickly found the woman’s profile by her screen name, only to discover I’d previously blocked her on my Instagram account – which struck me as odd.’
She continued: ‘This was a woman I didn’t know, who’d clearly had an online connection with my boyfriend. Why would I have blocked her from my Instagram account. Straight away, I unblocked her and sent her a message saying how she knew Eddie.’
Singing sensation: What followed from Big Brother was a short-lived pop career, with Jimmy releasing three singles between 2012 and 2013
Match made in heaven? The couple appear to have much in common with photos of Jimmy posted to his social media grid showing him taking to the stage with a microphone in hand
She added: ‘She suggested that Eddie had probably gone into my phone and blocked her so she couldn’t message me.
‘She has apparently spoken to Eddie over FaceTime and text for a long period – often from our home and sometimes from my flat in Hampstead, which she seemed to think was his.
‘They’d never met in person, but she said the conversations had become sexual in nature reasonably quickly – some of the stuff I found on the phone seemed to support that. However she was upset with Eddie because he’d apparently ghosted her.’
The TV star recently opened up about the gut-wrenching moment she told her 12-year-old daughter Betsy about the split. Denise said sharing the news with her daughter was the ‘worst part’ about the break-up.
‘It tore me apart watching her cry while I tried to make her understand,’ Denise recalled to OK! magazine.
Taking 48-year-old Eddie back was not an option for the TOWIE narrator, as she went on to explain.
‘I’ve got too much self respect and I just can’t live that that. I felt like, in a few selfish moments, he’d ruined it. I couldn’t imagine it ever feeling the same,’ she admitted.
Cheeky! In 2019, Jimmy was quick to offer himself up as a romantic prospect for Cheryl, 34, who tweeted: ‘Wanna be my Valentine?!’ prompting Jimmy to quickly respond ‘Yep.’
Hello there: In December 2021 Jimmy was quick to call Sky Sports’ Laura Woods ‘Beautiful’ with a kissing emoji after she shared a snap showing off one of her outfits
She added on Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place podcast: ‘Kids have phones now, and they’re in school where they are going to read things and hear things, so I did have to be completely honest with her.
‘And actually I’d want to be honest with her. I think it’s important with your kids to have that honesty.
‘There are still things I probably haven’t told her or I’ve held back. There have been moments where I’ve been really upset and you don’t want your child to see you upset, because it’s a horrible thing.
‘But at the same time, she kind of does need to know as well. I can’t just brush everything under the carpet.’
‘As a parent, my responsibility is to guide her through life and I worry she’s going to think that things go wrong.
‘That she’s going to go into relationships when she’s older perhaps not with an open heart, and that’s what I don’t want to happen. That’s where it’s tricky.’
Split: Denise announced she had split from Eddie Boxshall in January after discovering he had cheated on her during their seven year relationship (pictured February 2020)
While the TV personality said she is ‘really enjoying’ therapy, she admitted that the heartache she has faced is like ‘grief’.
She said: ‘Heartache is horrible. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re from, what you’ve got, it hurts just as deep. Those nights of just sitting there on my patio, three, four o’clock in the morning, feeling drained and empty and thinking, “I don’t know how I’m going to get through the next week”, because you just feel so broken, it’s horrible.
‘It hurts. Like, I couldn’t breathe. I felt like someone was sitting on my chest.’
She also shared that it’s still a work in progress: ‘I wouldn’t say I’m fully healed, but I am getting there’.
Eddie moved out of Denise’s home following their shock split and is now thought to be staying with friends.
Meanwhile Denise’s close friend Duncan James, of boyband Blue, has replaced Eddie on the current series of Celebrity Gogglebox, taking his place on the sofa besides Denise for the popular Channel 4 show.
Over and Outen! A look back at Denise’s former flames
Denise, who narrates The Only Way Is Essex, dated Jamiroquai lead singer Jay Kay, 52, for three years from 1998 to 2001.
The TV personality, 47, enjoyed a highly-publicised relationship with the Jamiroquai bandmember, 52, before they ‘painfully’ called it quits back in 2001.
Denise even wrote about him in her new autobiography A Bit Of Me, and he claimed they called off their plans to marry due to ‘conflicting’ jobs at the time.
The ex files: The star, who narrates The Only Way Is Essex, dated Jamiroquai lead singer Jay Kay, 52, for three years from 1998 to 2001 (pictured in 1998)
After Jay, there was a brief rebound fling with Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels actor Nick Moran.
One onlooker observed of one of their date nights: ‘They were like a pair of magnets – stuck together all night. They were kissing and cuddling like love-struck kids.’
Yet their relationship wasn’t meant to be and the two stars split up shortly after they first began dating.
Following this, Denise dated nightclub owner Richard Traviss from 2003 until 2005, with the couple even becoming engaged during their romance.
During their relationship the couple were hit by cheating claims when a lapdancer penned a kiss and tell claiming to have slept with Richard in 2003 – claims that he and Denise denied.
Despite this the couple called it quits two years later but on good terms, with Denise telling ES Magazine: ‘We’re still talking and we’re still great mates.’
Past romance: Denise dated nightclub owner Richard Traviss from 2003 until 2005, with the couple even becoming engaged during their romance (pictured in 2004)
Denise first walked down the aisle to wed her daughter Betsy’s father Lee Mead, 40, however they separated four years later in 2013.
Denise married Lee in the Seychelles in 2009, after meeting on the 2007 TV show Any Dream Will Do where she was a judge and he was a contestant. They welcomed Betsy in 2010.
Denise confirmed they had parted ways in June 2013 – just six months after being named the runner-up on Strictly’s tenth series.
Former flame: Denise first walked down the aisle to wed her daughter Betsy’s father Lee, 40, in 2009, however they separated in 2013 (pictured in 2010)
Originally posted 2022-06-30 12:58:03.