Emma Willis: “I feel too young to be married"

Emma Willis
Amy Swales By Amy Swales Closer Staff

TV presenter Emma Willis talks to about the secrets to a happy relationship, and stepping into Davina McCall’s shoes on Big Brother

TV presenter Emma Willis talks to about the secrets to a happy relationship, and stepping into Davina McCall’s shoes on Big Brother

With her third wedding anniversary coming up in July, Emma Willis tells she’s a huge romantic and puts the effort into keeping her relationship with husband Matt exciting.

But TV presenter Emma, 34, reveals she was so embarrassed when he popped the question in 2007 she wouldn’t let him get down on one knee!

She laughs: “The thought of romance is amazing, but in reality you can feel a bit silly! When he proposed I was so embarrassed. It was on the Rialto Bridge in Italy and there were so many people around! I could tell what he was about to do so I grabbed him by the scruff of his neck and was like, ‘Don’t you dare go down there! Stay up here with me!’

“I was phoning everyone afterwards and in my head, I was thinking ‘You’re about 18 and too young to get married, everyone’s gonna laugh at you!’ Then you realise, ‘Hold on, you’re old enough! You should have three kids by now!’”

'The thought of romance is amazing, but in reality you can feel a bit silly!'

emma and matt
emma and matt

Emma and former Busted member Matt are parents to daughter Isabelle Catherine, who turns two in June, and Emma – who is the face of Disaronno’s Rekindle The Romance campaign - says she definitely wants more children in the future.

“I’d love it, but you can plan as much as you want and it might not happen - you tend to think it’s easier than it is,” she explains. “Also for both of us, work is when you can get it, so it’s hard to plan around that. It’ll happen when it’s meant to!”

Matt is currently touring with Footloose: The Dance Musical, and though she admits the time apart is hard, Emma – who is fronting the Disaronno Rekindle The Romance campaign – says they both make the effort to be romantic.

“In one way it’s nice because you have that time on your own – the house is a lot tidier! But I do miss him terribly. I’m fine for a couple of weeks, then I have a little breakdown, he reassures me and it’s okay again. It’s just working at it really.

“You’ve got to keep the romance coming! I don’t think, ‘Right it’s Valentines Day I’m going to go and buy some red knickers’ but effort goes a long way. For his birthday two years ago, I recreated his favourite Indian restaurant from Birmingham in my house. I drove there eight months’ pregnant and brought a banquet back to London.

“It can be harder when you become parents because your whole world becomes someone else. It’s amazing to have time alone, but because Matt works away a lot, his time with Isabelle is precious, so we just throw her on our back and take her along for the ride.

“Matt’s always been a softy. He’s done some wonderful things for me – he flew my best friend over for my 30th birthday from LA and I didn’t know. He proposed in Venice and he impregnated me! What more do you need?”

Matt, 27, is now clean and sober after three stints in rehab for drug and alcohol problems, but Emma tells Closer hard times have never affected them as a couple.

“We’ve never had that ‘You know what, I don’t know if I can make it through this!’ We’re very lucky,” she smiles. “We do bicker if we’re stressed, and him not hanging clothes up tests me every single day! I’m not a clean freak, but don’t leave them on the floor for three weeks!”

While rumours have been flying that Emma is set to step into Davina McCall’s shoes on if the series returns, she reveals she hasn’t been approached for the job – though Davina recently backed her for the role, describing her as a “great presenter”.

'Matt's always been a softy. He's done some wonderful things for me- he flew my best friend over for my 30th birthday from LA and I didn't know'

Emma, who presented last year’s , tells : “I haven’t had a phonecall or heard anything, but Davina was lovely to say that. Who knows? Yes it would be amazing, but you don’t know what it’s going to be like and the show I fell in love with might become something very different. I’m trying not to think about it until I hear!”

Though size 8 Emma, who is 5ft 8, looks fantastic, and credits her figure to swimming and one-on-one sparring sessions, she reveals she still gets nervous dressing up for red carpet events.

“I was a wreck before the National TV Awards,” she laughs. “It’s quite intimidating. I’d never been before and you think, ‘No-one wants my picture,’ then when they call your name, you worry they’re calling someone else!

“There is quite a lot of pressure on how you look at those events, you get the photographs with you bulging out of your dress or sweaty armpits, but I keep it as simple as possible. It’s about wearing the right clothes to hide your sins.

“I don’t diet, I’m just sensible. I have a little splurge on cake and chocolate sometimes, then go ‘Okay, lets concentrate on fruit and veg again.’ I go through phases with the gym too, when I’m busy, any time I have I want with my daughter and Matt. I don’t torture myself that’s for sure – I’d rather just wear a tighter pair of jeans to hold everything in!

“I like swimming and I love boxing – it really works on your arms - and climbing too. I did it on with Jack Osbourne in Mexico for two weeks, and it was incredible how toned it made me. It was just before I got married so I was really happy!”