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Amanda Holden speaks out on her 17-year age gap with ex Les Dennis

Amanda Holden has spoken out about her marriage to Les Dennis, saying she found safety in a relationship with an older man.

The Britain’s Got Talent judge, 52, wed television presenter Les, 69, in 1995, when she was 23 years old and he was 40, after they worked together on a stage production of The Sound of Music.

However, five years later it emerged the couple had gone their separate ways amid Amanda’s much publicised affair with actor Neil Morrissey, 60.

The pair began their dalliance when they worked together on 2000 film Happy Birthday Shakespeare, with Amanda later admitting their relationship was just about ‘sex’.

At the time, many speculated as to whether it was the age gap between Amanda and Les that caused their problems.

Familiarity? Amanda Holden, 52, has spoken out about her marriage to Les Dennis, saying she found safety in a relationship with an older man

And while Amanda and Les later reconciled before finally splitting in 2002, she insists that she has no idea if she was looking for a father figure in the funnyman.

She told The Times: ‘I don’t know because I’ve never done therapy, but there is a sort of safety in a relationship like that.

‘I was very young and I had a lot to learn about life.’

Of her marriage and affair, she previously told the Daily Mail: ‘I brought it on myself, I appreciate that, but nothing will ever be as bad again.

‘It was a very dark time. It got to the point where I felt I could hardly breathe.

‘Les proved to be my saviour. Ironically. So the person I’d hurt the most in the world was the one who was there for me.’

It comes after Les Dennis took a playful swipe at his ex-wife Amanda with a joke about her affair with Neil.

Speaking on the Show and Tell with Christopher Biggins podcast previously, Les talked about when he used to star in pantomimes alongside the late American actor Mickey Rooney shortly after his divorce. 

Former couple; The Britain's Got Talent judge, 52, wed television presenter Les, 69, in 1995, when she was 23 years old and he was 40 (pictured in 2002)

Former couple; The Britain’s Got Talent judge, 52, wed television presenter Les, 69, in 1995, when she was 23 years old and he was 40 (pictured in 2002)

Before each show the theatre would play Christmas songs, including Frank Sinatra’s famous hit Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.

Les said: ‘Mickey would get very angry, because of course, Frank Sinatra ran off with Ava Gardner (Mickey’s wife).

‘It would’ve been like me having to listen to Bob The Builder every night.’

The quip was in reference to the fact that Neil was the voice of Bob on the children’s show for 14 years.

In 2013, Amanda opened up about her affair with Neil, telling Good Housekeeping: ‘I don’t believe women have affairs for no reason.

‘Neil rightly or wrongly got loads of stick. I feel like it was my fault – I was the one who was married.

‘I want to change the general perception of him, as he was very caring and very loving and very worried about me because I lost so much weight. He used to cook for me and look after me and babysit the dogs.’

In 2014 Neil finally said sorry to game show host Les for the affair he had with his then-wife Amanda.

Split: It emerged the couple had gone their separate ways amid Amanda's much publicised affair with actor Neil Morrissey, 60 (Amanda and Neil pictured in 2003)

Split: It emerged the couple had gone their separate ways amid Amanda’s much publicised affair with actor Neil Morrissey, 60 (Amanda and Neil pictured in 2003)

The star, who has previously said he had not apologised to Les, made the admission on Piers Morgan’s Life Stories.

He said: ‘I feel sorry for how the situation was dealt with and I feel sorry for how emotional Les seemed to become. It was very difficult for him and for that I’m very sorry.’

His comment came after he was asked by Piers if he had ever apologised to Les, to which he replied: ‘No, I didn’t. I’m not positive over what there is apologise about. I don’t know what the whole situation was, to be perfectly fair to everybody.’

When asked why he has never spoken about it before, the father-of-one shared: ‘I think enough was said about it. This was a very short fling. I didn’t have representation at the time, in terms of PR and this was the first time I’d really come under the cosh.’

Honest: While Amanda and Les reconciled before finally splitting in 2002, she insists that she has no idea if she was looking for a father figure in the funnyman as she hasn't done therapy (pictured last month)

Honest: While Amanda and Les reconciled before finally splitting in 2002, she insists that she has no idea if she was looking for a father figure in the funnyman as she hasn’t done therapy (pictured last month)

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