Dale Winton was famously involved in an extraordinary TV wedding with a glamour model but he never found love in his own tragic life.
The TV star, 62, who was found dead at home in London yesterday, walked down the aisle and exchanged vows with Nell McAndrew in 2004.
Ex-Liverpool captain and hard man Graeme Souness, an unlikely close friend of Dale’s, was his best man and Cilla Black, his most trusted confidant until her death in 2015, was the maid of honour.
The stunt 14 years ago came at a time when Dale was barely off screen charming millions on BBC TV and radio after finding fame on Supermarket Sweep in the 1990s.
Dale Winton was famously involved in an extraordinary TV wedding with Nell McAndrew in 2004 but he never found love in his own tragic life
Winton was born in Marylbone, London, in May 1955 to Gary and Sheree, an actress who starred in James Bond film Thunderball. His father died suddenly when he was 13 and his mother killed herself when he was 21
But his private life was a much unhappier sparked by the sudden and tragic deaths of his parents.
His friend of 50 years, LBC DJ Steve Allen, said today: ‘Deep down he was a bit lonely. He needed a partner. He has had some bad picks’.
In 2016 Dale admitted he was too depressed to leave the house after a messy break-up with another man but never revealed publicly who he was dating.
An only child, Dale’s happy childhood ended when his father Gary collapsed and died on the day of his bar mitzvah when he was 13 and he came home aged 21 to find his mother Sheree had killed herself with a drug overdose in her bedroom.
His own sudden death yesterday came just a month before his 63rd birthday and the 41st anniversary of his actress mother’s suicide, which he admitted he ‘never got over’.
Dale started his career in local radio and had little work for eight years until he spent nearly a decade hosting Supermarket Sweep before fronting the National Lottery show In It To Win It on BBC1 for 14 years and the Pick of the Pops show on BBC Radio 2 for ten years.
But the star, known for his sunny disposition, bright smile and tan, disappeared from public life two years ago admitting he ‘wouldn’t leave the house’ because of depression and regrets that he had failed to admit he was gay until he was 45.
Not telling his mother was one of his great regrets.
He told Ok Magazine in 2008: ‘She heard me on the phone to my then boyfriend, who was very obviously gay, very camp.
‘She said to me: ‘I never want you to feel there’s something you can’t tell me, and I will never judge or discriminate’.
‘That was the point I should have gone: Mum, I’ll tell you I’m gay’.
Dale failed to make it to his close friend Cilla Black’s funeral in 2015, sparking concerns about his health and he later admitted he couldn’t leave the house
He didn’t come out officially until 2002 – but admitted he it became a bit of a ‘game’ to not mention his sexuality.
He told The Times: ‘The truth – it’s absolutely the truth – is that no one ever asked me.
‘I did countless interviews over the years and I was always waiting for the question. It never came. It became a game, the ambiguity of it all.’
In 2015 he sparked concern after failing to attend the funeral of Cilla Black, who was one of his closest friends.
A year later, he appeared on TV’s Loose Women and revealed he had been secretly battling depression after going through a difficult break up.
He told the show: ‘I should have taken myself off the TV but I didn’t. Listen, there are worse things in the world – but I had depression and I didn’t realise.
‘I always thought, ‘get over yourself’. But my mum died of it. It exists and anybody out there who has had it knows it exists. I didn’t want to put one foot in front of the other but for a couple of really good friends.’
His confidence took a blow during the series In it To Win It when people commented ‘he doesn’t look well’.
Earlier this year he was back on our screens, hosting Dale Winton’s Florida Fly Drive on Channel 5 to relaunch his career.
However, only one episode aired in February after the network decided not to show the remainder of the series following the shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
The other episodes were due to air in June, Channel 5 said.