Lisa Riley ‘
I’m a serial dater 
since losing weight’

Lisa Riley has always been proud to flaunt her plus-size figure-insisting "curves make women sexy"

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by Closer Staff |
Published on

After dropping from a size 26 to a 20 while on Strictly Come Dancing last year, Lisa Riley gushes that the show’s high-energy UK tour earlier this year has now seen her slim down to a sexy size 18 – and sent her confidence through the roof. So much so, she says she has become vain and loves admiring herself in the mirror.

And the single star admits her new curves have worked wonders for her love life, as she’s been “dating loads recently.”

The 36-year-old actress, who shot to fame playing Mandy Dingle in Emmerdale for seven years, tells Closer: “Strictly whipped me down to a size 20 and saw me shed around 2st with all the crazy routines and rehearsals my dance partner Robin [Windsor, 33] put me through.”

She adds: “He’s amazing and he worked me hard! But, of course, all the Strictly cast were doing show after show on the tour until last month, so I’m now wearing a size 18. I’m so made up! I’ve always been confident and really happy to fly the flag for curvy girls everywhere, but after losing four dress sizes, I honestly just feel amazing.”

'Strictly whipped me down to a size 20 and saw me shed around 2st with all the crazy dance routines'

The actress has been unlucky in love in the past. In 2007, she had an affair with married actor Nick Holly, which ended when he went back to his wife. Another significant relationship, with care-home manager Lee Cooper, ended when he was convicted of defrauding elderly residents.

She has previously admitted: “All my horrific relationships I’ve had, and they have been horrific, started off brilliantly. But over time [my partners] don’t like it when doors are opened for me, when they have to say: ‘Oh, I’m with Lisa.’ As time goes on, it does their crust in.

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Lisa Riley Strictly

“I am up for a relationship, but men can be quite stereotypical in that mindset that women have got to look a certain way. I’m different, but there will be someone out there for me.”

But that’s all in the past now, and despite confessing to Closer last year that she’s “c**p” at the dating game, Lisa vowed that she’ll find her Mr Right in 2013.

Three months in, the bubbly star is grinning like the cat that’s got the cream as she reveals she’s found a new lease of life when it comes to romance since losing weight. She may not have found Mr Right just yet, but she has been out on lots of dates.

She says: “I’ve been getting loads of compliments from men, too. Just the other day I was in WHSmith and the man on the till looked me up and down and said to me: ‘Wow, you are hot!’ I just thought to myself, ‘Yes I am!’”

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“I did admit to Closer at Christmas that I was really c**p at dating, but I’m pleased to say I’ve been dating loads recently,” she adds. “There’s no one special just yet, but I’m just concentrating on having loads of fun. The attention I get from men now I’ve trimmed down is huge and I love it. I always say Strictly made me vain because

I’m constantly looking in the mirror now and loving what I see!”

In fact, Lisa reveals that she barely recognises her former size-26 self any more.

'I absolutely love my booty!'

She adds: “I don’t even see myself as that person when I look back at old photographs. It just doesn’t feel like me. People always tell me the biggest difference with my weight loss is in my face and that it has slimmed down loads. I personally see such a huge difference in my bum – it’s finally toned up, which is not something I ever thought possible.

Now I absolutely love my booty!

“I hope the weight is something I can keep off for good. It’s never been about being slim for me though. It’s always been about what makes me happy and, right now, my happiness is sky high.”

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Managing to beam with joy for the audience every weekend on Strictly, Lisa – who was voted off in the show’s semi-final after losing a dance battle with fellow contestant Denise Van Outen – admits she was secretly struggling with heartache after losing her mum Cath, 57, to a long battle with cancer, just weeks before the series started in September.

In an emotional interview just weeks later, Lisa said: “She died in my arms. She was at my house. The entire family was there and we laughed together on the morning she passed away. That was Mum… she was fun and smiles to the very end.”

But the star reveals it was her openly gay dance partner and “rock” Robin – who is currently starring alongside professional partner Kristina Rhianoff in ballroom-dancing show Burn The Floor – who helped her cope with her grief, allowing her to perform each week.

They have become such close friends, and know each other so well, they often find themselves finishing off each other’s sentences. Since leaving Strictly, the bosom pals are in constant contact and even planning a holiday together.

She says: “Robin has become my best friend. We tell each other everything and trust each other 100 per cent. He’s a friend for life now and we’re just so similar.

“We text each other all the time and we’re even booking a holiday together somewhere this summer. I don’t want to give away the location, but I can say it will be somewhere really hot and somewhere we can both party up a storm!”

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