Mum of five: ‘My best friend set me up with her teen son’

lauren gore ryan appleton

by Kristina Beanland |
Updated on

Lauren Gore met her future love for the first time when he was just 15 - now they're engaged...

Mum-of-five Lauren Gore, then 33, laughed it off when her friend Sarah Shulver said her 17-year-old son, Ryan Appleton, had a crush on her.

But Sarah kept dropping hints – and even gave Lauren’s number to Ryan, who began sending flirty texts.

Despite the 15-year age gap, the pair finally went on a date, and clicked instantly. Now, shockingly, they’re planning their wedding.

Check out: These celebrities managed to bring their career back from the brink of career death

Gallery

Celebrities back from the brink of career death: then and now SLIDER

Celebs back from the brink1 of 24
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Jordan AKA Katie Price

It may seem like Katie Price has never gone away, but the former glamour girl suffered a major fall from grace after her modeling heyday and had all but faded from public consciousness by the time she was invited to the Australian jungle to take part in the third ever series of I'm A celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!, where she came fifth.

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Jordan AKA Katie Price

2004 was the year that launch the brand Katie Price as we know it today. She famously met first husband Peter Andre while filming and the couple began what would be one of the most prolific reality TV careers seen this side of the pond.Now with a brood of five and three failed marriages behind her, Katie is the national anti-sweetheart the public loves to hate, but continues to rake in money for her now globally notorious brand.

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Kerry Katona

Kerry rose to fame as one third of early noughties pop group Atomic Kitten but was mercilessly kicked to the curb and replaced by Jenny Frost in 2001.The years following her departure weren't great for Kez, as she divorced from husband Brian McFadden and turned to drink and drugs to cope. Following a disastrous appearance on This Morning where viewers accused her of being high, Kerry went quiet for a long time.

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Kerry Katona

It was her partnership with Iceland that put Kerry back on the map and her first Mum of the Year award in 2005 was the beginning of her return to public favour. The nation began to sympathise with her battle with drink and drugs and she became well known for talking openly about her demons. She's currently clean and starring on the sixth series of Celebs Go Dating.

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Robbie Williams

A fresh faced Robbie entered the limelight at just 16 when he joined pop group Take That with Gary Barlow, but soon became tired of their squeaky clean image. His very public break down was inevitable – by 22 he was firm friends with the hedonistic Britpop boys of the era like the Gallaghers brothers and became a heavy drinker, later admitting to a cocaine addiction as well as trying heroin in the late 90's.

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Robbie Williams

Although he did still produce some hits throughout his addictions, it was only in 2007 when Robbie checked into rehab facility The Priory that he was able to get back on track. He has been married to model Ayda Field in 2010 and became a dad two years later. He's now clean and sober and is looking chiseled and healthy, and has even performed with his old band mates Take That on a number of occasions.

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Britney Spears

Britney was the ultimate teen pop queen of the late 90's, but the early days of her career were super problematic. Groomed for fame since she was a child and overtly sexualised, it was no surprise when, in 2007, Britney had had enough. In scenes which are now infamous, she shaved all of her hair off and attacked waiting paparazzi with a brolly, before losing custody of both her sons to ex husband Kevin Federline.

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Britney Spears

It took Britney a while to get back on her feet, and her (quite frankly) terrible performance at the VMA's that year didn't help. But by the end of 2008 she was back to her best churning out hit records – Womanizer and the album it came from, Circus, both debuted at number 1 in the US charts. But in a career move that proved to be genius, she cemented her legendary status by taking on a string of residencies at Las Vegas' biggest clubs, following in the footsteps of Cher and Elvis Presley. She now shares custody with Kevin of her two sons, Sean and Jayden James.

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Marcel from Blazin' Squad (AKA Somerfield)

But true star quality can't be ignored. Ten years after the band disbanded, rapper Marcel was back on our screens on the 2018 Love Island, quickly becoming a fan favourite thanks to what looked like a genuine love affair with Gabby Allen. Until he slept with someone else while the couple were both away on a romantic holiday to Mexico together, that is.

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Marcel from Blazin' Squad (AKA Somerfield)

How could we ever have forgotten about Blazin' Squad? But despite their inimitable talent, by 2009 the Crossroads singers had all but fallen from public consciousness. Sob.

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Shania Twain

Shania Twain was the artist who bought country music to the masses in America and beyond, winning five Grammy's and penning what remains the best selling country record of all time, Come on Over. But not only did Shania come back from the brink of career death – she later revealed she had come close to actual death too.

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Shania Twain

Fans were heartbroken when the Man, I Feel Like a Woman singer stopped making records. But Shania later revealed that she had been suffering from Lyme disease and resulting dysphonia, a disease which constricts the muscles around the larynx. She'd also suffered heartache at the hands of her partner of 15 years, who transpired to be having an affair with her best friend and assistant. After 15 years out of the limelight, she poured that heartache into writing and producing her fifth studio album, aptly titled Now.

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Cheryl (formerly Tweedy)

Ah, Cheryl. Before she was the Nation's sweetheart, she was one fifth of manufactured girl group, Girls Aloud, and quickly developed a reputation as a bit of a trouble maker. Shortly after her ascent to fame she was charged with punching a toilet attendant in what was thought to be a racially motivated attack. And her private life was in turmoil, too, as footballer husband Ashley Cole conducted a string of affairs during their marriage. As Girls Aloud's star failed to rise after 2007, Cheryl became nothing but a remnant of the Pop Idol era.

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Cheryl (formerly Tweedy)

But it wasn't long before one Simon Cowell, who had openly chosen Cheryl as a finalist on Pop Idol for her beauty, handed her an opportunity to amplify her flailing career. After Cheryl became a resident host on the Pop Idol's successor, The X Factor.In rolled more lucrative sponsorship deals (hey there L'Oreal) and high profile relationships than she could shake a stick at, and when she launched her solo pop career in 2009 it was sure to be a hit. After another temporary fall from the spotlight while she focused on her family, Cheryl made another comeback in 2018 with Love Made Me Do It – to, er, mixed reviews.

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Bros

Bonafide posterboys of clean cut 80's pop, Bros was made up of twin brothers Matt and Luke Goss and their standout hit, When Will I Be Famous, has gone down in history as the mega anthem of the 80's. But their one hit wonder-dom turned out to be just that, and by the 90's, Bros were nothing but a distant memory.

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Bros

A truly unexpected comeback tour and accompanying documentary titled Bros: When the Music Stops in late 2018 propelled the nostalgic teens of the 80's back to their heyday, proving that despite their lengthy haitus, Bros never lost their fanbase.

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Winona Ryder

She was the teen queen of cult films like Heathers and Edward Scissorhands, but Winona Ryder's reputation fell into disarray after she was arrested for shoplifting and the well publicised break down of her tumultuous relationship with Johnny Depp.

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Winona Ryder

Fast forward to 2016, and Winona lands her first major role in years as the mother of abducted boy Will Byers by supernatural forces in the Netflix smash, Stranger Things. The whole cast became international sensations almost overnight, and Winona regained her footing among Hollywood's finest.

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Stephanie Davis

Hollyoaks star Stephanie Davis first rose to fame on a talent show, BBC's Over the Rainbow (bet you didn't know that) and was quickly cast as Sinead O'Connor on Channel 4's resident soap. However, fame didn't agree with her, and after five years her contract was terminated because of "lateness, attendance and a final incident in which she turned up to set unfit to work because of alcohol consumption," according to The Sun. She was quickly snapped up by Celebrity Big Brother to take part in 2016, where she met fellow wild child Jeremy McConnel.

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Stephanie Davis

Her relationship with Jeremy was hugely problematic, and he was found guilty of attacking Stephanie while she was pregnant with their child. But after welcoming Caben-Albi in 2016, Stephanie turned her life back around. She made amends with Hollyoaks producers and returned to the soap, and is currentlyco-parenting baby Caben with Jeremy,looking better than ever while she's at it.

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Tulisa

Tulisa was the token female in early noughties UK hip hop group N-Dubz, hailing from London and penning hits like Ouch and Strong Again. After the band dropped out of the charts, Tulisa's career was rocked by a sex tape scandal leaked by a former boyfriend.

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Tulisa

Another to have been saved from certain death by Simon Cowell, for a time Tulisa worked alongside Cheryl on the X Factor judges panel, which was enough for her public redemption – she even mentored Little Mix all the way to the top spot in 2011. She's even re-signed with All Around The World records, the label responsible for N-Dubz success, and is set to release a comeback album later this year.

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Calum Best

The reluctant it boy son of a troubled football legend, Calum Best was the wild partying womanizer famous for his debauched partying and regular run ins with the law. Though he didn't have a career (as such), he quickly earned a reputation for being the country's most badly behaved bachelor, and was continuously berated in the tabloid press.

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Calum Best

With age comes wisdom, and though Calum remains perennially single he's cleaned up his image and turned his reputation right around. During his time in the Celebrity Big Brother house in 2017 he was every inch the gentleman when refusing the drunken advances of Chloe Ferry, Jazmin Waltz and Jessica Cunningham. AND when he starred in Celebs Go Dating later that year he even found semi lasting love with civilian Victoria.

lauren gore and ryan appleton
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Ryan has even moved in with Lauren, and become her full-time carer as she battles chronic pain condition fibromyalgia and Elhers-Danlos syndrome, which affects her joints.

Lauren, now 36, says, “You don’t expect your best friend to set you up with her son, but Sarah clearly knew what she was doing – Ryan and I are perfect for each other.”

Lauren and Sarah met in 2014. Both single mums – Lauren has five children, while Sarah has six – they’d help each other out with childcare and the school run.

Lauren, who is mum to Cameron, 18, Ebony, 16, Nathan, 14, Rhyan, eight, and Elliott, seven, says, “Back then, Ryan was just 15, and I treated him just like the other kids.

“He’d play on his Xbox in his bedroom, while Sarah and I gossiped in her kitchen, or cooked dinner for everyone.”

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But in February 2016, Lauren began seeing Ryan in a different light.

She says, “I hadn’t seen Ryan for a while when he walked into the kitchen, and I was stunned by the strapping 17-year-old he’d become. I had to stop myself from staring at him!

“By then, he’d left school and was working in car modifications. I knew he was young, but I thought I could just appreciate his good looks – it was no more than a harmless crush.

“But then, a few weeks later, I told Sarah about how I was fed-up with being single.

“That’s when she told me that Ryan fancied me. I was flattered, but I didn’t take her seriously – he was only two years older than my eldest son.”

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But in the weeks that followed, Sarah continued to suggest the pair should date.

Lauren says, “Sarah would say how much Ryan liked me, and that we’d make a good match. Then he started texting me. He’d tell me I had a pretty smile and I should give him a chance.

“I knew Sarah raised her children to be kind, caring people, so I knew Ryan would treat me well. And Sarah was so encouraging, I believed her when she said she’d be fine if me and Ryan dated. Eventually, I agreed to meet up with him.”

A few weeks later, Lauren and Ryan took their dogs for a walk together.

Lauren says, “For the first few minutes, I worried about what people might think, but we soon got chatting and we had so much in common – we both love cars and have a dry sense of humour.”

lauren gore and ryan appleton
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At first, the lovebirds kept their romance a secret.

Lauren says, “We were concerned how it would look to other people – especially my kids and Ryan’s siblings.

“But then my eldest, Cameron, caught us kissing on the sofa. Thankfully, he just thought it was funny. And all the other children have been fine too – we’re all like one big family.”

After a month, Ryan and Lauren slept together for the first time. Lauren says, “I’ve had five children, so it was scary showing off my body to Ryan. But he told me I was sexy, and made me feel so confident.

“I wasn’t the first person Ryan had slept with, so he knew what he was doing.”

Soon after, Ryan told Lauren he loved her.

Lauren says, “I knew I loved Ryan pretty early on, but I was nervous to say it – just like anyone would be in a relationship. So when he said it first, I said it straight back.”

In October 2016, after a night out with friends, Ryan popped the question.

lauren gore and ryan appleton with kids
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Lauren reveals, “We got back to mine and Ryan got down on one knee and gave me the most beautiful ring. I didn’t hesitate to say yes. But we haven’t set a date yet. We’re in no rush.”

In July 2018, Ryan moved in with Lauren and her brood. It was the first time he had lived away from home.

Lauren says, “It was quite a big adjustment, but he handled it well. As the eldest of six, he’s used to helping out with washing and housework, so it wasn’t like I had to pick up after him.

“My health conditions mean that, sometimes I can’t get out of bed, but Ryan just steps in. He’ll help me wash, get dressed, and do all the chores.”

lauren gore and ryan appleton
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Due to her ongoing health problems, Lauren can’t have any more children, something that she says Ryan is fine with.

Lauren says, “My mum was really worried that Ryan would change his mind and I’d be left heartbroken.

“But we’ve talked about it at length and Ryan has assured me that he doesn’t want children. He’s happy to be a stepdad and a big brother. A part of me wonders if his opinion will change as he gets older, but I don’t dwell on it.”

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And Lauren’s relationship with Ryan hasn’t affected her friendship with his mum.

She says, “We’re still as close as we always were. Obviously I don’t talk to her about my sex life, but if Ryan and I have a little bicker, Sarah gives really good advice. Everyone is just really happy with the relationship.

“Ryan has always got on with my kids, so I know he’ll be a great stepdad. And the rest of my family love him. We’ve been on holiday with my parents, too.”

She adds, “Ryan’s friends have been really accepting. It was a bit weird hanging out with a bunch of teenage lads, but they’ve always put me at ease."

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