She has been the Mirror’s Agony Auntie for over a decade. But Colleen Nolan reveals she found happiness with a new man when she took her own advice.
The Loose Woman star says three years as a singleton worked wonders for her independence and that by the time she went looking for love again, it was because she wanted it, not needed it.
“It was probably the most secure and confident I’ve ever felt to go into a relationship,” Colleen says. “That means seven months in, things are going wonderfully. We haven’t even taken our first line.”
Mum-of-three Colleen, who split from guitarist husband Ray Fansome in 2018 after 11 years of marriage, met new man Michael Jones on Tinder last summer.
But, she says, she was lucky to get the right swipe because before that day she was ready to totally jack up the search for love on dating apps.
“I was just about to exit the app when I saw Michael and swiped right,” says 56-year-old Colleen.
“I was there for a while and after a string of dates with guys who just weren’t working out, I was fed up with the whole thing.
“The men were all great, but one told me he couldn’t deal with the fact that I was in the public eye, so obviously it wasn’t going to work.
“Another thing seemed a little awkward when I didn’t reply to a message directly, so I knew it wasn’t worth the effort.
“I didn’t feel any spark in the other people I met, so that morning I decided I was going to get rid of my Tinder account completely and take a break.
PA Wire/Press Association Images)
“I was fed up with it, but then Michael popped up. I thought, ‘Oh that’s cool’ and something stopped me from deleting my account.
“Looking back, it wasn’t even such a nice picture of him, it looked like he had just gotten out of bed, but something caught my eye and that was it.
“I swiped right, we found a match, and I’m so glad I did.”
After a few initial messages and a few texts online, the pair first met at a pub between Colleen’s Cheshire home and 57-year-old Michael Kay Warrington.
Ken McKay / ITV / REX / Shutterstock)
“I was about to go on a cruise with Nolan that he said, ‘Let’s see you before you leave’,” she recalls.
“Now I’m very brave online and in texts, but when someone says, ‘Let’s see’, I’m a wreck. I tried to push him away until I got back from the cruise, but he said ‘It’s been two full weeks, let’s meet now and at least then we’ll know if it’s worth pursuing’.
The day they met at The Dun Cow – a country pub in Nottsford, Cheshire – on 23 June last year, there was a conversation and an instant spark.
“We both went over there and met at 5 p.m.,” says Colleen, mother of Shane Jr., 32, Jake, 28, their son with first husband Shane Ritchie, and daughter Ciara, 20.
“By 11 that night the pub owner said, ‘You’re welcome to continue chatting, but I have to take my dogs for a walk, so can you keep an eye on the pub?
“We stayed there for hours and hours and chatted non-stop about absolutely everything. We went from topic to topic, some serious, some ridiculous, and before we knew it, hours had passed.
“My phone was full of messages from kids like, ‘Where are you?’ and ‘Are you dead?’
“I was scared to go home, like a 16-year-old boy was running late to his parents!”
However, the pair did not leave without sharing their first kiss.
“We happened to park next to each other, and there was that dreadful moment where you think, ‘Oh no, what do we do? Colleen laughs. “Do we hug, do we shake hands?
“I turned 12 again, and Michael now tells everyone that I kissed him, which is clearly untrue. I was going to hug him, which somehow turned into a kiss, but he insisted That I launched myself at him. I didn’t, but it was a great kiss.”
And, she revealed, spending their first night together was just as magical.
“It was after our fifth date,” she says. “It was wonderful, and it has been wonderful ever since.”
Now, after introducing Michael to family and friends, including Loose Woman pals Brenda Edwards, Ruth Langsford, and Kay Adams, as well as ex-husband Ray, the TV star smokes and tells Michael, who runs a supermarket chain. Works at Logistics. She has ever been before any man.
“Before Michael I had only been in relationships with people who had worked in my industry in one way or another. He’s totally different. He’s been calmer and quieter and the things I do in my crazy world, That is an amazing quality to find in someone.
“And he wouldn’t like me to say it, but he’s a little naughty,” she jokes. “I mean in a good way, I find it so cute. He’s very intelligent and open. We talk about everything. I guess that’s why we haven’t had a fight yet.”
The fact that they haven’t argued, in part, makes Colleen very comfortable with her new man, who has an older son from a previous relationship.
“I honestly think I feel more confident in my 50s now than I used to be,” she says. “He likes me whether I put on my makeup or not if I’m having a rough day or he can see my stomach. It’s great for a relationship because those insecurities just aren’t there.”
She now hopes that as Mirror’s Agony Aunt she can be the poster girl for many other women who are told they need a man, but who will know when the time is right for them.
And as far as her vow is concerned, she will never tie the knot again…
“I said I’d never get married again in a million years. But Michael has said twice that it’s inevitable, so who knows. The connection we have makes it feel like we’re more than seven months old.” We have been together since time immemorial, and as long as we live apart, we are with each other most of the time.
“But I’m trying to keep a calm mind about all of this, and just remember to enjoy it for whatever it is. He’s an amazing person and I feel so lucky to have met him.”
“The advice I would give to anyone looking for love is to first find happiness in yourself before trying to find it through someone else. It seems to work for me.”
- Colleen’s autobiography, Live, Laugh Love, Lessons I Have Learned, is now published.