Amanda: How TV job helped put my affair behind me

Britain’s Got Talent judge Amanda Holden has told how it changed the public’s perception of her after her affair with Neil Morrissey. The actress, 48, said BGT showed viewers she “probably wasn’t as bad as I’d been portrayed”. Amanda joined the programme in 2007 but had previously hit the headlines for a split from first husband Les Dennis in 2002 following an affair with Morrissey in 2000. 

She went on to marry music executive Chris Hughes in 2008. 

Speaking ahead of the launch of spin-off show BGT: The Champions – which starts tonight – Amanda said: “Starting out on Britain’s Got Talent was liberating for me. 

“I mean, without dragging up my past, I think, at the time, I was with Chris, my husband, we’d been together for something like five years. But people were still going on about Les Dennis and Neil Morrissey, and all the other stuff. 

“So what was really nice was that anyone that might’ve had a preconceived idea of me could see who I really was and then really make their mind up. 

“So if they didn’t like me after, that’s totally fine as well. But I think I was able to make a wider audience understand that I probably wasn’t as bad as I’d been portrayed, or as naughty as I’d been portrayed. 

“I am naughty, I stand by that, but in a good way. I think it’s important that everyone has a sense of humour in these difficult times.” 

Looking back on how she got the role, she said: “It’s very surreal because I was lucky. 

“Simon Cowell picked me because I was in a very well-known drama at the time that was doing well. So I was in Wild At Heart and he knew me. My career as an actress has essentially been put on hold because BGT has been the biggest thing in my life. 

“I’ve gone down a road where I’ve been able to use my personality.” 

BGT: The Champions sees past winners of the hit ITV talent show perform for the chance to be named the ultimate entertainer. 

The series also features winners of various other Got Talents from across the world. 

Amanda added: “Doing a champions series is brilliant as it’s a way of uniting the entire world, because we have people from all over the globe coming to compete and we’re welcoming them on to our stage.” 

Names competing tonight include former BGT winner Paul Potts and sand artist Kseniya Simonova, who won Ukraine’s Got Talent in 2009. 

 Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions starts on ITV tonight at 8pm. 

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