Les Dennis admits he was wary about wife Claire due to 17-year age difference

Les Dennis has admitted he “panicked” when his now-wife Claire asked him for a dance at a charity do in 2005.

Their chance meeting came just two years after the comedian and TV presenter, 69, suffered through a heartbreaking divorce to his second wife, Amanda Holden, 52.

Reflecting on his concerns when he first met Claire, Strictly 2023 star Les explained to The Times: “I was ridiculously famous because my second marriage [to Amanda Holden] was falling apart.

“I wasn’t a big movie star but there were paparazzi camped outside my house. It was totally out of proportion.

“So you can understand that when I met Claire in 2005 I was wary. We were both at a charity do and she came over to ask me for a dance.

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“It was obvious that there was a bit of an age difference — Claire was 35, I was 52 — and when I saw someone taking a picture of us I panicked.”

However, after spending more time with Claire, Les eventually fell for her, much to his surprise.

He recalled: “Although Claire and I went on several dates, I couldn’t bring myself to commit. I convinced myself it wasn’t going to work.

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“Then, after about four months, we were planning our first Christmas together and, out of nowhere, I found myself saying, “I love you.” The L word! Where did that come from?”

Despite his initial worries, Les went on to find happiness with his Claire, whom he married in 2009, before the couple welcomed two children together.

Les admitted that his serious feelings for Claire left him taken aback at the time, as he still “felt damaged” from his split from Amanda.

Les’ ill-fated marriage with the Britain’s Got Talent judge ended seven years after they got married in 1995, when Amanda had an affair, leaving Les devastated.

The actors split in 2000, while Amanda got close to her Happy Birthday Shakespeare co-star Neil Morrissey, who apologised for their affair in 2014.

Heart FM presenter Amanda, who later remarried with second husband Chris Hughes, admitted the period following her affair was a “very dark time”.

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