Vanessa Feltz – ‘I’ve had a few famous men slide into my DMs’
Vanessa Feltz is truly like a phoenix who has risen from the ashes. Last year, the 61-year-old faced immense heartache when it emerged her fiancé of 16 years, Ben Ofoedu, had cheated on her, and she was left feeling “betrayed and panic stricken”.
Vanessa first locked eyes with musician Ben, 51, over a chocolate fountain at the OK!Christmas party in 2005, no less, and their whirlwind romance saw them get engaged after just one year of dating.
The pair had originally planned to tie the knot the following year but never made it down the aisle, with Vanessa admitting her divorce from her ex-husband Michael in 2000 made her “wary” of marrying again.
But, despite a lengthy engagement, sadly things were not meant to be and Vanessa found herself navigating a very public break up.
She shared a video message for her fans, saying, “Well I haven’t been on Instagram for three weeks and that’s because my relationship with Ben is over after 16 years.
“I honestly didn’t know what to say on Instagram but now it’s clear it’s over and I really do feel that once the trust in a relationship is gone, you can’t really get it back.
“And so I just wanted to say that obviously I feel incredibly sad and I’m pretty disappointed and shocked and all those horrible things but also full of resolve. I am not going to let this defeat me.”
Fast forward eight months and Vanessa has stuck to her word. While nobody would have blamed her for burying her head in the sand, she has dusted herself off and is certainly ending 2023 on a high note – putting the past firmly behind her.
In fact, love with a new flame might even be on the cards. “I’ve had a few famous men slide into my DMs,” she exclusively told OK! when we asked about her current dating life.
There were previous whispers of a fling with a close-by neighbour – but Vanessa denies that completely. Although she does laugh and admit she wishes “the rumours were true”, it’s only natural that we quiz her on who these new mystery men might be.
That information, however, she refuses to let slip and is keeping her cards close to her chest.
“It’s no one I’ve worked with,” she hints. “But there is one I wouldn’t mind seeing. He’s messaged me on Instagram and I’ve replied, so we’ll see how it goes.”
Although she might not have reached a point of forgiveness yet (she tells us it’s something she’s “working on”), Vanessa has put the past firmly behind her.
In fact, if anyone was under the impression that the mum-of-two was sitting home alone with her sorrows, the TalkTV host is here to set the record straight.
“’I’m not going to let this defeat me,” the grandmother previously said. “But it’s not easy to pick yourself up and carry on.”
Something she does credit her strength and resilience to is keeping busy, and the star candidly admitted she has been out on the town “every single night without fail”. “It’s about being productive,” she laughs.
And building her confidence back up when it comes to the world of dating is a challenge that Vanessa welcomes with open arms – and even signed herself up to Celebs Go Dating earlier this year.
Vanessa has already told us about her checklist for her dream man, so dating experts Anna Williamson, Paul C Brunson and newcomer Dr Tara Suwinyattichaiporn certainly had a challenge on their hands.
“They’d have to be kind and honest – those would be the primary requirements,” she said. “Gentle, kind, good-humoured, good natured, honest and transparent.
“Obviously, I’m still up for incredibly handsome, enormously entertaining, very clever, dynamic – all that razzly-dazzly stuff I still want and like. I’m like anyone else; you’ve got to fancy the person, there’s got to be some chemistry, of course. But the absolute optimum thing would be kindness and honesty.”
But despite tricky terms and conditions, the star, who had a dramatic change of heart towards embracing dating throughout the series, credited the show for not only restoring her confidence, but faith in love.
“I have been, I think it’s on public record, a rotten picker. I haven’t been good at picking, I really haven’t,” she said about her previous choice of men for dates. But I’ve learned not to be as scared of it as I was at the beginning.”
She added, “I would say though, that dating at any age is difficult, and dating in front of about 12 cameras is really difficult.”
However, while Vanessa did enjoy her reality TV stint, fans shouldn’t expect her on screens any time soon.
“The show also taught me not to do any more reality TV,” the star laughed. “If I was thinking of going into the jungle – definitely not now!”
Instead, the TV personality is fully embracing single life and throwing herself into more challenges than ever before. “You’ve got to do something,” she shrugged when we asked what her plans are.
“I don’t want to sit around the house looking at the wallpaper, do I?”
Plus, she’s got her adorable new granddaughter to keep her busy – Cecily – as well as grandchildren Zeke, Neroli and Amiel.
Vanessa exclusively introduced the now one-year-old to OK! in a beautiful family photoshoot earlier this year, just following her split from Ben. And it’s no secret that having her nearest and dearest close by has been a huge comfort to Vanessa.
“We are a very close family and they definitely do form a network around me,” she said.
And as she’s set to end the year in a position she would never have seen coming at the beginning, it’s time for Vanessa to put herself first – finally.
“I don’t feel like I’m going through the motions of life now. I’m able to properly enjoy it rather than pretend to.”
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