“Why do people have to have a wedding like Grace Kelly’s It doesn”t guarantee you a good marriage,” says Myleene Klass
“It was one of the most amazing days of my life,’ says my manicurist with a bright smile as she takes an emery board to my nails. ‘My job is to wear pretty, big, puffy dresses every day and have my hair and make-up done. So, I wanted the wedding to be the antithesis of that. I wanted it to be the complete polar opposite of what my working day is like. I just couldn’t think of anything worse than, “The car is coming at this time, your hair and make-up are at this time and you have to eat the steak and sit in this chair.” It would have been awful.’
Her animated chat about her recent nuptials is the kind of conversation you’d hear in any salon across the country – but this is a beauty treatment with a difference. Firstly, because I am a bloke who has never had his nails done before. Secondly, because my beauty therapist is Myleene Klass – the classical musician turned pop star whose stint on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here led to a successful career as a TV presenter.
And, thirdly, because the wedding in question, to Dubliner Graham Quinn, was a secret, family-only event that was only revealed after the Big Day, rather than the usual celebrity 500-guests-and-a-magazine-deal affair.
Chatty: Myleene Klass seems unchanged from when she rose to fame
Today, we’re in a Dublin hotel room where Myleene is launching her new range of ‘nail wraps’, coloured, printed stickers that you affix to your nails.
She talks a mile a minute, laughs like a drain and looks just as bright and fresh and unlined as she did when she first popped onto our TV screens around the turn of the century. I blanch a little when she pulls out a sheet of leopard-print stickers.
‘I can’t really choose the most masculine – I think you are just going to have to run with it,’ she says, expertly applying them to my shamefully chewed fingers. She whips away the excess sticker with a nail file and, a few seconds, later I have nails that any schoolgirl would be proud of. There are 20 stickers in each packet but, thankfully, she doesn’t suggest doing my toes, too.
I must be smiling, though, because Myleene remarks: ‘You look very happy with your new nails.’
Is Myleene a nail salon addict I wonder ‘No! For me to go to get my nails done is not a treat. It is actually a hassle because I have a baby. But this I can do in three or four minutes. And times being what they are, this is not the time to be splurging on new Christmas outfits.’
Simple: Myleene”s wedding to Graham Quinn was a well-guarded secret
But surely Myleene has no money worries She must have made a fortune from Hear’Say, the band in which she won a place through reality television contest Popstars. She laughs uproariously but without bitterness at my absurd suggestion. ‘When the royalties arrive for Pure & Simple it makes me want to cry. The stamp to send it costs more than what is within it. I am not joking – it is pennies. In fact, 11p was the last payment I got.’
Eleven pence for Pure & Simple, the fastest selling non-charity single of all time ‘Maybe it was not even just for Pure & Simple. I have a feeling it could be for the whole album. But look, I am not going to split hairs. It was 11p.’
Does she feel she was badly treated or nave when she was in Hear’Say ‘No. I got the best apprenticeship of my life. I had the best laugh. I travelled around the world with my mates.’
The best bonus of all though was that she got to meet the love of her life, Graham Quinn, who was a security guard for Hear’Say. The two married in October, in a top secret, low-key ceremony attended by just 16 of their close family and friends.
‘Nobody knew about it until literally the last moment. It was on a “need to know” basis,’ Myleene says.
‘That was not out of not trusting people, it was just because I didn’t want to put the pressure on anyone else. Sixteen guests was perfect. My cousin was the photographer. I didn’t want a professional photographer, I didn’t want to have to stand there and get in lines and, “Can we have the mother and can we have the father and can we…” It was just very, very relaxed.
‘I have never understood why people put so much pressure on themselves for the wedding, worrying about the wrong colour taffeta and the bow being the wrong shape on the back of the dress. I was – I am – a harpist and my Saturday job as a kid was three weddings a day. I was the organist, too, so I would go from the organ to playing at the reception. I have seen enough weddings to last a lifetime. Some people want bells, whistles, doves and butterflies and that’s wonderful – it just wasn’t for us.
‘I think there is enough pressure on people’s lives and I didn’t want the pressure to be on the wedding day. We just wanted to get on with the actual marriage. So, that is what we did.’
Manicure: Myleene has launched a series of stick-on nail decorations
Did they get grief from anyone who wasn’t invited
‘There were a few,’ says Myleene.
Did the gossip magazines come knocking for photos
‘As for selling it and all that malarkey, I don’t understand all of that. I love the excuses people give for selling their weddings. “People are going to get the photos anyway.” Well, they didn’t. “If you are going to pay all that money out, you might as well get someone to pay it for you.” That actually makes it work and I don’t want to work on my wedding day.
‘And why do something beyond your means Why do you have to have the wedding that Grace Kelly had That doesn’t constitute a successful marriage or a good day. That actually just means that you have thrown yourself into hideous debt for 200 prawn cocktails that nobody wanted. Why don’t you just have your wedding’
Maybe it’s different for her because she is always at the centre of attention. Isn’t it fun for ‘normal people’ to feel like stars once in our lifetime
‘If that is what you want for your day, then knock yourself out. Go for it. But control it, don’t let it control you. That is all I am saying. Because what happens is, tears on the day, dramas and then, afterwards, the wedding blues because you have been planning it since you were five.
‘But I am the least romantic person in the world. I have no interest in all that stuff. When Graham came home with flowers on Valentine’s Day, I was like, “Gray, don’t get fleeced at Valentine’s! I know you love me, just write me a card.” I would rather someone show me they love me by the way they actually live their life every day than have these huge gestures of nothing and have someone cheating behind my back.’
Myleene has certainly shown her love for Quinn with more than empty gestures. Early in their relationship, the pair separated briefly when it emerged that Quinn was on the run from garda. He had been caught in Dublin in 1996 carrying over 1,000 worth of heroin. But he jumped bail, fled to London and changed his name from Smith to Quinn, reinventing himself as a celebrity bodyguard.
He was still on Interpol’s most-wanted list when he met Myleene. In 2003, the police in Britain were alerted to his new identity and he decided to turn himself in. Myleene was back at his side in court in Dublin when he received an 18-month suspended sentence, and has been there ever since.
Today, the couple have two daughters – four-year-old Ava and eight-month-old Hero Harper. Quinn, whose sister, Lisa, is married to Boyzone star Keith Duffy, is a security specialist for celebrities. He is also a patron of the charity Drugsline, through which he educates schoolchildren about the danger of drugs.
After a decade together, how do they keep their relationship fun and fresh
‘He doesn’t try to change me and I don’t try to change him,’ Myleene says. ‘We don’t see everything as a race to be perfect. There is so much pressure on everything to be perfect. But if you are too busy concentrating on how things should be, you are missing the fun of how things are.
‘We are not very complicated. Friday nights it is a curry and a movie, like half the nation. I am so happy when it is like that. That is my idea of perfect.’
When Myleene emerged from I’m A Celebrity… she famously said that the thing that was worse than all the bush tucker trials and creepy crawlies was not being able to have sex for three weeks. She looks like she is about to clock me.
‘Famously I didn’t even blooming say it!’ she shouts at me. ‘Do you really believe I came out and said that’
Er, gosh… sorry… no, of course, not. So, how does she feel about her time in the jungle now
‘I actually couldn’t go into the jungle now because I have two children. I would be tearing my hair out and they would be living on turkey twizzlers. It came to me at a time in my life when I had lost everything. Hear’Say was finished. My classical album had come and gone. And that turned out to be the best thing because I had nothing to promote and I could just be me. People can say whatever they want about reality TV but I can never condemn it. Popstars was my birth and Celebrity was my re-birth.’
I catch sight of an unusual looking ring on her finger. Her wedding ring ‘Yes. It’s my engagement ring and an eternity ring that he bought me combined. I melted it all down to make one ring.’
It looks fabulous. Almost as fabulous, three days later, as my nails still do.