JACQUELINE Jossa is the first to admit that not everything in her four-year marriage has been plain sailing.
Persistent rumours around husband Dan Osborne’s behaviour, as well as reports of at least two break-ups, have led to unwanted speculation about their relationship and calls for Jacqueline to walk away.
However, she’s adamant she doesn’t have to justify any of her decisions when it comes to her marriage.
“I used to think I had to explain everything. I felt embarrassed and I’d think: ‘We need to prove this. We need to admit that. We need to do this.’
“What I’ve realised is, no we don’t! We need to have a conversation privately and now I couldn’t give a f**k about what anyone else thinks. And that’s refreshing.”
She adds: “No one knows what goes on in a relationship. They still don’t know and I’m not going to tell them.”
Jacqueline, 28, met Dan, 30, in 2013. They had their first child, Ella, now six, in 2015 and tied the knot two years later in a glitzy celeb-studded ceremony at a Cheshire manor. But just 10 months into married life (and only weeks before Jacqueline was due to give birth to their second child, Mia, now three) they separated over rumours
Dan had cheated with Love Islander Gabby Allen in Marbella that April. While Gabby’s ex-boyfriend Marcel Somerville confirmed he believed she had been unfaithful, both Gabby and Dan denied the claims.
Although Jacqueline and Dan eventually worked through their problems, more cheating rumours emerged in December 2019, this time with Love Island’s Alexandra Cane – which he was quick to deny… before admitting on Instagram that over the years he’d done “things that [he] shouldn’t have done” and that he was “sorry for the mistakes which could have ruined his marriage.”
There was more trouble to come, though, and last April Jacqueline quit the family home during lockdown, taking the girls to a house her parents owned, saying she “needed time” and “breathing space”.
Since she returned that June, everything appears to be much more settled. The family recently moved into and renovated their £1.2million dream home.
Jacqueline, who is also stepmum to Teddy, seven, from Dan’s previous relationship with Megan Tomlin, says while she understands that life in the public eye will mean she’s the subject of gossip, it’s not always been easy to hear.
“I think when it was in the heat of it all and there was a lot of drama going on inside the house and a lot of problems, I found it really difficult to hear opinions. I would be out and random drunk girls in the toilets would tell me their opinions!
“But I understand it. When you’re in the public eye it’s just what it is. People are going to have an opinion. If I read something about Kylie Jenner and her boyfriend, I’ll have an opinion on it. Would I DM her? Probably not.”
She says their relationship currently is “so good” and they are happier than ever, having moved into their forever home in Essex. The house, which now has its own Instagram account, spans three floors and has six bedrooms, five en-suites, a cinema room and a bar.
She says: “I walk into the house and still go: ‘Oh my god, this is mine. This is so sick.’ I’m obsessed with decor and soft furnishings now. We’ve got a cinema room and Ella said to me: ‘We don’t have to go to the cinema now. We’ve got one in our house.’
“I thought: ‘Please don’t say that to other people.’ It’s not like Justin Bieber’s cinema room. It’s just a room with a couple of chairs and a screen. But to them it’s the most amazing room in the house.”
Making time for each other
Getting their marriage back on track involves making time for each other away from the kids, and Jacqueline says she fancies Dan more than ever.
“Me and Daniel still do date nights, or when the kids are in bed we watch a film. You’ve got to make time when you can. He’s fit. What can I say? He’s a very handsome man. I had him out scooping s**t out of the grass the other day and I was watching him doing it, thinking: ‘Yeah, this is good.’”
Dan, who found fame on TOWIE before going on to appear on Celebrity Big Brother in 2018, is known for his impressive physique and topless selfies, and his body is definitely something Jacqueline enjoys.
“I love it. People are like: ‘Do you hate that he’s so fit?’ I’m like: ‘No, why would I hate that?’ That would be weird. I don’t get jealous.
“He’s lovely. He’s very complimentary. He’s always been like that and he always says the right things. He doesn’t care whether I’ve got an eight-pack. If I say: ‘Right, I need to go to the gym. I need to do this,’ he says if I want to I should and that’s as far as it goes. He hates it when I’ve gone on strict diets. He’s like: ‘Babe, come on, don’t kill yourself over it.’ He makes me feel so confident all the time.”
He’s a very handsome man. I had him out scooping s**t out of the grass the other day and I was watching him doing it, thinking: ‘Yeah, this is good.’
She laughs at the whispers that she and Dan are planning their own reality TV show. The idea they would allow cameras into their home to capture their every moment has left her in hysterics, mainly because she reckons they’re simply not interesting enough.
“Daniel would rather die than do [another] reality show. We wouldn’t have time and also we’re actually quite boring. When we’re not working, we just sit and watch telly all night. It’s really not exciting, unless people want another version of Gogglebox, because that’s what our reality show would be!”
There may not be a Keeping Up With The Osbornes any time soon, but Jacqueline certainly has designs on a Kardashian-style business empire. She has her sell-out clothing collections with In The Style as well as her range of BPerfect fake tan, her own drama school and an upcoming skincare line, plus she’s just been named the face of jewellery brand Hot Diamonds. And she has an “in” with America’s most famous family, after she and Caitlyn Jenner formed a bond on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! in 2019.
“I’m like the chavvy East End version of Kylie Jenner,” she laughs. “I sent Caitlyn DMs but it’s really s**t because I had planned to go to LA to see her, then the pandemic hit. I’ve never been to LA, but when we can go, I’ll fly over and drop her a text to meet up. Definitely.”
Gaining body confidence
It’s not just problems in her relationship that Jacqueline has managed to overcome. She’s also managed to achieve the sort of body confidence that, a few years ago, she didn’t think was possible. Since she started in EastEnders as Lauren Branning 10 years ago, she’s fluctuated between a size 8 and 14, but having two daughters has resulted in her making a conscious decision to stop punishing herself for the parts of her body she doesn’t like – helped along by her alter ego.
“I feel like I’m a bad bitch. I was a camp, gay drag queen in my previous life. And I channel that person when I’m feeling down. I’ve always had my alter ego.”
We see this on the Fabulous shoot. During our chat she’s fresh-faced, no make-up, hair pulled back and wearing a dressing gown. She looks much younger than her years. But once she gets her make-up on and her hair blow-dried, she transforms. It’s like a different person.
She’s confident, dancing to Beyoncé, strutting around in skyscraper heels and posing for selfies with her glam squad.
She comes across as someone who knows what she wants and how to get it.
“Of course I have bad days and I’ll say to myself: ‘Seriously, you can’t still call it a mum tum, hun, when your baby is three. Sort it out.’ But it’s usually while I’m eating a chocolate croissant! So I weigh it up and think, am I gonna eat lettuce leaves for the foreseeable future and allow my kids to watch me eat nothing and be really miserable and snappy with them? Or am I going to try and have a balance?
I never say bad things about myself in front of my kids. That was the turning point – my kids.
“I never say bad things about myself in front of my kids. That was the turning point – my kids. I looked at baby pictures of myself and I got really sad because I was a very cute child. I couldn’t believe that baby grew up and was saying really horrible things to herself. When I had Ella, I thought I don’t want her ever to look in the mirror and go: ‘Urgh I can’t wear that because of my belly.’ So I had to change.”
Knowing the example she is setting to her daughters has helped her reject big-money deals to lose weight for a fitness DVD. And staying true to herself has also helped her clock up an impressive 3.2m Instagram fans.
She reveals: “A company asked me to lose 3st in two months. And I thought it would be wonderful, amazing. Obviously, who doesn’t want to lose 3st?
“But I’ll be a f**king bitch and I’ll put it back on. Also I’m not going to tell my followers, who I’ve built up this trust with, that it works if I’m doing it in a way that isn’t fair or honest. I don’t want to push an unhealthy lifestyle. It’s all about balance.”
Becoming a clothing influencer
This honest relationship with her followers, as well as the acceptance of her body, is what’s made Jacqueline one of In The Style’s most successful celebrity ambassadors – she’s done 15 “drops” or releases of her various collections and each one sells out instantly.
“It’s crazy. I think people like that In The Style uses so many different body types in their campaigns, from size-8 models to me. I am really open and honest and I’ll talk about my hang-ups and what I don’t enjoy. I’ll wear clothes that I feel comfortable and confident in. My DMs are flooded with people being so horrible about how they look. It’s really sad how inundated I am on Instagram with girls telling me how much they hate themselves.
“I really hope they see a real person like me wearing the clothes and go: ‘She’s wearing size-14 jeans and they look so good on her!’ I urge people to try things because I’ve put on figure-hugging outfits thinking I could never wear them, then I realise: ‘S**t, this actually really suits me.’ Sometimes if you try to hide your body too much, it makes you look bigger.”
Entering I’m A Celebrity! in Australia also had a big impact on how Jacqueline felt about herself. She beat Corrie’s Andy Whyment and Capital Radio’s Roman Kemp to be crowned Queen of the Jungle.
Reflecting on the experience two years on, she says: “I’m braver. I would get scared of doing things before, but after pushing myself so far out of my comfort zone now I’ll say: ‘I should definitely do it.’ I’ve always believed in myself, but I think I lost it a little bit along the way. And you can get really consumed by everything – opinions, social media and all of that. That’s what the jungle was so good for – to have a month away from everything to just think.”
I’m braver. I would get scared of doing things before, but after pushing myself so far out of my comfort zone now I’ll say: ‘I should definitely do it.’
She giggles nervously and looks at her manager for guidance when asked about rumours she’s been approached by soap bosses to return to EastEnders, where she won Best Newcomer at the 2012 NTAs.
“I don’t know. Maybe one day. Never ever would I say: ‘Oh, I wouldn’t go back there.’ You’d be a d**k to say you’d never go back. I mean, it’s EastEnders. No one could say a bad word about that show.
“When I look back on EastEnders, it’s just pure happiness. It was my first-ever job and the best job. I felt really lucky and I’m still obsessed with it and try to keep up with what’s going on.”
However, not being on EastEnders has proved helpful when it comes to her latest collaboration with Hot Diamonds.
“When I was younger, I used to wear a lot of jewellery and it was my way of expressing myself,” she explains. “When I was in EastEnders, you weren’t allowed to wear jewellery, for continuity. I was filming so much that it was too much agg having to take it all off, so I went for eight years not wearing jewellery. So now it is actually really nice to make an effort.
“Wearing jewellery makes me feel better. It really does. A little bit goes a long way. I think this [collaboration] is the edgiest thing I’ve done. It was the last piece of the puzzle – I’ve got the clothing range, the tanning range and now the jewellery. I have everything I need.
I don’t even need to go shopping now.” Watch out Kylie Jenner!
Hot Diamonds X Jac Jossa is available at Hotdiamonds.co.uk.
In the make-up chair with Jacqueline
Do you have a skincare hero?
I like oil. I go to bed smothered in face oil. It’s my own brand I’m bringing out.
What’s your beauty bag essential?
BPerfect Hydro Glo Facial Tanning Mist. Game-changer!
Best budget buy?
I go to Superdrug for my little bits. It’s all the same stuff like liquid eyeliner. I like Primark’s beauty range, too.
What do you splurge on?
Charlotte Tilbury foundation, and I really like the mascara as well.
What’s your top beauty tip?
A lash, a lip and a bronzer goes a long way.
Who’s your beauty icon?
Kylie Jenner is amazing.
How has your look evolved?
I used to do black heavy eyeshadow. It was terrible! I also put foundation on my lips – it was a trend at school. We didn’t even put lipstick over it. And my foundation was too orange!