Denise van Outen

Denise van Outen

van Outen filming on Waterloo Bridge
Born Denise Kathleen Outen
(1974-05-27) 27 May 1974
Basildon, Essex, England
Nationality British
  • Actress
  • singer
  • dancer
  • presenter
Years active 1986–present
Height 5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)
Television The Big Breakfast
Babes in the Wood
Any Dream Will Do!
Who Dares, Sings!
Born to Shine
Strictly Come Dancing
Spouse(s) Lee Mead (m. 2009–13)
Children 1

Denise van Outen (born Denise Kathleen Outen on 27 May 1974) is an English actress, singer, dancer and presenter. She is best known for presenting The Big Breakfast, for playing Roxie Hart in the musical Chicago both in the West End and on Broadway and for finishing as runner-up in the tenth series of the BBC One dancing show Strictly Come Dancing.

Early life

Born Denise Kathleen Outen in Basildon, Essex, she is the youngest of Ted and Kathleen Outen's three children and was brought up a Catholic.[1] She has a brother Terry and sister Jackie.[2][3] At the age of seven, she began modelling for knitting patterns,[2] and showed an early flair for performing. This resulted in her attending the Sylvia Young Theatre School. In 1986, at the age of 12,[1] she played Éponine in Les Misérables alongside fellow Sylvia Young student Melanie Blatt[4] (the role paid her school fees[5]), the Anthony Newley directed production of Stop the World - I Want to Get Off, and A Midsummer Night's Dream with the Royal Shakespeare Company.[2]

Early career

As a teenager she had brief roles on a number of television dramas including Kappatoo[6] and The Bill.[7] She also sang with Cathy Warwick in "girl group" Those2Girls, by which time she had become Denise van Outen. She also did backing vocals with Melanie Blatt for the band Dreadzone.[4] Van Outen was voted Rear of the Year in 1999, and was top of a poll to find the most desired "bikini body" in a 2007 poll of readers of Grazia magazine.[8]

Acting career

Among her earliest roles was that of Dorothy in a little-seen version of The Wizard of Oz set in the present day made for British Channel Five in 1995. During her first stint on the Big Breakfast show, she appeared as Jill in ITV1's version of the pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk[9] alongside Julie Walters and Neil Morrissey. Wanting to further develop her acting career, she left The Big Breakfast at the end of 1998. In 1999, she appeared on several episodes of The Bill and The Young Person's Guide To Becoming A Rock Star, the BBC's Murder in Mind short series of crime dramas,[10] and on 2 series of Babes in the Wood with Karl Howman and Samantha Janus.[9]

Van Outen has also appeared in film, initially as Maureen in the crime comedy Love, Honour and Obey. In the anthology film Tube Tales, set on the London Underground, she played the lead character of Alex in the "Horny" segment, directed by Stephen Hopkins.[11] Van Outen has played a small role in the romantic comedy Are You Ready For Love?

She first played Roxie Hart on the stage in the hit musical Chicago at the Adelphi Theatre in the West End in April 2001.[12] Her run proved a hit with theatre-goers, selling out for the entire 20 weeks. Unknown in the United States, she reprised her role on Broadway in the spring of 2002, before returning to the show's London version in late April 2002.[13] Late the same year, Van Outen appeared as one of many special guest stars in a performance of The Play What I Wrote once again in London's West End.

In 2003, she returned to the London stage at the Gielgud Theatre in Andrew Lloyd Webber's one-woman show Tell Me on a Sunday,[14][15] which he reworked for her. She was a huge success and the show ran for nearly a year.[16] She then joined the cast of the established ITV sentimental drama Where the Heart Is as one of the lead characters, playing single mother Kim Blakeney, continuing for two series.[17]

Van Outen played Maureen in the 2007 London revival of Rent Remixed directed by William Baker until 22 December.[18] She was forced to cancel some performances owing to a throat infection.[19] In July 2009, van Outen played Mary in Hotel Babylon for the BBC. Her character was at the hotel for a science convention.[20] In August 2009, van Outen made her Edinburgh Festival Fringe debut[21] in Blondes,[22] a show by Jackie Clune.

Van Outen took over the role of Paulette Bonafonté from Jill Halfpenny in the West End production of Legally Blonde on 25 October 2010.[23] She continued in the role for 6 months. In 2012, Van Outen was cast in the film of the Ray Cooney farce Run for Your Wife alongside Danny Dyer, Sarah Harding and Neil Morrissey.[24] In 2013 she co-wrote the one-woman musical play Some Girl I Used To Know with Terry Ronald,[25] which she will tour in from January 2014.[26]

In February 2015, it was announced that Van Outen would be joining the cast of EastEnders.[27] Van Outen plays intelligent businesswoman Karin Smart who gets involved with Max Branning (Jake Wood), and has business history with Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden). In August 2015 Van Outen performs the title role in a concert performance of the musical Sweet Charity at Cadogan Hall,[28] with actor/singer Michael Xavier, ex-Girls Aloud band member Kimberley Walsh and West End star Kerry Ellis.


On 4 February 2008 van Outen reunited with Vaughan as co-host of Capital Breakfast on Capital Radio.[29] On 29 July 2008 she quit the show, halfway through her contract, because of TV commitments and the early mornings.[30] However, in April 2011 van Outen said that she left the show because relations between her and Vaughan had soured. She claims Vaughan has not spoken to her since.[31] In spring 2013, van Outen started presenting her own Saturday afternoon radio show on London's Magic 105.4, airing between 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm.


Van Outen has designed two collections thus far for the website, Very, part of the Shop Direct Group. The first collection was a maternity range launched in March 2010 and the second an autumn/winter collection.[32]


Year Title Role
1995–96 Massive! Presenter
1997–98, 2000–01 The Big Breakfast Presenter
1998–99 Babes in the Wood Leigh Jackson
1999 Something for the Weekend Presenter
2001 Prickly Heat Presenter
2004 Passport to Paradise Presenter
2005 This Morning Guest presenter
2006 The National Lottery: Christmas Special Presenter
2007 Any Dream Will Do! Regular judge
Grease: You're the One that I Want! Presenter
The Friday Night Project Guest presenter
2008 Backstage at the Brits Presenter
Who Dares, Sings! Co-presenter
Hairspray: The School Musical Presenter
2010 The 5 O'Clock Show Guest presenter
2010, 2012 Lorraine Guest presenter
2010– The Only Way Is Essex Narrator
2011 Born to Shine Regular judge
2012 Strictly Come Dancing Runner Up
2013 Sunday Brunch Guest presenter
2015 EastEnders Karin Smart

Guest appearances

Strictly Come Dancing

In September 2012, van Outen was announced as one of the celebrities competing on the tenth series of Strictly Come Dancing. She partnered with professional dancer James Jordan. The couple secured top of the leaderboard seven times. However, controversy arose when viewers criticised her participation in the competition because of the advantage of having had previous stage experience.[33] On 20 December 2012, van Outen and Jordan finished as the runners-up alongside Kimberley Walsh & Pasha Kovalev, behind Louis Smith and Flavia Cacace.[34]

Strictly Come Dancing performances
Week # Dance/Song Judges' scores Result
Revel Horwood Bussell Goodman Tonioli
1 Waltz / "With You I'm Born Again" 6 6 6 7 Safe
2 Jive / "Tutti Frutti" 8 8 8 8 Safe
3 Foxtrot / "You've Got a Friend in Me" 8 8 8 8 Safe
4 Cha-Cha-Cha / "Super Freak" 7 7 7 7 Safe
5 Viennese Waltz / "At Last" 9 8 9 9 Safe
6 Paso Doble / "Seven Nation Army" 9 9 9 9 Safe
7 Charleston / "Walk Like an Egyptian" 9 10 10 10 Safe
8 American Smooth / "Imagine" 9 9 9 10 Safe
9 Salsa / "Rhythm of the Night" 8 8 8 8 Safe
10 Jive & Quickstep Fusion / "Reet Petite" 8 9 9 9 Bottom two
11 Tango / "Roxanne"
Rumba / "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face"
Bottom two
12 Jive / "Tutti Frutti"
Showdance / "What a Feeling"
Charleston / "Walk Like an Egyptian"


Year Title Role Notes
1998 Jack and the Beanstalk Jill Televised pantomime
1999 Tube Tales Alex in segment "Horny"
2000 Love, Honour and Obey Maureen
2007 Are You Ready for Love? Rita
2012 Run for Your Wife Michelle Smith

Other work

On 29 June 2010, whilst co-hosting The 5 O'Clock Show on Channel 4, Denise broke the Guinness World Record for eating 250g of jelly in 60 seconds with a blindfold on.[35]


All singles, unless otherwise stated:

Personal life

From 1998 to 2001, she dated Jamiroquai lead singer Jay Kay. Engaged,[36] they split up in 2001. His album A Funk Odyssey is mostly about their break-up, with the song "Little L" expressing his fight against cocaine addiction during that period.[37] From 2003, she dated "Brown's" club owner Richard Traviss, but split up with him in May 2005.[5][16] In 2007, she dated fellow ex-Sylvia Young Theatre School student James Lance for a few weeks.[38]

In November 2007, she began dating Any Dream Will Do winner, Lee Mead.[39] The couple announced their engagement on 29 January 2009,[40] and married in the Seychelles in April 2009.[41] Their daughter was born on 1 May 2010,[42] with one official photo released to publications in exchange for donations to The Louis Dundas Centre at Great Ormond Street Hospital.[43] In July 2013 the couple had split up.[44]


Van Outen actively supports Breast Cancer Care[45][46] and Great Ormond Street Hospital.[43]

In 2009 she climbed Mt Kilimanjaro for Comic Relief, and in 2013 took part in a trek across the Great Wall of China for the Royal Marsden Hospital.[47]


  1. 1 2 Frances Hardy (30 August 2008). "It was either quit my job or lose my man, says Denise Van Outen as she quits radio show". Daily Mail. London. Retrieved 2 November 2010.
  2. 1 2 3 A blonde has more fun The Observer – 25 March 2001
  3. "TV Guide biography". 27 May 1974. Retrieved 2 November 2010.
  4. 1 2 Biography All Saints A to Z. Retrieved 2 January 2006.
  5. 1 2 Denise van Outen: Why heartbreak only makes her stronger Sunday Mirror – 6 February 2005
  6. Anita Dobson and Denise Douglas – Retrieved 11 August 2007
  7. "Stars who got a break on The Bill". The Guardian. UK: Guardian Media Group. 26 March 2010. Retrieved 31 August 2010.
  8. MyVillage – various, from 2007
  9. 1 2 CV at agents PfDRetrieved 11 August 2007
  10. "Drama – Murder in Mind". BBC. Retrieved 2 November 2010.
  11. "Van Outen's career goes down the Tube" BBC News – 3 December 1998
  12. "Van Outen lights up Chicago" BBC News – 18 April 2001
  13. Ovation for returning Van Outen BBC News – 30 April 2002
  14. Cast List – "Tell Me On a Sunday – retrieved 11 August 2007
  15. The Basildon princess and the King of easy melody – united at last in a West End musical – BBCNews, 2003
  16. 1 2 Denise Van Outen -'I'm getting old and kids think I'm..." Sunday Mirror, 30 November 2003
  17. Van Outen joins Where the Heart Is, 2005 – Retrieved 11 August 2007
  18. "Rent – Denise Van Outen Takes on Maureen" IndieLondon 2007
  19. Denise Van Outen gives costar laryngitis after lesbian kiss Now Magazine, 2007
  20. Mueller, Andrew (24 July 2009). "Watch this". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
  21. "Denise's laugh at blondes | The Sun |Showbiz|TV". London: The Sun. 9 June 2009. Retrieved 2 November 2010.
  22. "Blondes | Edinburgh Festival Guide". Retrieved 2 November 2010.
  23. "Denise Van Outen, Siobhan Dillon and Carley Stenson to Join West End's Legally Blonde". Playbill. 27 August 2010. Retrieved 2 November 2010.
  24. "Run For Your Wife". Run For Your Wife. Retrieved 31 December 2011.
  25. What's On Stage,
  26. "Some Girl I Used to Know". Some Girl (2013) Ltd. Retrieved 25 November 2013.
  27. Daniel Kilkelly (2 February 2015). "EastEnders: Denise Van Outen signs up for guest role". Digital Spy. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  28. "Sweet Charity in concert starring Denise Van Outen". Cadogan Hall. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  29. "Denise van Outen to become Capital Radio Breakfast Co-host". BBC News. 10 January 2008. Retrieved 12 January 2008.
  30. "Van Outen quits Capital Radio a half-year early". Brand Republic. 29 July 2008. Retrieved 29 July 2008.
  31. "Denise Reveals Johnny Rift". Sky Living Online. 8 April 2011. Retrieved 8 April 2011.
  32. Berwin, Lisa (12 February 2010). "Very launches maternity range with Denise van Outen | News". Retail Week. Retrieved 2 November 2010.
  33. "Strictly Come Dancing 2012: Denise Van Outen: 'The hate has been hard' | Strictly Come Dancing 2013". Telly Mix. 22 December 2012. Retrieved 7 February 2013.
  34. Press Association (23 December 2012). "Strictly Come Dancing final watched by 14 million | Television & radio |". London: Guardian. Retrieved 7 February 2013.
  35. "Denise Van Outen is a record breaker as she guzzles 250g of jelly in 60 seconds". Daily Mail. London. 30 June 2010.
  36. Jay Kay: 'I will marry Denise' BBC News – 19 November 1999
  37. Retrieved 11 August 2007.
  38. "Denise dumps first-kiss guy". Sunday Mirror. Retrieved 2 November 2010.
  39. Sara Nathan (12 January 2008). "My dreamboat in a dreamcoat". London: The Sun. Retrieved 12 January 2008.
  40. Nathan, Sara (29 January 2009). "Denise to wed Joseph idol Lee". The Sun. London.
  41. Gallagher, Ian; Boffey, Daniel (29 April 2009). "Wedding". Daily Mail. London.
  42. "Denise unveils baby Betsy". London: The Sun. Retrieved 6 May 2010.
  43. 1 2 Nathan, Sara (6 May 2010). "Proud parents Denise Van Outen and Lee Mead introduce baby Betsy to the world". Daily Mail. London.
  44. Fitzmaurice, Sarah; Saunders, Louise (28 July 2013). "Denise Van Outen and Lee Mead confirm their split after four years of marriage". London: Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  45. "". 30 September 2010. Retrieved 2 November 2010.
  46. "Virgin Money Giving | Fundraising | Denise & Fearne's Trek for Breast Cancer". 24 September 2010. Retrieved 2 November 2010.
  47. "Christine Edwards is fundraising for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity". Retrieved 31 January 2016.

External links

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