Denise Van Outen‘s new boyfriend Jimmy Barba was once an Italian reality star who sent flirty messages to the likes of Cheryl and Laura Woods, MailOnline can reveal. 

The singer, 48, went public with her new man Jimmy, 55, this week when they attended the Grand Prix Ball – five months after she split from her cheating ex Eddie Boxshall.  

Denise has enjoyed a long life in the spotlight, starring on various shows and demonstrating her vocal talents on the West End, and it’s now been revealed that her new partner has forged a similar career path.   

Back in 2010, Jimmy became a household name in Italy after starring in the eleventh series of Big Brother (Grande Fratello) where he finished in fourth place. 

While he may not have won the series and bagged the €300,000 grand prize, he kept audiences entertained during his stint by striking up romances with two of his fellow housemates, Rosa Baiano and Margherita Zanatta. 

Crikey: Jimmy was loving life on Big Brother Italy

Brushes with fame: Denise Van Outen’s new boyfriend Jimmy Barba was once an Italian reality star (pictured right on Big Brother Italy) who sent flirty messages to the likes of Cheryl and Laura Woods, MailOnline can reveal

What followed was a short-lived pop career, with Jimmy releasing three singles between 2012 and 2013 – although they failed to light up the charts.  

More recently, Jimmy – who described his career as being a dancer and farmer when he appeared on Grande Fratello – has shunned the world of showbiz to become a property developer. 

However, the British-Italian star did reveal that he still has an interest in celebrity culture when he struck up a conversation with the likes of singer Cheryl and Sky Sports’ Laura Woods. 

In 2019, Jimmy was quick to offer himself up as a romantic prospect for Cheryl, 34, who tweeted: ‘Wanna be my Valentine?!’ prompting Jimmy to quickly respond ‘Yep.’ 

In December 2021  Jimmy was quick to call Laura ‘Beautiful’ with a kissing emoji after she shared a snap showing off one of her outfits. 

Jimmy is said to have been dating Denise for a few weeks after being introduced through All Saints star Shaznay Lewis, with an insider telling MailOnline they have been ‘on a few dates.’ 

‘It’s early days but everything is going really well and Denise is happy,’ the source revealed. 

As seen on screen: Jimmy is pictured on Big Brother Italy

As seen on screen: Back in 2010, Jimmy became a household name in Italy after starring in the eleventh series of Big Brother (Grande Fratello) where he finished in fourth place

Oh my! While he may not have won the series and bagged the €300,000 grand prize, he kept audiences entertained

Oh my! He struck up romances with his fellow housemates

Oh my! While he may not have won the series and bagged the €300,000 grand prize, he kept audiences entertained during his stint by striking up romances with his fellow housemates

Pucker up! Jimmy quickly made a name for himself as the Lothario of the Big Brother house

Pucker up! Jimmy quickly made a name for himself as the Lothario of the Big Brother house 

Sources told MailOnline the couple have been dating for a few weeks after being introduced by a mutual friend.

The entrepreneur owns Whiteditch Lane Development LTD and based on photos added to his Twitter account appears to be a father to a young daughter.

Denise is mother to 10-year-old Betsy whom she shares with ex partner Lee Mead and while she has performed in many West End shows Jimmy too is a singer.

Denise went Instagram official with Jimmy on Thursday morning, sharing photos of the two cuddled up at the event and dining with friends.

The couple appear to have much in common with photos posted to his social media grid showing him taking to the stage with a microphone in hand.

It’s Denise’s first relationship since she revealed she had split from partner of seven years Eddie in a New Year’s Instagram post, after initially discovering his infidelities in November 2021.

Cute couple: The singer, 48, went public with her new man Jimmy, 55, this week when they attended the Grand Prix Ball - five months after she split from her cheating ex Eddie Boxshall

Cute couple: The singer, 48, went public with her new man Jimmy, 55, this week when they attended the Grand Prix Ball – five months after she split from her cheating ex Eddie Boxshall

She caught Eddie flirting sexually with three women and has described his behaviour as ‘disrespectful and devastatingly hurtful’.

Denise claimed that she found pictures and Instagram messages on Eddie’s iPad, detailing the ordeal in her autobiography, A Bit Of Me: From Basildon To Broadway And Back.

Denise wrote: ‘There were also Instagram messages alluding to phone sex with a third woman. I quickly found the woman’s profile by her screen name, only to discover I’d previously blocked her on my Instagram account – which struck me as odd.’

She continued: ‘This was a woman I didn’t know, who’d clearly had an online connection with my boyfriend. Why would I have blocked her from my Instagram account. Straight away, I unblocked her and sent her a message saying how she knew Eddie.’

Singing sensation: What followed from Big Brother was a short-lived pop career, with Jimmy releasing three singles between 2012 and 2013

Oh dear: His songs failed to light up the charts

Singing sensation: What followed from Big Brother was a short-lived pop career, with Jimmy releasing three singles between 2012 and 2013

Match made in heaven? The couple appear to have much in common with photos of Jimmy posted to his social media grid showing him taking to the stage with a microphone in hand

Match made in heaven? The couple appear to have much in common with photos of Jimmy posted to his social media grid showing him taking to the stage with a microphone in hand

She added: ‘She suggested that Eddie had probably gone into my phone and blocked her so she couldn’t message me.

‘She has apparently spoken to Eddie over FaceTime and text for a long period – often from our home and sometimes from my flat in Hampstead, which she seemed to think was his.

‘They’d never met in person, but she said the conversations had become sexual in nature reasonably quickly – some of the stuff I found on the phone seemed to support that. However she was upset with Eddie because he’d apparently ghosted her.’

The TV star recently opened up about the gut-wrenching moment she told her 12-year-old daughter Betsy about the split. Denise said sharing the news with her daughter was the ‘worst part’ about the break-up.

‘It tore me apart watching her cry while I tried to make her understand,’ Denise recalled to OK! magazine.

Taking 48-year-old Eddie back was not an option for the TOWIE narrator, as she went on to explain.

‘I’ve got too much self respect and I just can’t live that that. I felt like, in a few selfish moments, he’d ruined it. I couldn’t imagine it ever feeling the same,’ she admitted.

Cheeky! In 2019, Jimmy was quick to offer himself up as a romantic prospect for Cheryl, 34, who tweeted: 'Wanna be my Valentine?!' prompting Jimmy to quickly respond 'Yep.'

Cheeky! In 2019, Jimmy was quick to offer himself up as a romantic prospect for Cheryl, 34, who tweeted: ‘Wanna be my Valentine?!’ prompting Jimmy to quickly respond ‘Yep.’

Hello there: In December 2021 Jimmy was quick to call Sky Sports' Laura Woods 'Beautiful' with a kissing emoji after she shared a snap showing off one of her outfits

Hello there: In December 2021 Jimmy was quick to call Sky Sports’ Laura Woods ‘Beautiful’ with a kissing emoji after she shared a snap showing off one of her outfits

She added on Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place podcast: ‘Kids have phones now, and they’re in school where they are going to read things and hear things, so I did have to be completely honest with her.

‘And actually I’d want to be honest with her. I think it’s important with your kids to have that honesty.

‘There are still things I probably haven’t told her or I’ve held back. There have been moments where I’ve been really upset and you don’t want your child to see you upset, because it’s a horrible thing.

‘But at the same time, she kind of does need to know as well. I can’t just brush everything under the carpet.’

‘As a parent, my responsibility is to guide her through life and I worry she’s going to think that things go wrong.

‘That she’s going to go into relationships when she’s older perhaps not with an open heart, and that’s what I don’t want to happen. That’s where it’s tricky.’

While the TV personality said she is ‘really enjoying’ therapy, she admitted that the heartache she has faced is like ‘grief’.

She said: ‘Heartache is horrible. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re from, what you’ve got, it hurts just as deep. Those nights of just sitting there on my patio, three, four o’clock in the morning, feeling drained and empty and thinking, “I don’t know how I’m going to get through the next week”, because you just feel so broken, it’s horrible.

‘It hurts. Like, I couldn’t breathe. I felt like someone was sitting on my chest.’

She also shared that it’s still a work in progress: ‘I wouldn’t say I’m fully healed, but I am getting there’. 

Eddie moved out of Denise’s home following their shock split and is now thought to be staying with friends.

Meanwhile Denise’s close friend Duncan James, of boyband Blue, has replaced Eddie on the current series of Celebrity Gogglebox, taking his place on the sofa besides Denise for the popular Channel 4 show.

Split: Denise announced she had split from Eddie Boxshall in January after discovering he had cheated on her during their seven year relationship (pictured February 2020)

Split: Denise announced she had split from Eddie Boxshall in January after discovering he had cheated on her during their seven year relationship (pictured February 2020)



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