THEY have spent a large part of their five-year marriage living in different continents, but Mark Wright is now the envy of most men — he’s in lockdown with Michelle Keegan.
Having endured years of separation while Mark, 33, worked as a presenter in the US and Michelle, 32, filmed ITV drama Our Girl in South Africa, they are now isolating together in their Essex home.
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Speaking to The Sun on video chat, former Towie favourite Mark, says: “After years of having a long-distance relationship, I’m now locked up with the girl of my dreams.
“We used to spend all our time on FaceTime calls and talking for hours on the phone in different time zones, but now we are together every minute of the day.
“It’s nice to just sit together in the evening in front of the TV without having to worry about rushing off.
“That time is important as a couple — just being together.
“We’ve been cooking together a lot and Michelle is a cracking chef.
“She has made a lot of delicious banana bread and lets me be her sous chef, so I help out.
“I really think this period is going to make everyone more grateful for the amazing friends and family they have.”
Mark has been connecting with friends on Instagram Live and shared a little too much during a recent chat with pop star Olly Murs.
Turning the camera on Michelle, who was sitting on the bed in a dressing gown, the former Corrie actress quickly shouts, “Er, hello, legs open!” and races to cover herself.
Both Mark and Olly are heard in hysterics, with Mark saying: “Giving Mursy a morning surprise.”
Mark has been thinking about family during lockdown, but will it mean having his own kids?
Mark says: “I would love to be a dad one day.
“I am a family man for sure — they are the centre of my world.”
And Mark, who was runner-up on ITV’s I’m A Celeb in 2011, has found staying in touch with friends and family online has been good for his mental health.
He says: “When I was in I’m A Celeb, I really struggled without them.
“I remember thinking, ‘If this doesn’t do anything for my career, or I get voted out early, I will be leaving the show to go to my family and friends, who I know will be there for me no matter what’.
“I know that is what has kept me so grounded in life.
“My friends would never let me get too big-headed, and that’s so important when you are in showbiz.
“I’m lucky I don’t suffer with many problems with my mental health, but the only time I do is when I am away from friends and family and Michelle.
“In LA, without my mates around me to bring back that normality, or my mum popping in, or Michelle to cuddle up with on the sofa at night, my anxiety builds up.
“I really am not myself.
“My friends say I ‘get in pickles’, because I can’t make decisions.”
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Mark recently spoke openly on his Heart FM radio show about his anger at trolls following the death of his friend Caroline Flack in February.
He says: “I love social media in the most part but I have a real problem with trolling.
“I don’t get much negativity, but when I do it hurts me and it’s not nice.
“Why do people need to do that?
“Why do people log on to leave negativity everywhere without thinking about the effect it might have on someone? It’s not kind.
“Luckily I can brush it off quite easily, but that’s not the case with everyone, especially when it’s extreme.
“I can see how it affects people and I just ask people to ask themselves why they are doing it. And to think twice.”
You can do an amazing workout in 30 mins without a gym
As well as giving the public an insight into his home life, Mark is also using social media to spread a positive message with exercise.
Often posting topless images of his gym-honed body, Mark has become a fitness inspiration for many of his 1.6million Instagram followers.
He says: “It’s nice, but I never set out to be a body role model.
“I love it when people ask for tips and come to me for fitness motivation because I’m very passionate about it.
“I love telling people how I train and what I eat and how they can feel good too. It’s a positive thing.
“If I wasn’t doing what I do I would be a personal trainer full-time.
“People say, ‘Oh it’s all genetics’ but that’s not the case.
“My friends call me a chubby boy waiting to come out, because if I don’t train and eat well I put on weight really quickly.”
Mark started a promising football career at a young age, getting signed to Tottenham Hotspur youth academy.
He says: “I was captain of the team at one point and I was the fittest I’ve ever been and all set to go far.
“That summer between seasons I thought, ‘I deserve a bit of rest’, and I went to Spain for a month to visit my cousin Elliot.
“I drank alcohol for the first time, ate what I wanted and didn’t train.
“I put on 22lb and it completely mucked up everything.
“My coach put me in the fat boys’ club on a strict diet and fitness plan, but I was behind the rest.
“That’s always stayed with me.”
Making the most of his time in isolation, Mark — who came runner-up on Strictly Come Dancing in 2014 — has been sharing his #TrainWright home workouts to show others how to keep fit without a gym.
He says: “I want to show people that you really can get an amazing workout at home using your body weight, and it really doesn’t have to be longer than 30 minutes.”
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Mark is also keeping busy with his Heart FM radio shows on Monday to Thursday evenings and Sunday morning, and he feels it is his responsibility to bring positivity to as many people as possible during the Covid-19 lockdown.
He says: “I wouldn’t say I find it easy to always be positive, it’s hard for everyone to be cheery all the time.
“But I am someone who likes to try to look at the best in life.
"I get to sit in a recording studio and tell people how I’m feeling, how I’m coping and I get all these amazing messages back from listeners.
“It’s a wonderful thing to have people try to lift others during this testing time.
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“I know many people probably think I am incredibly lucky to be in lockdown with my beautiful wife — and I am.
“But we all have good things in our life, and I encourage everyone to look at what they have an enjoy it.
“Send that text to your friend, or call that family member, because staying in touch and letting those people know you are thinking of them, that matters now more than ever.”
Celeb couples in isolation
Katy Perry & Orlando Bloom
PREGNANT Katy and her fiance have been using their free time to post cute snaps to social media. But they will have to be crafty to come up with new wedding dates. The A-listers got engaged on Valentine’s Day 2019 but their wedding plans might be on hold for now. Orlando has plenty to keep his spirits up, though. The Pirates Of The Caribbean star posted a snap of Katy to his Instagram account last month, proudly writing: “My babies blooming.”
Olly Murs & Amelia Tank
OLLY and his girlfriend, who began dating last summer and made it official in December, have occupied themselves in lockdown by pulling pranks on each other. For one, the singer put a handful of talcum powder in fitness-fanatic Amelia’s hair-dryer . . . much to her fury. He later wrote on his Instagram account: “Mission NOT impossible. #stilltogether #just.” The Essex native has also been dancing about in his underpants, singing at the top of his lungs.
Nicole Scherzinger & Thom Evans
THE Pussycat Doll has kept the flame with Thom burning brightly while posting dance and workout videos for her fans to move to. The couple have been dating since meeting on The X-Factor: Celebrity last year, when Nicole was a judge. They have not let the virus hit their enviable fitness levels. On one workout vid posted to Instagram, Nic told her 4.4milllion followers: “We’re back with a few easy at-home workouts in case you need a bit of motivation.”
Dua Lipa & Anwar Hadid
DUA and her model fella know a bit of pampering is just the ticket in troubled times. The couple, who started dating last year, have been looking after their skin with fun face-masks to keep themselves entertained. The singer – who recently dropped her new album Future Nostalgia as a treat for fans during the pandemic – uploaded a sweet snap to her Instagram account of the pair sporting the muddy masks. It was captioned: “Self-care Sunday’s OK.”
David and Victoria Beckham
GOLDENBALLS and his missus have posted various pics of family fun. The former England skipper also urged fans via Instagram to keep safe during the pandemic.
He wrote: “Staying at home for the ones we love. I’m staying at home for Victoria and our kids. Let’s stop the coronavirus spread together.”
Fashion designer Victoria has kept up her busy work schedule and recently shared a sizzling cover shot for Vogue Mexico.