How Ali Astall touchingly ‘held out’ for Declan Donnelly for 10 years

Posing for pictures Down Under with their adorable baby daughter Isla, Declan Donnelly and his wife Ali Astall are one of the cutest couples on the block.

Their wedding was equally as adorable, with I’m A Celebrity star Dec saying ‘I do’ to his long-time manager in a gorgeous ceremony in St Michael’s church , Newcastle, in August 2015.

But theirs has been a long road to love, with almost 15 years passing between her joining James Grant Management as his manager and the birth of their first child in August.

The pair immediately hit it off professionally, with Ali accompanying him and Ant to Australia for the first ever I’m A Celebrity back in 2003.

And after Dec split from childhood sweetheart Clare Buckfield that same year – following an alleged hookup with lapdancer Tina Benson – they’re rumoured to have taken things to the next level.

Ali – who lived just 200 metres down the road from Dec’s Chiswick home – was even spotted joining Dec, Ant and his then wife Lisa Armstrong on holiday.

However, at that time it seems their budding romance wasn’t to be.

“On the holiday, their attraction really heated up and they had a great time together," a source previously told the Sunday People.

“Dec and Ali gave it a go but it didn’t really work out. They remained close friends and Ali continued to be his manager."

Dec was soon linked to a slew of TV babes including Sarah Cawood, actress Kate Braithwaite and Sky Sports presenter Diana Stewart before getting into a two-year relationship with presenter Georgie Thompson in 2009.

Meanwhile, pretty Ali stayed single, devoting herself to her work and leaving friends wondering why she didn’t have a man.

That was, until she and Dec finally got together in 2014.

“She has been in love with Dec for a very long time, she’s stayed single and has held out for him," the insider continued.

“But when Dec met Georgie, Ali waited for him. She hasn’t really seen anyone else and that’s because she has always had a soft spot for Dec.

“Ali is a gorgeous girl and a lot of her friends couldn’t understand why she didn’t have a boyfriend.

“Now they know it’s because Ali wanted to be with Dec. He is the only guy for her.”

It seems that second time around Dec quickly realised the same, with the TV star wasting no time in popping the question.

And opening up about their complicated situation, he once hinted that work had been the barrier.

“I think we’ve always been attracted to each other but it has always been that thing of we work together," he said.

"This is the first time we’ve given it a try. We always hung out. When she was single and I was single we’d go out for dinner on Valentine’s night together because we didn’t have partners.

“This year we went out as couple."

And unlike other romances that start with a bang and quickly fizzle, their slow-burning love appears to have developed into one of the most solid relationships in showbiz.

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Dec Donnelly and Ali Astall

  • Day out with baby
  • Isla’s gift for daddy
  • Settling into parenthood
  • Taking baby Isla home

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