In a new interview, Denise reveals that she was 'too thin' in 2001 after splitting from her boyfriend and working hard in Chicago

Denise Van Outen has revealed that heartbreak and a demanding worklife led to her becoming ‘too thin’.

The 41-year-old star admitted that her weight plummeted during a particularly busy time in her life, after joining the cast of stage show Chicago in 2001.

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Speaking to Mail Online, Denise explained: ‘I’ve had times when I’ve definitely been too thin. I think around the time I did Chicago, I went down to a size 6 but I was dancing a lot. I was doing a lot of shows, I’d split up with my boyfriend, I had a lot going on in my life.’

Although she doesn’t name the boyfriend in question, Denise ended her three-year relationship with Jamiroquai frontman Jay Kay in February 2001, around the same time that she first took to the stage as Roxy Hart in the hit musical.

Reflecting on that time, Denise added: ‘I definitely look at pictures at myself back then and think, “I definitely look too thin”.

‘It doesn’t look very nice. But at the time, you think you look OK because everyone tells you that you look fantastic, which is a bit odd because you think, “Hmm, maybe I look great, but I feel terrible”.’

The star was speaking ahead of the release of a new documentary fronted by Denise, Weight Loss: My Story, which follows participants as they are guided through a slimming programme, with the highs and lows of their weight loss journey charted on camera.

And the mother-of-one confessed that she now focuses on looking after herself as, despite never being overweight, her figure does go up and down.

‘My weight fluctuates,’ she said. ‘I’m lucky in that I take after my dad so I’ve got quite a slim build, but I do have to take care of myself. More so now that I’m getting older.

‘But I think just because of the work that I do and the fact it involves theatre means that whenever I’ve got a show coming up I have to really look after myself.

‘I’m aware of the benefits of feeling good when you can fit into your skinny jeans.’

She continued: ‘I don’t think I’ve ever been medically overweight, or what is considered to be overweight.

‘My weight does fluctuate [and] obviously I’ve had a daughter so I’ve had to shift the baby weight and all of that, so that’s probably the biggest I’ve ever been.’

But Denise stressed that she was in no rush to lose weight after giving birth to daughter Betsy in 2010, saying that she gave herself goals to work towards.

‘I felt alright [about losing the weight] because I wasn’t in a rush to do it and also I had a couple of things in my diary to work towards, like I had a trek in Peru, to Machu Picchu,’ she said.

‘I just did gentle exercise like walking and making sure I was on the move. Then after that, I did [West End show] Legally Blonde.

‘If you go into any show, the weight just falls off you, it’s just adrenaline, you go in and you know you’re going to lose a few pounds.

‘It’s the fact you’re eating at different times as well, and you lose a lot of weight through adrenaline.’