They’re still together, but the Elen factor stops them going fully public

Christine Bleakley and Frank Lampard‘s romance is still going strong, despite reports that they’re on the verge of splitting up.

But privately the couple fear they’ll never be able to go fully public with their romance because of the prospect of upsetting Frank‘s fiery ex Elen Rivas, the mother of his two children.

Worried that the shadow of Elen, 34, will always loom large in their relationship, the new couple have purposely kept things low-key.

Last week, a magazine quoted Frank, 31, as saying he was ‘a single man’, while Christine, 31, said the opposite and claimed they were still very much a couple, leading some to speculate that Frank was trying to dump her.

But sources confirm nothing could be further from the truth.

Frank did that interview before Christmas when they’d only been on a few very secret dates. But when the interview came out last week everyone jumped to the wrong conclusion.

‘The same week, Christine had actually spent the night at Frank‘s,’ says our source.

After Elen came out and said she still loves Frank and wants him back, he and Christine got cold feet about being a public duo. Instead, they’ll stay behind closed doors as much as they possibly can.

Christine‘s tolerating this as she understands the bond Frank has with his kids. He sees them three times a week and she doesn’t want anything to spoil that. But it remains to be seen if they can handle it in the long run – sooner or later they’re going to have to hurt Elen‘s feelings and tell her they’re serious and in love.’

See the full story about Christine Bleakley and Frank Lampard in Now magazine dated 8 March 2010 – out now!