Lee Mead's ex was once known for ladette behaviour

Denise Van Outen can understand why she was known as a ladette in the 1990s.

The blonde TV star admits that she can be quite cheeky but thinks she’s a lot more girly than people might assume.

‘I like to look good because I’m a born-and-bred Essex girl,’ says Denise, 40.

‘I like to have a cheeky spray tan maybe once a week. I like to get my nails done.

‘I understand why I had that whole “ladette” label in the ’90s – I’ll have a laugh with the lads – but really I’m a girls’ girl at heart.’

Denise Van Outen might have changed over the years but that tag has stuck.

In 2013 the presenter revealed that she’s even lost work due to people thinking she’s still a ladette.

She was known for her wild behaviour during her early career and even though she’s no longer that outrageous her old antics still haunt her.

‘I remember I was at a meeting to discuss presenting a live show on a Saturday night,’ said Denise.

‘The producer actually said to me: “We think you’re perfect for this, but we’re so worried you’re going to do something outrageous and it’s a family show.”

‘Obviously, I wouldn’t have, but that was the perception – you get Denise and something unexpected will happen, whether that’s a flashed boob or whatever.

‘Oh, I’ve had so many rejections, my career has been up and down like a bride’s nightdress. I’ve had real highs and lows.

Denise Van Outen – who is a mum to daughter Betsy, 4, with ex-husband Lee Mead – is a bit embarrassed about some of her old behaviour.

‘I got known for being a ladette, so I’d often play that role – I was quite mischievous, so I didn’t need much encouragement!’ she told Fabulous in 2013.

‘But, sometimes, it was to the detriment of my career.

‘I’d go and do something like flash my bra at Prince Charles or steal an ashtray from Buckingham Palace, which was very funny at the time, but then when it came to work…

‘But I was young and had a brilliant time, so I don’t regret any of it!’

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Anna Francis