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Denise Welch: "I was given the Osama Bin Laden treatment"

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Denise Welch and Lincoln Townley

© Rex Features / Dan Wooller

Denise Welch has claimed that she was given the "Osama Bin Laden treatment" after her 24-year marriage broke down.

The Celebrity Big Brother 2012 winner, who confirmed her relationship with toyboy Lincoln Townley in March, said she was "lambasted" by the public for breaking up with Tim Healy.

The Loose Women panelist told The Mirror: "It's been a really, really, really difficult year but, finally, things are amazing, and I am very happy.

"For a while, I was given the Osama Bin Laden treatment - I mean, I was being lambasted for splitting up with someone after 24 years of marriage.

"But that's 24 years... not 24 minutes like most people these days. I was slated over the break-up but people ignored the fact that it's great that Tim and I have been able to move on and to salvage a friendship.

"But Lincoln has been great, really calming and a fantastic influence in helping me keep it all together. I'm in love."

However, the couple are unlikely to start a family together as Welch joked: "We have spoken slightly tongue-in-cheek about IVF, having kids together.

"But I'm 97, and had my last baby when I was 83, so, realistically, I don't think this is going to happen."

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