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    Strictly’s Jacqui Smith talks embracing the ‘real’ her after ending her 33-year marriage

    ‘This is the real me’: Strictly’s Jacqui Smith talks embracing her true self on the dance floor after ending her 33-year marriage and ditching politics

    Jacqui Smith has revealed she’s embracing ‘the real me’ on Strictly Come Dancing following the end of her 33-year marriage.

    The ex-politician, 57, whose marriage to Richard Timney ended earlier this year, opened up on finding her true self and having a new lease of life as she enjoys the glitz and glam of the BBC show.

    Jacqui, Britain’s first Home Secretary, also discussed the ‘liberating’ feeling of leaving politics behind after 13 years as an MP. 

    This is me! Jacqui Smith has revealed she’s embracing ‘the real me’ on Strictly Come Dancing following the end of her 33-year marriage

    In recent months, Jacqui has lost two-and-a-half stone and has found herself bubblier and happier since finding new love.

    Opening up about how she feels, she told The Mirror: ‘Being in Government, you spend a lot of time being defensive. That doesn’t lend itself to spontaneity or humour. When you leave politics is there is an element of liberation. This is the real me.’

    Meanwhile, she also shared her fears that she wouldn’t meet someone new following the end of her three decade relationship.

    She said: ‘You do think, “Is that the end of my life being able to be shared with another person?” One of the big differences about dating in your 50s is you come to it with history.’

    Free: The ex-politician, 57, whose marriage to Richard Timney ended earlier this year, opened up on finding her true self and having a new lease of life as she enjoys the glitz and glam of the BBC show (pictured in 2010)

    Free: The ex-politician, 57, whose marriage to Richard Timney ended earlier this year, opened up on finding her true self and having a new lease of life as she enjoys the glitz and glam of the BBC show (pictured in 2010)

    She added that it’s a ‘joy’ to know there are fun people are there on the dating scene, especially after having been through a ‘tough personal time’. 

    The broadcaster’s marriage was thrust into the spotlight under the haze of controversy when she and Richard were embroiled in the 2009 expenses scandal. 

    Jacqui, the first female ever to hold the Home Secretary position, apologised to parliament after wrongly claiming £116,000 in second home allowances in 2009 and then lost her Redditch seat in an election a year later.

    Old life: Jacqui, Britain's first Home Secretary, also discussed the 'liberating' feeling of leaving politics behind after 13 years as an MP  (pictured at Downing Street in 2009)

    Old life: Jacqui, Britain’s first Home Secretary, also discussed the ‘liberating’ feeling of leaving politics behind after 13 years as an MP  (pictured at Downing Street in 2009)

    In 2009, Jacqui and her husband, who she employed as her aide on a £40k annual salary, claimed parliamentary expenses from a Virgin media package for two porn films watched by her husband, at a cost of £5 each.

    They also claimed for the Ocean’s 13 at £3.75, and £3.50 for Surf’s Up.

    Richard told reporters at the time: ‘I am really sorry for any embarrassment I have caused Jacqui. I can fully understand why people might be angry and offended by this.

    Liberated: 'Being in Government, you spend a lot of time being defensive. That doesn’t lend itself to spontaneity or humour. When you leave politics is there is an element of liberation. This is the real me'

    Liberated: ‘Being in Government, you spend a lot of time being defensive. That doesn’t lend itself to spontaneity or humour. When you leave politics is there is an element of liberation. This is the real me’

    ‘Quite obviously a claim should never have been made for these films, and as you know that money is being paid back.’

    Meanwhile, the broadcaster then went on to say she was ‘proud’ of herself of rising to the challenge of Strictly, despite criticism of her first dance, and stated as a 50-plus woman, she ‘couldn’t care less’ about what people think.

    Jacqui explained: ‘When you get older the important thing is to grab opportunities. I’m at the point in my life where my children have left home, I am in a new relationship. I’m free to explore those sorts of things now. That’s exciting.’

    Drama: Jacqui's husband became ignominiously embroiled in the 2009 expenses scandal after it emerged he had claimed money for watching two adult films (pictured in 2009)

    Drama: Jacqui’s husband became ignominiously embroiled in the 2009 expenses scandal after it emerged he had claimed money for watching two adult films (pictured in 2009)

    You go girl: Meanwhile, the broadcaster then went on to say she was 'proud' of herself of rising to the challenge of Strictly, despite criticism of her first dance

    You go girl: Meanwhile, the broadcaster then went on to say she was ‘proud’ of herself of rising to the challenge of Strictly, despite criticism of her first dance

    It comes as Jacqui revealed she’s been going on Zoom dates with her new boyfriend after finding love again following her split from husband.

    The former Labour politician told the Loose Women panel that following the end of her ‘long, happy’ marriage in January, the dates are the first she’s had in 33 years, and compared the experience to ‘old-fashioned courting.’

    Jacqui also credited her divorce with inspiring her to ‘do something totally out of her comfort zone’ by competing on Strictly Come Dancing, as she prepares to dance the Samba with pro Anton Du Beke on Saturday. 

    New man? Jacqui recently  revealed she's been going on Zoom dates with her new boyfriend after finding love again following her split from husband Richard

    New man? Jacqui recently  revealed she’s been going on Zoom dates with her new boyfriend after finding love again following her split from husband Richard

    Star guest: Jacqui briefly discussed her new romance during an appearance on the Loose Women panel

    Star guest: Jacqui briefly discussed her new romance during an appearance on the Loose Women panel

    ‘It’s been 33 years since I last went dating, it’s all online so you just have to go for it… I’m zooming with my new partner and in some ways it’s like old fashioned courting, let’s say.’

    Asked whether the end of her marriage pushed to try something new and sign up for Strictly, the politician added: ‘It was terrifying to be in the chamber of the house of commons but I was in my comfort zone. 

    ‘I’m in my late 50s, I’ve had some professional changes, some personal changes, my long happy marriage has come to an end… I wanted to do something totally out of my comfort zone.’ 

    Exciting: The broadcaster credited the end of her marriage with inspiring her to take part in Strictly Come Dancing (pictured with her professional partner Anton Du Beke)

    Exciting: The broadcaster credited the end of her marriage with inspiring her to take part in Strictly Come Dancing (pictured with her professional partner Anton Du Beke)

    Explanation: Discussing her new relationship, Jacqui said: 'I'm zooming with my new partner and in some ways it's like old fashioned courting, let's say'

    Explanation: Discussing her new relationship, Jacqui said: ‘I’m zooming with my new partner and in some ways it’s like old fashioned courting, let’s say’

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