Paul O’Grady has opened up about his secret wedding to his ballet dancer boyfriend for the first time.
The 62-year-old ‘Blind Date’ host tied the knot with 37-year-old Andre Portasio in the gardens of London’s Goring Hotel last month.
The couple, who have been together since 2006, delivered their vows in front of 50 family members and close friends, including a number of well-known faces.
But there was one notable absentee from the guest list – Paul’s close friend Cilla Black, who died in 2015.
“She would be over the moon. It was just such a shame she wasn’t there,” Paul told The Mirror.
But he added, laughing: “She wouldn’t have sung. She would never sing in public.
“If anyone said, ‘Cilla, give us a song’, she’d say, ‘I can’t, me voice is bad, but Paul will’.
“She wouldn’t get up at a wedding. She never used to sing in the shower or round the house.”
Despite Cilla’s absence, Paul said it was a “smashing day”.
“[It was] a quiet little thing but I really enjoyed it,” he said.
The Lily Savage star also admitted he had never considered walking down the aisle, until his friend, fellow comic Julian Clary, suggested it.
“Julian put the seed in my head,” Paul explained. “He said, ‘I’ve got married. You should’.
“And he’s right, then you protect your partner. If anything happens to me, he is protected. It makes sense.
“Married life is the same as before. We have known each other so long. Nothing has changed, really.
“And it’s nice. I like saying I’m married – better than saying I’m a divorcee, which I was before.
“You feel more committed. You have made a vow, you have to stick to it. But we still fight like cat and dog.”
Paul was introduced to former English National Ballet dancer Andre by his previous boyfriend and manager Brendan Murphy, who died suddenly from a brain tumour at the age 49, just days before Paul’s 50th birthday.
This isn’t the TV star’s first marriage. In 1977 he wed Portuguese model Teresa Fernandez after her family pressurised her into walking down the aisle.
Speaking about the ‘marriage of convenience’, Paul explained: “We worked in a club in Westbourne Grove, London, when I was 22. She was from a very strict Catholic family and was always being hassled by …