PRESENTER and entertainer Jane McDonald sadly announced yesterday her fiancé Eddie 'Ed' Rothe had passed away from lung cancer.
The Loose Women panellist, 58, and 67-year-old Ed, a drummer in Sixties band, The Searchers, had been together since 2008 although their love story actually began decades earlier.
As teenagers, the pair had a fleeting romance in 1980 after they met in a pub Jane worked at on the side from her retail job in Wakefield.
Ed's band Liquid Gold was playing a gig at the boozer after they hit the number two spot with their single, Dance Yourself Dizzy.
Speaking about their short-lived relationship, Jane told The Mirror in 2012: "I couldn’t believe it when the owner said the drummer had taken a fancy to me. I was startled.
"He was a gorgeous pop star and I was a naive teenager from Yorkshire. But we went out for about 18 months."
However, it wasn't the right time for the pair and Jane then aged 18 called off the relationship because of Eddie’s hedonistic lifestyle.
She said: "He was really rock and roll in those days, well he still is, but he’s calmed down a lot now."
Following their dalliance, Jane went on to be married twice, with her second marriage to her former manager Henrik Brixen taking place in 1998.
However it wasn't meant to be and the pair divorced in 2002 and she remained single until a chance meeting with Eddie at the ITV studios six years later.
Jane was on Loose Women at the time, while Eddie was appearing on This Morning with his band The Searchers in May 2008.
The TV star said she almost pulled out of going to say hello to her former flame, who she’d last seen face-to-face aged 18, but was thrilled when she plucked up the courage.
She recalled: "He said, 'Look I’ve just been through a divorce, here’s my card if you want to talk to me'.
"I couldn’t wait. I ran home from Loose Women, I couldn’t wait to talk to him because a lot had happened.
"I thought what if he doesn’t know who I am, I really did. I thought he’d be like 'Who are you?'"
Then seven months after reconnecting the pair got engaged on Christmas Eve in 2008.
Jane, who is best known for her Cruising series, said she fell for Eddie because he understood she was “married to the job”.
Speaking about their relationship, Jane said: "He is very funny and he makes me laugh every day.
"He also brings me a cup of tea every morning, no matter what.
"I am married to my job and that is difficult for anyone, but Ed lets me go off and do what I need to do."
The couple had remained together for more than 12 years after getting engaged and last year, Jane said she would consider planning a wedding.
Speaking to My Weekly, she admitted: "You’re right, I do have the time, so it might be something I think about. It was always on the back-burner before."
"But it's been so long that I’ll have to ask him and see whether he still wants to do it!" she joked
Sadly the pair never got to say 'I do' after it was announced that Eddie had died after being diagnosed with lung cancer.
In a statement posted online, former Loose Women star thanked the NHS and the hospice which cared for Eddie following his funeral yesterday.
Jane wrote: "It is with immense sadness that we share the news that Jane’s beloved life partner, Ed, passed away on Friday 26th March.
"He had been battling lung cancer for the last few months. We would like to thank everyone for all their help and support during this very difficult time, especially the NHS staff and the wonderful team at The Wakefield Hospice.
"The funeral took place earlier today and we would please ask for your kindness in observing Jane’s privacy for her and Ed’s family at this sad time."
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