The former One Direction member, who just welcomed his first child with Gigi Hadid, has sparked concerns when he drinks beer and smokes what fans…
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When she’s not filming ITVBe’s hit reality show The Real Housewives Of Cheshire, Rachel Lugo is busy mucking out her four horses and being a mum to her five children.
When we catch up with Rachel – mum to Francesca, 23, William, 21, Sophia, 18, Oliver, 15, and Sienna, nine – she’s beaming with happiness and says new man Nick is to thank for her glowing appearance.
“Oh my God, he’s so lovely,” she tells us with a huge smile. “He’s extremely caring and very sensitive, which is lovely to see in a man.”
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Rachel reveals how delighted her co-stars were after Nick asked to make things official while filming Real Housewives. “Dawn [Ward] thinks I should marry him immediately,” she laughs. “I would like to remarry!”
Here, the property developer opens up about her gorgeous seven-bedroom home, her first Christmas with Nick and feeling body confident at 45…
Your house is beautiful, Rachel. Tell us a bit about it…
We’ve had it for just over 16 years and it’s a Grade II-listed farmhouse. It was completely derelict when we bought it – it didn’t even have heating! We had to gut it and completely transform it.
What’s your favourite room?
The kitchen. It’s a Clive Christian kitchen. It’s got a three-metre centre island that took 10 men to carry in, and a huge AGA.
Tell us about your stables…
They’re made out of oak and are at the bottom of my garden, so they’re easily accessible.
We made windows at the back so the horses can look out and watch the children on the trampoline. At the moment I have four horses. I did have seven, but it was a lot for me to look after. The stables are just beautiful.
Your house looks so Christmassy…
I had The Christmas Decorators in and I came back and the place was done. I am converted, I’m doing it every year! Christmas brings me so much joy.
What family traditions do you have?
I go to midnight mass on Christmas Eve because my parents are buried in the church behind my house. On Christmas Day I lay flowers on the grave before I have dinner and we play games.
What are your plans for Christmas?
We’ll do presents in the morning and then Nick will come around in the afternoon. I’m his support bubble and Nick is widowed. So, he’s bringing his two children and I’m going to make sure that we all have a magical Christmas.
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Do you talk openly about his late wife?
Yes. I think it’s really important to speak about it. I’m happy to hear everything. I think her memory should be kept alive.
Did he move in for lockdown?
No, he’s never moved in. He’s never stayed the night here and I’ve never stayed the night at his. When you introduce children to a new relationship, they have to come first.
What can you tell us about him?
Oh my God, he’s so lovely! He’s a very normal guy. We’ve got the same sense of humour. He’s a great dad. He’s extremely caring and very sensitive, which is lovely to see in a man.
Do you think being a widower has made Nick the man he is?
I definitely think he realises that life is very short and precious. Now he’s just grateful for each day.
What are his children like?
They’re 15 and 13. His daughter is so chatty and loves speaking to my older girls. His son is sports mad and loves my animals, too. I think it helps that I’m a mum-of-five. There’s nothing that two other children are going to bring my way that’s going to shock me.
How does Nick find filming?
He’s actually really good! But he’s been watching himself back and cringing. It’s very normal and natural when we’re being filmed.
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How did you feel about him asking you to be his girlfriend on camera?
It was so funny, because he’d been asking me for a while. So he asked me on camera knowing that I’d have to answer. I was just playing hard to get! You have to keep them on their toes.
What was it about Nick that made you want to be with someone again?
My life is mad. I’ve got horses, dogs, cats, a hamster and kids. It’s a lot for someone to come in and look at! But he just accepted it.
You met on a dating app called Luxy. What was that like?
I found it quite international and then Nick popped up from Macclesfield. All he wrote was, “Hi.” He didn’t put much effort in, but it made me laugh and I wrote back, “Hi chatty.” Then we met up the next day.
How did you feel when the other Housewives were teasing you about being on apps?
They were more teasing me about the fact that I was talking to a couple of people. But who talks to one person online?
You’ve said you don’t want more kids, and Nick agrees. Was it a relief to be on the same page about that?
Yes, because all of our kids are older there’s a lot we can do together as a family and not worry about a tiny one.
Would you consider marrying again?
I’d like to think I’ll eventually get married again.
Is Nick marriage material?
We will see – watch this space!
What would your wedding be like?
Very romantic and family oriented.
Are you happier than ever now?
I’m so happy. There’s so much calmness in my life. Even when I’m stressed Nick levels me.
You recently underwent treatment to get rid of skin pigmentation. How has it made you feel?
It’s taken years off me. I’m so happy it’s gone.
You also did a lingerie shoot on Real Housewives, so you must be feeling confident about your body?
I am! Why not?! I’m proud of how hard I’ve worked in the gym. I think you have to be body confident going into a new relationship – nobody wants to be with someone who crawls into a ball and tries to cover themselves. I want to stand at the door and say, “Hey baby!”
You had a tummy tuck in 2018, as well as a nose job and boob job over 20 years ago. Would you mind if your daughters wanted surgery?
I’d want to understand their reasons, especially if it was their boobs. I’d want them to have their babies first.
Your daughters look just like you!
Don’t they?! When I get mistaken as the older one’s sister it winds them up because they feel insulted that they might look older.
You had Francesca at 22. Did being a young mum help shape you?
Yes. But I knew I wanted children when I was young. My mum left and went to live in America when I was nine, so I was brought up by my dad who was a non-functioning alcoholic. He passed away when I was in my twenties and I wanted a happy home with someone who would love me unconditionally. I was desperate for a child.
How did your upbringing mould you?
I completely over-mother my children. My daughters will say that I’m worse with the boys. I tell them all I love them constantly because I never had that.
Do all the kids get on?
Yes, our household is so lovely. Two of the kids are normally at university. William studies aeronautical engineering and Francesca does biomedical sciences. Pre-Covid they used to bring their partners around, which is great.
How do you juggle being a mum-of-five with work?
It’s really tough. Filming Housewives is very full-on. But I do have three children who can now drive and my fourth is 16 in January, so they’re not as dependent on me.
What do your children make of you being on the show?
They’re proud of the fact that I stand up for myself and I’m very independent. I never used to be. I think my kids are really proud of me.
Why do you think you’ve become more independent?
I changed when I turned 40. I had lots of opinions, but would keep them to myself, get home and have a moan about things. It was turning me into a miserable person and I didn’t like how I was. Now I speak my mind.
Catch the season finale of The Real Housewives of Cheshire, Monday, 9PM, ITVBe
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