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CELEBS Go Dating star Tom Zanetti has admitted to The Sun that he spent years "trying to replace" his late girlfriend Lizzie following her tragic death.
The 31-year-old DJ's world was rocked in 2010, aged 21, when his girlfriend of three years died in a car crash.
Lizzie Pickavance was just 20 years old at the time, and was returning from work in Manchester when she lost control of her car on the M62 near Gildersome and the vehicle smashed into a tree.
She passed away in hospital.
In an exclusive interview with The Sun, Tom told how Lizzie was "the one" as he reflected on why he hasn't yet settled down.
He explained: "She was the one, that's what's difficult, I suppose if you want to be honest and deep about it.
"I met Lizzie when I were 18 and I had three good years with her. It was just perfect. And then after she died, I just lost my head a bit and I was trying to replace what I had with her.
"She was the one and it does make you think: 'I might be chasing that same thing again.' And then when I realise that that person isn't Lizzie, then it doesn't work."
Tom continued: "When I was like 16, and it's going to sound daft, but I always pictured myself being married with kids when I was 26. That was my aim in life.
"When you're younger you think stuff like that and obviously life doesn't work out like that. So if I'd have stayed with Lizzie, that would have been the plan, but obviously it didn't work out.
"So I feel like after Liz, I had two years just a bit off the rails, in a sense, and then every girlfriend I tried to settle down with to get what I had with her.
"I gave everything, I was completely loyal, just to see where it'd go without any false pretences and those relationships have not worked out.
"I am a family man, very family oriented, I've always wanted that kind of life. So I don't know, we'll see what happens. I don't want to give too much away of myself again."
Tom became a dad to son Deaconn when he was just 17 years old, with he and Lizzie meeting and falling in love when his little boy, now 14, was 18 months.
He previously said that Lizzie "really was a part of the family", and he told us that Deaconn's approval is integral if he is going to get into a new relationship.
Tom shared: "My son everything to me. He's my best pal, I've brought him up and he's the purest, coolest person I know. He's so well above his age, because he's seen how I've been, the people that I have been around, the life that I've lived, he's just so well-grounded.
"He's only young, but I've spoken to him about situations and he's just made my head straight. He's just made me think: 'Right. Yeah. You're completely right. I'm cutting that off…' Or whatever.
"So with new relationships, I wouldn't bring my son in straight away. I wouldn't be bringing Deaconn in, and if I did, if the time was right and I felt like the girl wanted to meet Deaconn, and Deaconn wanted to meet her and it were inevitable, then they'd become friends and I'd just try to involve them both."
He added: "But with me, if you're looking for long term, I come with Deaconn. You know what I mean? I do want more kids. I want to get married, I want more kids and I want a proper relationship with someone. And Deaconn is going to be the big brother, he's just mint."
When asked if Deaconn not liking his date would be a deal breaker, Tom told us: "Oh, without a doubt. Completely. He's a very good judge of character, he's very laid back and he's very easy going.
"All my pals talk to Deaconn on the phone, he’s like one of the lads than a normal kid. He’s got such an innocent soul. I feel like at his age you're not influenced or poisoned by certain things.
"He's very innocent, so he just says it how it is, but he's really gentle with it and he just talks on a good level. I can just talk to him like a pal. He's not a naughty kid or someone who is a nuisance at all. So whenever Deaconn says anything, he's the boss, I listen!"
Celebs Go Dating's love guru Paul Brunson previously told The Sun how the agents broke down in tears when speaking to Tom about his tragic past.
He said: "He's gone through such a tough life and that will obviously come out in the series and it's going to be emotional for everyone.
"I think it was the first time I've seen Anna [Williamson] really cry, in the agency was when Tom was talking about his past."
The new series of Celebs Go Dating launched earlier this week, with Chloe Ferry, Curtis Prichard, and Wayne Lineker among the other stars taking part in the show.
This series saw all of the stars move into a Surrey mansion together so that they could form a bubble for filming amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
- Celebs Go Dating is on every weeknight at 9pm on E4
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