Watch: Denise Van Outen's "gobbling down" of food speaks volumes about her relationship with partner Eddie Boxshall
Celebrity couple Denise Van Outen and Eddie Boxshall have been dating for seven years now and in that time, Boxshall has become the chef of the relationship, while Van Outen, in her own words, has become “a bit lazy in the kitchen”.
Having defined roles in the kitchen may be the case for many couples out there, but this can also be a reflection on your personality and how your relationship works – or doesn’t!
Charlotte Hastings, who runs Therapy Kitchen, sat down with the pair for their podcast Before We Say I Do to take them through some cooking therapy. She believes cooking, and how we eat, can be a great insight into a relationship and how we connect.
“Food and cooking are all about love and our connection, our identity as humans and individuals - it is the language of the heart,” Hastings told Yahoo! UK after the recording.
Listen: Denise Van Outen and Eddie Boxshall attempt to cook their first stir fry together
She continued: “It’s a lovely way to know how the other ticks, where their habits come from, what it says about them as a person, where they are strong, vulnerable, connected or distant. We can enter into their world, as Eddie and Denise allowed us to do, engendering deeper understanding.”
For the Celebrity Gogglebox pair, the session revealed some interesting differences in their attitude towards cooking, something which has developed over their time together.
Speaking on the podcast, Van Outen revealed: “I'm a real foodie, and I have to say, I'm really very, very lucky because Eddie is a brilliant cook, so I'm sort of a bit lazy in the kitchen, because Eddie does most of the cooking.”
When Hastings pushed her on this status quo, Van Outen admitted that her other half is a little controlling when it comes to mealtimes!
“If I do attempt to do something, he will step in and tell me that I'm doing it wrong!” she stated.
In response, Boxshall says he hates that sometimes his food isn’t appreciated as much as he would like it to be. He told Hastings that Van Outen takes her time to come to the table, which “really winds me up!”
While this may seem a normal relationship irritation, Hastings believes attitudes to food can actually reveal patterns that may have an impact on a relationship and the intimacy within it.
“Denise not feeling able to cook may put her into a child's place, which isn’t very sexy for her,” Hastings explained.
“While Denise being late to the table, rushing onto the next important thing in her life, could be leaving Eddie under-appreciated, which is again not very sexy for him.”
The session, which was their fifth in the series for the podcast, also revealed the pair have different attitudes towards mealtimes, something that stems back from their childhood. For Van Outen, her dad was the cook and, as her mum was always busy, dinner time was merely a time to refuel.
“I'm similar to my mum - my mum's 100 miles an hour. When I was a kid, she always had two jobs,” Van Outen explained to Hastings.
“My dad did all the cooking, and we sat down to eat, but we weren't one of those families that you sit down, and you chat all over a meal. It was like you sit down just to refuel and then carry on.”
For Boxshall, mealtime was very different and a chance to connect with everyone after a day at work and school, something he tries to do with his family now – despite Van Outen often being too busy!
“Dinner time was quite a big thing for us to sit down as a family,” commented Boxshall. “That's where I've got it from… There were no excuses for us, you had to come down!”
Hastings says insights like this are great for raising questions about habits and why we may still do some things just because we always have.
“Our relationship with food is so basic and primal we often take it for granted, however, we do all have different approaches and it’s a great place to make changes that fit who we are today,” she advises.
The session made Van Outen and Boxshall both realise that though they are quite different personalities, things need to change – at least in the kitchen!
“I think what it highlighted for me is how we are creatures of habit, and how I've never thought about my food habits, how I was brought up and how Eddie's family approach their mealtimes,” concluded Van Outen.
She continued, telling Boxshall: “I think I need to just be less lazy! I've just allowed you to be the person that does all the cooking.”
For Boxshall, he wants to be less critical when it comes to Van Outen taking her turn to cook.
“I'm a bit of a control freak in the kitchen," he admitted. "I need to back off a little bit as well, but it would be nice, as we said to, to start to do something together.”
Hastings, who said the session was full of energy thanks to the pair’s “honesty and strength of character” hopes that they’re able to take something, however small, from it to help strengthen their relationship.
“I think they saw how easy small changes might be to make, how we don't have to do things the same way as when we grew up, and how making date nights at home can bring easy, tasty fun - upstairs and downstairs!” she commented after the session.
“Couple’s therapy — more than individual therapy — helps us to see how our behaviour interacts with others, how we can learn from each other and create new ways of being together.”
Hastings believes we can all learn from our attitudes towards food, and there are simple ways to make the most of those foodie moments in our life.
“Food is something we need with our whole self - mentally, physically and spiritually,” she said.
“There are daily many moments in which to repair, recover and refresh our relationship by offering the olive branch in a meal, lighting a candle for a simple dinner or even a lovely pot of tea that lets the other person know we care, we are there, and they are in our minds.”
Watch: Eddie Boxshall admits his stubbornness has caused issues in relationship with Denise Van Outen