Lisa Riley says you do weddings 'for other people' as she reveals she won't marry fiancé

National Television Awards 2020 January - Arrivals - London
Lisa Riley during the National Television Awards at London's O2 Arena.
You do weddings for 'other people', says Lisa Riley. (PA Images)

Lisa Riley has spoken candidly about the very personal reason why she has decided to no longer marry her fiancé.

The Emmerdale star, 46, known for playing Mandy Dingle in the soap, has called off her four-year engagement to partner Al, who she keeps relatively out of the limelight, posting him just occasionally on social media.

"We've lost both our mums. And when it comes to things like weddings, you do it for the other people," Riley told the Mirror in an interview.

While she knew tying the knot without her late mother present would be hard, she has since lost her future mother-in-law too.

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"We don't want to change anything," she added.

"Both of us talk about it all the time and feel as long as we're happy we don't need rings on our fingers."

While Riley's character has been married multiple times on our screens, she will now no longer wed in her own life.

"I'm never going to change my name, so really, what would be different?" she explained, speaking more practically. "And I wouldn't be able to wear a wedding band very much because I've always got Mandy's jewellery on.

"Plus, I've always said I'm not the kind of girl who wants a big flouncy day with a horse and carriage."

Read more: Married couple 'split house in two' to cope with living together after 20 years apart

Lisa Riley attends the Virgin TV British Academy Television Awards ceremony at the Royal Festival Hall on May 13, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo credit should read Wiktor Szymanowicz / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
Both Lisa Riley and her partner Al lost their mothers to cancer. (Getty Images)

Al's mother died of cancer earlier this year at 79-years-old. Meanwhile, last month marked the 10th anniversary of Riley's mum Cath's passing, from breast cancer.

This makes her role on screen all-the-more meaningful, with her aunt Faith Dingle, played by Sally Dexter, suffering from terminal breast cancer.

"Emmerdale have been working with the charity I'm an ambassador for, Breast Cancer Now, they're helping with advice for Sally as well," said Riley.

"There's a storyline going on soon, where I think my fellow cast members saw me go a bit insular. I can't give much away, but I thought Sally nailed exactly what happens in palliative care, and I've seen that for real."

Riley "can't shout from the rooftop" how important it is for women to get check ups, to help potentially save lives.

Read more: How to check for breast cancer symptoms and detect the condition early

While she decided to return to set after just days after Al's mum's death, despite no pressure from her work to do so, she soon realised it was too early.

"They [work] knew that I went through personal trauma seeing somebody I loved like a mother going through a hell of a lot with her treatment," she explained.

However, Riley added, "Being me, I came back to work four days between her passing and the funeral, and I shouldn't have. I would go to do a take and everybody would see I'd been crying."

She then took some much needed time off after the funeral.

"It wasn't just a case of what I'm going through but I had to be there for Al as well, as he needed my support."

Riley met musician Al, who she hasn't revealed his full name, in 2014 through mutual friends.

Undated handout photo issued by ITV of Lisa Riley playing Mandy Dingle, who is to return to the ITV soap Emmerdale for the first time in 17 years. (PA Images)
Lisa Riley as Mandy Dingle in the ITV soap Emmerdale. (PA Images)

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While this month marks her big decision to call off any weddings, and continue just living happily with Al instead, it's also her seventh anniversary of giving up alcohol.

Riley has previously spoken about how drinking took time away from being with her mum. "I blame that party time of where I was always hungover the next day, where I wasn't myself, as hours I could've gained when mum was alive," she said on the One for the road podcast last year.

But, posting about her huge achievement on Instagram the other day, Riley wrote of her 'lucky 7', "I CELEBRATE VERY VERY VERY PROUDLY 7 YEARS SOBER….it’s only fair I put it brightly in the spotlight….Living a life to to the absolute fullest. Smiling from ear to ear.

"I don’t hide behind anything- Not needing “liquid courage”……I have conversations because I want to, not because I’m bored.-and let me please admit my favourite, I laugh naturally….

"Loving that I’m living a clear, real, honest, sincere, true existence….There is never a day where I wake up and feel like I’m not ME….with a built in “natural courage” that has the confidence to say, “if you don’t like me….well so be it”…….I couldn’t care less, not one tiny inch what people think, and I love that, confidence and positivity puts the biggest spring in my step….

"Because for so so so many years I hid behind “drunk me” as I wasn’t happy. But happiness now flows through my veins….not Malbec."

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