Former Nolan Sister (ask your mom or dad) and now TV favourite Coleen Nolan has put the boot into daytime show Loose Women labelling it “a bitchfest”.
Coleen, 47, who quit the ITV1 series after 11 years, said there were regular behind-the-scene rows with co-presenters Denise Welch and Carol McGiffin. And, twisting the knife, Coleen says her new three-day-week job on This Morning is “a breath of fresh air” compared with Loose Women’s all female environment.
In a hard-hitting exclusive interview she told The People: “I don’t miss Loose Women one bit, it was hard and there was so much bitching. “There were so many women trying to do their jobs but working so closely together. I don’t really speak to the girls now, we text sometimes but I’ve left. “I look back and, yes, it was bitchy. Sometimes it could be very difficult. I don’t regret that I left, I’ve moved on now.” She went on “As anyone who works with lots of women will know, it can be tough. It turns into a bitchfest. We were all strong, independent women with strong opinions. That’s why we were given jobs on the show but sometimes there were clashes.”
Coleen, who was one fifth of 70s and 80s hit band the Nolan Sisters, was one of the first panellists when she joined Loose Women in 2000. Three years later Carol McGiffin, 52, the ex-wife of Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans, 46, was signed up. In 2006, ex-Coronation Street star Denise Welch, 53, joined the panel of women.
While both became close friends of mum-of-three Coleen, she said she doesn’t speak to them much any more, preferring just to exchange the odd text message. She said: “I worked with some of the girls for years, we became friends but there were arguments. There were rows with the likes of Carol and Denise. At times we all fell out.”
Coleen also felt the show was getting stale. “It was the same old thing every day, every week and became tedious. I needed something new to freshen up my career. When I got the chance to go to work for This Morning, I jumped at it. I wanted to take myself out of that bitchy situation and be my own person.”
Coleen, who was married to EastEnders star Shane Richie for nine years, left Loose Women in September. She said: “It’s nice to be away from all of that. I’m sure people are glad I’m not on it any more, there were only so many times I could slag off my ex-husband Shane over the 11 years.
“It was the same subject coming up time and time again. There are only so many opinions you can have. So it’s nice to be talking about different stories and issues on This Morning. I don’t really watch Loose Women any more but that’s not intentional. I’m usually on my way home from work.”
Another thing Coleen does not mind missing is the wild drunken nights out with the other Loose Women. On one particular night, Denise famously flashed her knickers and bra as she left a London hotel. But Coleen, who is now happily married to musician Ray Fensome, always avoided such events and reckons that instead she would be the resident “alcohol police”. She said: “I was the odd one out when it came to getting drunk. “I don’t really drink a lot. If I have two drinks then I’m on the floor. I was the alcohol police, I would be on their cases telling them not to get too drunk, because if they’re anything like me then they will get very drunk. I would have to be the one warning them to be sensible.”
“However, as you could see from their behaviour, they didn’t really ever listen to me.” Today Coleen reckons she’s got the perfect job. She spends three days in London but every Wednesday afternoon returns to her home in Wilmslow, Cheshire, where she lives with husband Ray and daughter, Ciara, 11.
Life has also taken a turn for the better for Denise who tearfully confessed on Loose Women that her 24-year marriage to Benidorm star Tim Healy, 60, had collapsed. Last week the ex-Waterloo Road star revealed she is in love with Lincoln Townley, 39, and they plan to move in together. Loose Women is currently anchored by Carol Vorderman, 51, and when Coleen quit last year she said: “I can’t believe I’m leaving – it’s so weird.”
But that feeling has passed and she really enjoys her new work. She said: “I love it, I’m in London Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday but then I go home to my lovely husband who, unlike me, does enjoy the odd beer and we have a lovely family life. That’s what’s important to me.”