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‘Hopefully this is forever’: The woman Dame Kelly Holmes has finally found happiness with – massage therapist girlfriend is set to leave Northern Ireland to share Loose Women star’s Kent home


Dame Kelly Holmes has opened up about the woman she’s now sharing her life with, saying she’s so smitten with new girlfriend Louise Cullen that the pair are about to move in together. 

The massage therapist from Northern Ireland is set to move into the Loose Woman’s luxury Kent pad next month – with Holmes recently describing their romance as the most successful relationship she’s ever had. 

Cullen, who Holmes calls ‘Lou’, runs a sports massage business and is as fanatical about fitness as her former Olympian partner. 

Holmes, who came out in June 2022 and publishes her memoir Unique in November, told the Sunday Mirror she was ready for the next step, saying while she doesn’t want to put pressure on their relationship by saying it’s ‘forever’, she’s hopeful it is, adding: ‘She loves me for me.’ 

The double gold medal Olympian also opened up about past relationships, saying being closeted while living in the public eye made it difficult to meet new partners.

Pictured in April: Kelly Holmes and girlfriend Louise Cullen. The Loose Women star, 53, told the Sunday Mirror that the couple are preparing to move in together next month

Pictured in April: Kelly Holmes and girlfriend Louise Cullen. The Loose Women star, 53, told the Sunday Mirror that the couple are preparing to move in together next month

This weekend, the loved up pair were seen on Holmes’ Instagram enjoying a Halloween shindig with friends, with both women dressed in Day of the Dead outfits. 

The couple first met via an online community dedicated to fitness during lockdown and Holmes says their love was a ‘slow burner’ that didn’t really take off until restrictions were lifted and they could meet up in person. 

Holmes told the newspaper: ‘I’m just happy… I’m happy with Lou. It makes it a lot easier being with somebody that I really get on with, and who just likes me for me. 

‘Lou’s a different person… she’s a nice person. She’s somebody that doesn’t want anything. She’s really not interested in the work side of me, she doesn’t really want to be in the limelight.’

In January, Cullen shared on her work Instagram page that she’d been delighted to help Holmes at a pop-up clinic. 

This weekend, the couple celebrated Halloween with friends dressing in Day of the Dead costumes

Cullen in her role as a sports massage therapist

This weekend, the couple celebrated Halloween with friends. Right: Cullen in her role as a sports massage therapist. Ahead of the release of her autobiography Unique, Holmes has opened up about her relationship 

The Olympian pictured during a visit to a pop-up massage centre run by Louise back in January

The Olympian pictured during a visit to a pop-up massage centre run by Louise back in January

Cullen wrote: ‘It’s always a pleasure to work with an athlete or sports person, and be a part of their recovery and rehabilitation; helping them keep performing at their best!’

Elsewhere Kelly revealed how she found it difficult to meet people after she won her gold medals as she wasn’t out of the closet yet. 

In her memoir she paid tribute to her ex-Sarah’s incredible friendship and loyalty, saying that in 25 years she never betrayed her trust or revealed she was gay. 

She admitted, until now, her relationships have never been as successful because previous partners struggled with her sexuality being kept a secret.

Last month on Loose Women, Holmes revealed the couple are ready to live together. 

She told her co-hosts: ‘I’m a workaholic, but I’ve met someone recently who is the most I’ve ever connected with, and your priorities change.

‘My partner’s telling me to slow down for my health. I’m never at home. My partner is moving down in November to live with me. I’m terrified.’

Further detailing her nerves, Kelly almost became emotional as she thought of how co-habitating will change her life.

Relationship: Kelly Holmes has revealed she is taking the next step in her relationship and moving in with her girlfriend

Relationship: Kelly Holmes has revealed she is taking the next step in her relationship and moving in with her girlfriend

Candid: The Olympian, 53, who has kept her partner out of the public eye, admitted she is 'terrified' to switch up her living situation but described the relationship as the best one she has never had

Candid: The Olympian, 53, who has kept her partner out of the public eye, admitted she is ‘terrified’ to switch up her living situation but described the relationship as the best one she has never had

She said: ‘It’s massive I’m gonna cry. It’s massive to admit that I’m gonna make a change for somebody.’

The athlete, who won the 800m and 1,500m titles at the 2004 Olympic games, spoke openly about her sexuality for the first time in June as she declared that she ‘finally feels free’ after years of living a ‘secret’ life.

The athletics star admitted she was ‘fully aware’ of rumours about her sexual orientation but is now happy to be coming out ‘on her own terms’.

Speaking to the Mirror, she said: ‘There have been lots of dark times where I wished I could scream that I am gay – but I couldn’t.

‘I needed to do this now, for me. It was my decision. I’m nervous about saying it. I feel like I’m going to explode with excitement. Sometimes I cry with relief. The moment this comes out, I’m essentially getting rid of that fear.’

Kelly confirmed at the time she has a partner but didn’t want to give any further details, admitting it is the first time she hasn’t introduced someone as a ‘friend or PA’.

She explained how her family and close friends have known for years she is gay but she worried about being in trouble for breaching retrospective rules in the Forces.

At the time, the forces had a ban on LGBT soldiers, which was only lifted in 2000. Kelly had relationships with other women during her 10 years in service.

Kelly said: 'My partner's telling me to slow down for my health. I'm never at home. My partner is moving down in November to live with me. I'm terrified'

Kelly said: ‘My partner’s telling me to slow down for my health. I’m never at home. My partner is moving down in November to live with me. I’m terrified’ 

'Finally free'! The Olympic runner spoke about her sexuality for the first time last year as she declared she 'finally feels free' after years of living a 'secret' life (pictured 2004)

‘Finally free’! The Olympic runner spoke about her sexuality for the first time last year as she declared she ‘finally feels free’ after years of living a ‘secret’ life (pictured 2004)

Smiling again: The athletics star admitted she was 'fully aware' of rumours about her sexual orientation but is now happy to be coming out 'on her own terms'

Smiling again: The athletics star admitted she was ‘fully aware’ of rumours about her sexual orientation but is now happy to be coming out ‘on her own terms’

Kelly, who chose to come out during Pride month, told how she first realised she was gay when she kissed another female soldier at the age of 17. 

After the kiss, Kelly recalled writing to her stepdad who she shares a close relationship with to explain what had happened.

She was ‘confused and scared’ but Kelly revealed her stepfather accepted her straight away before coming out to the rest of her family in 1997.

Touching on her previous relationships with women, she said: ‘No disrespect to them, but the relationships have only been a small part of my life.

‘They haven’t been in this fearful world with me for 34 years.’

Kelly, who was made a Dame in 2005, said she dated one woman between the ages of 27 and 32 but broke off the relationship in 2002 so she was able to focus on the Athens Olympics.



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