Strictly hopeful Les Dennis opens up on the realities of being an older dad

Les Dennis discusses joining Strictly Come Dancing 2023

Les Dennis has opened up about being an “older dad”. 

The Strictly Come Dancing 2023 star was 54 when third wife Claire Nicholson gave birth to their first child, daughter Eleanor, and he was 57 when son Thomas followed.

However, the actor – who also has son Philip from a previous marriage – is all too aware of the responsibilities of fatherhood in later life, vowing: “I want to be here when I am 100.”

Talking to The Sun, the 69-year-old divulged that a health check had revealed him to be “pre-diabetic”, and that catching it early enough to avoid it developing gave him the wake-up call he needed to overhaul his lifestyle.

“It has made me take responsibility for my own health. Being an older dad I want to be there for my kids,” he continued.

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“They are the most important thing to me. I have to fulfil the responsibility to my kids.”

After the doctor dropped the bombshell, Les dropped from 15st – which he said he knew was “too high” – down to 12st.

He is proud to say that he has totally reversed the type two pre-diabetes diagnosis thanks to cutting out wine and white bread, and exercising to the tune of 10,000 steps per day.

Meanwhile, this year will see him continue to stay in shape thanks to all the exercise he plans to rack up while rehearsing for his Strictly debut.

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Les, who was once married to Heart FM presenter Amanda Holden, is also following a strict Mediterranean diet, which he says is known to reduce the risk of developing diabetes or heart attacks.

Although white wine is now completely off the menu, Les isn’t restricting everything – and he admits he still indulges in the occasional beer or Magnum ice-cream.

However, the weight has dropped off, and he is ready for the competition to heat up in Strictly.

The star became aware that some fans had accused him of having an “unfair advantage” ahead of the contest due to his impressive back catalogue of performing in musicals.

Yet the 42nd Street star is adamant that he isn’t as accomplished on the dance floor as the public might imagine.

He declared on Good Morning Britain this week: “I do a little soft shoe shuffle with Michael Ball in Hairspray, but I’m not trained and certainly not when it comes to ballroom and Latin. I don’t know about the cha-cha-cha!”

Les will also be competing against some celebrities who are much younger than him, including 20-year-old EastEnders actor Bobby Brazier.

Others that he’ll be up against include former tennis ace Annabel Croft, 57, and newsreader Krishnan Guru-Murthy, 53. actress Amanda Abbington, 51, and 78-year-old presenter Angela Rippon.

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