MARK Wright and Michelle Keegan have sparked a flurry of speculation that they are upping sticks to Hollywood after a recent romantic break in Los Angeles.
But Mark, who was based in California from 2017-2020 where he presented primetime US entertainment show Extra, insists a move is NOT on the cards anytime soon.
In fact, he just said no to a massive US TV gig so he could stay put with his wife in their £1.3million mansion.
Speaking exclusively to The Sun, Mark, 35, says: “We love LA but we are not moving back there, not yet anyway.
“I was actually meant to host a really big dating show out there a few months ago but I couldn’t do it because I had to be in a bubble for three months and I wouldn’t have been able to leave so I had to say no.
“When I was out there I saw it on tv and it looked really good, so I was devastated, but I don’t regret leaving LA.
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“Michelle and I love being at home in England. England is so amazing and you don’t realise until you do something like I did how incredible it is. I would never be able to live away again.
"I would certainly go back there for a period of time to do a job, but not full time. I don’t like missing my friends and family.”
And there is another reason Mark was glad to be back in Blighty – those supersized American portions.
'Michelle and I halved our meal portions'
"I definitely put some holiday weight on,” he laughs. “I ate pizzas and burgers and corn dogs and buffalo wings. There is no way to not gain weight unless I am immortal.
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"By the end of the week in LA I missed going to bed feeling healthy -Michelle and I ended up halving the meals in the end.
Mark and his ex-Coronation Street star spouse, 34, are currently back in Essex and living with Mark’s parents, Carol and Mark Snr, while their new pad is being built nearby.
“It’s actually been really enjoyable living back at mum’s, Michelle and I have loved it,” Mark reveals.
“You never think in your 30s that you are going to be living back at home again and you don’t realise the special bond you had with them as a child and a teenager.
"Having dinner with my parents every night and a coffee with them in the morning has been a really special time.”
'Building our dream home has been stressful'
While the couple don’t have a date for moving into their mansion yet, Mark assures us it will be “soon”, although he admits that the three-year renovation project has taken its toll.
Mark says: “The house has been really stressful, I am not going to lie. Someone said to me the other day, ‘You are going to miss this when it’s all done’ and I was like, ‘Trust me, I’m not.’
“I’m really glad we have done it though. It’s perfect. We have designed it to be everything we wanted, from where the windows are to where the toilet sits. Some people might not love it, but for us, it’s our dream home.”
Given that there are few things in life that put more pressure on a marriage that moving house, let alone building one from scratch, have he and the Brassic actress bickered throughout the process?
“No, it’s been smooth sailing,” he insists. “I do the building side and she does the designing and the interiors, so it’s the perfect partnership in that way. We work together well.”
'Being an uncle is incredible'
Having become an auntie and uncle this year to Mark’s brother son Joshua, and with Mark’s sister Jess’s baby boy due this spring, the pair can’t wait to have their nephews round at the new pad.
Mark says: “Being an uncle is the best thing ever and I can’t wait to be one again with Jess’ baby. It’s incredible. I’m definitely going to be the fun uncle, my nephews will be coming over to my house and getting away with everything.”
Career-wise, Mark is also looking to the future with a top-secret project lined up soon unlike anything he has done before.
He reveals: “I can’t say what it is yet but it’s completely different for me, It’s the most excited I have ever been for a show and one of the my favourite things I have ever done.
'I'll leave acting to Michelle – maybe I'll host a talk show like James Corden'
“One good thing about working in America is they don’t make you stay in one lane, you can do different stuff, whereas here in England sometimes they like to pigeonhole you.
“If you are someone that has come from a reality background like I have, you wouldn’t even dare to try and get a role in a big drama here. Not that I’m trying to do a drama – I’ll leave the acting to the pros like my wife – but I don’t want to be pigeonholed. I like to be versatile.
“Look at James Corden. In America, he does a bit of everything – he’s acting in movies, he does a talk show, presents, produces. Maybe I’d like my own talk show one day, or maybe in five years’ time I might be hosting the Olympics. Who knows?”
One thing Mark is sure of is that he always wants health and fitness to be part of his brand, having launched his successful Live Wright app in 2020, followed by a cookbook last year.
'I have my vices like anyone'
He is currently working with California Almonds to raise awareness about healthy snacking choices after research showed our energy levels slump around 11am.
Mark explains: “I work out a lot so I can often feel weak as the day goes on. I have my vices like anyone and it can be easy to reach for the chocolate, but almonds are a great alternative.
"I’ve always snacked on them, they are one of the healthiest nuts you can have and they are great for when you are on-the-go.”
Speaking of training, Mark is blown away by his pal James ‘Arg’ Argent’s 14 stone weight loss after he underwent a gastric sleeve op.
He says: “Arg is doing so well, I am so proud of him. We do the odd training session together but he has done most of it on his own.
“I saw him the other day and he is training hard and eating healthily. He is really enjoying his newfound healthy lifestyle.”
'Love is more important than work'
It’s hard to believe it will be twelve years this October since Mark, along with Arg, first found fame on reality juggernaut, The Only Way Is Essex.
“I think if the last twelve years has taught me anything, it’s taught me to be grateful,” Mark explains. “Sometimes I reflect and realise how incredible it has been and what this career has done for me.
“I have this beautiful life and amazing career, but when you work in an industry that can take you away from home a lot and isn’t always real, you realise that love and happiness is what is most important.
“In this industry, it can be easy to get sucked up in the bulls**t where people pretend to be your best friend but aren’t.
“I have this saying that if you’re a bad person already, fame can make you worse, but if you are a good person fame will make you better.
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“I love what I do but I know what matters in life. If I had a choice between going to the best awards ceremony there is, or going down the village pub with my mates for a pint of beer, it wouldn’t even come close.”
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