The technique that helped Denise Van Outen reconnect with partner Eddie Boxshall

Jayne Cherrington-Cook
·5 min read

Watch: Denise Van Outen and Eddie Boxshall meet a psychosexual therapist in their new podcast, Before We Say I Do...

In her new podcast, Denise Van Outen admits to feeling “disconnected” from partner of seven years, Eddie Boxshall.

The revelation came in the first episode of her new podcast Before We Say I Do, where the couple explore different types of counselling each week, starting with psychosexual therapy. While such therapy is often used to address sexual problems in a relationship, it can also be a great way to rediscover a connection with your partner.

In the episode, the couple go through a bridging exercise with therapist Cate Mackenzie, who describes the Dancing On Ice star as an octopus!

Mackenzie said that as a “pioneer woman”, Van Outen needs to slow down to accommodate Eddie’s needs. As a turtle, he’s a lot slower and likes to take his time when it comes to opening up.

Listen: Eddie Boxshall is told he’s a turtle – and Denise Van Outen agrees!

“The turtle often requires a lot more slowing down, a lot more pootle time, if you like, in order to connect,” explained Mackenzie.

She continued: “They need it to be very relaxed because for them, if you ask a turtle to immediately open up emotionally, it's like asking them to go in the deep sea underwater with no air equipment.

“Whereas for an octopus, they're like, ‘Just tell me what you feel, I'll take it on board. Tell me now!’”

To help the pair find the right environment in which to connect, Mackenzie took them on a bridging exercise. This is a way of communication, which slows two people down and can help create foster a deep connection between them.

Read more: Denise Van Outen opens up about her love life: 'I’ve let work take over my relationship'

Mackenzie, who is a COSRT Accredited Psychosexual therapist and Couples Counsellor, has many scripts on her site that couples can use, but for this session, she asked Boxshall to recall a special moment between him and Van Outen. Immediately, he chose a trip to the Maldives that the couple took early on in their relationship.

“The Maldives to me was when we first were seeing each other and things started getting serious,” he explains.

“We decided to go away with one another and it was just the two of us, so I'm going back to that. It's a more special place because with life and the way things have gone - with kids, the house, work - just going back to when it was just me and you.”

Van Outen is then encouraged to retell the story back to Boxshall, which helps to create a bridge between the two of them, what Mackenzie calls the “neurobiology of connection”.

To finish the bridging session, the couple end up holding hands and open up about what they find attractive about each other. Mackenzie says holding hands helps to build that connection.

Read more: The subtle changes in language that could reveal your relationship is about to break up

“The hand holding creates oxytocin - the happiness hormone - and builds connection and safety,” she said.

“Also, this relaxes people, which helps them open up to listening to each other.”

Eddie and Denise both hope the experience will help them iron out any relationship niggles they have
Eddie and Denise both hope the experience will help them iron out any relationship niggles they have

For Boxshall, taking a chance to sit and look directly as this TV star girlfriend gives him a new appreciation of her gorgeous eyes, while Van Outen is just bowled over by his looks in general!

“I feel like you've got better looking in this session,” she laughs. “You actually look more handsome than you did in the beginning!”

Read more: Denise van Outen threw up from pain of 'Dancing On Ice' injury

The pair both agree that taking time to compliment each other is lovely and not something they usually do.

“I do obviously say that you're handsome, but what I've realised throughout these sessions is I say it to other people,” Van Outen admitted at the end of the podcast.

“If my friend said to me, 'What do you love about Eddie?' I'll quite happily - and you don't hear it - I'll go, ‘Oh my God. I just think he's so good looking. He's the first person I've been out with that I still fancy after years.’”

Psychosexual therapist Cate Mackenzie said it's obvious that Denise and Eddie really love each other
Psychosexual therapist Cate Mackenzie said it's obvious that Denise and Eddie really love each other

Mackenzie says she thoroughly enjoyed working with the pair and can see that they do love each other very much.

“I loved the session with them,” she told Yahoo Style after the recording.

“It seemed like they enjoyed having time to really be with each other and to cherish each other and that shined through for me,”

“I wish I’d had two hours… But I feel we did well in the one hour and they went into a deep connection quickly. It is clear that they are such a loving couple and also it is great that they are open to getting this support to listen to each other.”

If you’re experiencing issues surrounding any of the things covered in this article, support is available at relate.org.uk

Hear why Denise Van Outen thinks her and boyfriend Eddie Boxshall desperately need to reconnect in the first episode of Before We Say I DO. Listen now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and acast.

Watch: Denise Van Outen talks about getting married to Eddie Boxshall