Inside Holly Willoughby's dream marriage to Dan Baldwin ahead of Netflix venture

Dan Baldwin (L) and Holly Willoughby
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images Europe)

Holly Willoughby is embarking on an exciting new phase in her life, with her husband Dan Baldwin by her side for support.

The 43 year old left This Morning last October and is now heading to the Central American jungle with Bear Grylls for the upcoming Netflix survival show, Bear Hunt. This represents a significant milestone in Holly's career, as she hopes to establish herself on a global stage.

Behind the scenes, Dan has been a constant source of support throughout Holly's career progression, from a beloved children's TV presenter to a well-known household name.

Below is a look at Holly and Dan's marriage, from his romantic bathtub proposal to their daily golden rules, as reported by the Mirror.

From friends to lovers

Holly Willoughby and her husband Dan Baldwin
Holly Willoughby and her husband Dan -Credit:Instagram

Dan and Holly first met while working on the CITV show Ministry of Mayhem, which debuted in 2004 before being renamed Holly and Stephen's Saturday Showdown. A close friendship developed between the producer and presenter during what Holly fondly refers to as her "university years".

Their love story wasn't a whirlwind but rather a gradual ignition of romance. Holly previously shared with Woman and Home magazine that it was six months of "very intense friendship" before she saw Dan in a romantic light.

She admitted: "At first, I didn't fancy Dan at all I didn't even think about it. I don't think he could have fancied me either because it was such a genuine friendship."

It was one evening that turned the tide for their relationship. Recounting the moment on her Wylde Moon Instagram account, Holly reminisced: "I remember this one night we were in the bar and I cheersed Dan.

"And I remember my eye just caught him for a little bit longer than it should have done, and I looked at him, and thought, 'Oh my god, I fancy Dan Baldwin'. It took me by complete surprise, and then the rest is history."

She went on to say: "Looking back on it now I think what I was thinking was an intense friendship was probably me falling in love. I think that's a really good basis for romance because we have that friendship still now and we've got three beautiful children, and we're very happy and I'm very blessed every day for having him in my life."

Holly believes that the foundation of their relationship is the strong bond of friendship they share, coupled with laughter and joyous times together. She considers this the key to maintaining their lovely dynamic.

Secret dates

Holly Willoughby poses with partner Dan Baldwin at a public event
David and Holly first met back in 2004 -Credit:David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images

Despite taking her time to acknowledge her feelings for Dan, once Holly started dating him, it was apparent they were a perfect match. At the beginning of their relationship, they chose to keep it under wraps due to concerns about how others might react.

In an interview with Woman and Home, Holly confided: "I knew he was 'The One' pretty quickly. But we kept it a secret for eight months because I didn't want to give anyone a reason to be annoyed with us."

Bathtub Proposal

In an unexpected romantic gesture in 2006, Dan popped the question to Holly as she was enjoying a soak in the bath, leading to her joyful acceptance.

Reminiscing with the Mirror in 2007 following their honeymoon, Holly shared: "I know a lot of people almost have to force their boyfriend to propose but with Dan, it was such a shock. I knew I'd be with him for the rest of my life if he'd have me, but nothing can ever prepare you for what it's like when someone asks you."

She expressed the profound impact of the proposal, saying: "I can't think of any other big decision you make in your life that quickly. Suddenly they're not just someone you're in love with, they become part of your family."

Holly and Dan exchanged their vows on August 4, 2007, with a ceremony at St Michael's Church followed by a glamorous reception at Amberley Castle in West Sussex, a location as historic as it is stunning.

A thrilled bride Holly doodled her dream vision for a vintage lace gown alongside an Alexander McQueen pattern cutter, taking cues from her mother's long-sleeved wedding dress from the '70s. Reflecting on her special day on their 16th wedding anniversary, in an article on her Wylde Moon website, Holly reminisced: "I had in my head exactly what I wanted, but I couldn't find it anywhere!

"I knew I wanted it to be very vintage, lace, with long sleeves, a high neck and a beautiful, open back, as that's what everyone sees when you walk down the aisle. Oh, and a long train...if you can't do that on your wedding day when can you?"


pregnant Holly Willoughby
Holly and Dan have three children together -Credit:Yui Mok/PA Wire

Holly and her husband Dan are proud parents of three - Harry, Belle, and Chester and fiercely protect their children's privacy. During a 2021 episode of This Morning, Holly remarked: "I choose not to put my children's faces on Instagram because I know once they're out there, they're for public consumption."

Nonetheless, the presenter has shared glimpses into their family life at home, especially as her kids reach new milestones. In a heart-to-heart during a 2022 interview with the Manchester Evening News, Holly divulged: "My oldest is 13 now and the relationship changes hugely.

You know, they sit at the table with you and you are talking about things that aren't just about what they got up to at school that day, it's about how they view and see the world and I'm really enjoying it.

"I'm enjoying this phase and seeing all those things that you put in place throughout their early childhood years, suddenly blooming and I can't wait for more of that and just being a bit of a spectator with a helping hand!"

Second honeymoon

In 2017, the much-adored couple Holly and Dan headed out on their second honeymoon, radiating the same joy as when they were first hitched.

Coming back to This Morning after their enchanting stay in Cannes, Holly shared with her viewers: "Dan and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. We had our first week away without the children - a couple's holiday - it was the first time since our honeymoon. And it was amazing. It was nice to have just us and have that time, it was just magical."

Pictures from their idyllic getaway exhibit the couple jubilantly jumping off a yacht into the sea and unwinding together on deck, epitomising marital happiness.

Golden marriage rules

Holly Willoughby and Dan Baldwin seen attending Annabel's 4th anniversary party on March 10, 2022 in London, England.
The celeb couple still know to have fun -Credit:GC Images

Speaking of the essential ingredients for a lasting marriage, Holly didn't shy away from revealing the golden rules she and Dan abide by, encompassing everything from navigating compromises to fostering romance.

In a candid conversation with Wylde Moon, Holly underscored the significance of persistent efforts, clarifying: "By effort, I'm not talking about looking nice for your husband, I'm talking about carving out time in your lives for each other.

"If you can't have a date night, then make sure you sit around the table and eat together, have a glass of something and talk through your day. It's so easy to live under the same roof and experience the same life but in parallel lanes rather than together.

"Sometimes you forget to look up and really see each other. 'Oh there you are... there you actually are'. If you continue to put as much energy into your marriage as you do all the other relationships you have in life, you'll not go far wrong."

In a candid chat with The Telegraph's Stella magazine, Holly opened up about the secret to a strong marriage and the importance of sacrifice.

She talked about stepping away from her lifestyle brand Truly to concentrate on family life: "You cannot have it all. Truly was something I was very passionate about, but my husband has a really high-pressured, busy job and I have three kids and other projects. My son Harry has really got into football and I want to be able to take him there so he can do what he loves."

Holly explained that ensuring her marriage remains strong is paramount, adding: "I didn't want to be in a position where I was working in the evenings and couldn't be with them. It's not just about me having my dream and everyone fitting round it, it's about putting family first and making that choice. So in the end it was very clear, I just had to pull back and say: 'No'."

Marriage Pact

As Holly contemplates a fresh career path, it appears she won't be part of her husband Dan's speculated revival of the legendary Cilla Black dating show Blind Date. An insider revealed to new! magazine: "When Holly's husband Dan admitted he wants to do a Blind Date remake, everyone thought it would be Holly fronting the show.

"But the fact that he has eyed up Claudia Winkleman for it just goes to show that Holly is really trying to distance herself from the TV she's been associated with for so long.

"In the past, she'd have jumped at the chance to do an iconic TV show like that. Dan knows she would be perfect, but they have decided that she needs to take a step away from the mainstream shows for a bit and concentrate on her re-brand. It's their marriage pact."

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