FANS of Stacey Solomon and Joe Swash were over the moon when the down-to-earth celebrity couple tied the knot at their idyllic Pickle Cottage home.
The romantic, intimate ceremony took place in the garden of their forever home on July 24 and marked a brand new chapter in their fairytale relationship.
However, it’s been a long-time coming for both Joe 40, and Stacey, 32, who have both had to overcome a few obstacles to reach their happily ever after.
Before he settled into his role as a family man with his and Stacey’s son Rex, two, eight-month-old daughter Rose, and his two-stepsons Zachary, 14, and Leighton, ten, Joe spent years on the single market.
The EastEnders actor also endured the heartbreak of a ‘tricky’ court battle with his ex-girlfriend over his eldest child Harry, 15.
Here, Fabulous reveals how Joe moved on from the heartbreak of his past to bag his dream woman, and in turn become the ultimate family man…
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THE ETERNAL BACHELOR
Before he fell into the arms of his Loose Women star wife in 2016, Joe spent six years solo.
His previous relationship had been with fellow EastEnders actor, Kara Tointon.
The pair first met in 2005 when they played Mickey Miller and Dawn Swann on the soap, but it wasn’t until after Joe left the show in 2008 that they became a couple – however, it was short-lived love with the pair parting ways in 2010.
Prior to Kara, Joe’s only other known long-term relationship was with the mother of his son Harry, Emma Sophocleus.
Emma and Joe dated between 2005 and 2008, when their relationship famously ended.
When he began dating Stacey, not only did Joe have to adjust to living with her kids, he also had to introduce her family to his own son, Harry.
The dad has previously hinted about his ‘tricky’ relationship with Harry’s mum Emma, revealing that the pair had to go to court to settle custody issues over their son.
Joe previously opened up on the podcast, Step Life.
He explained: "With me and Harry it was tricky with his mum.
"We had to go to court and stuff like that. So in hindsight it's a great thing. But it's been a strange one for Hal – he's had to do a lot of adapting.
"I do feel quite sorry for Hal for what he's had to go through.
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"Me and Hal, we're in each other's lives on a daily basis now.
"We talk to each other every day, we see each other every couple of days, he only lives 20 minutes away from me and at the beginning, maybe even five years ago, it's completely different to what it is now."
Stacey and Joe have both said that their relationship had a good basis as they were good friends before anything turned romantic.
The pair were introduced during I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here in 2010.
They became good friends, and Joe later admitted he'd fancied Stacey back then, but it wasn't the right time.
It wasn’t until six years later that the pair finally got together.
The pair first sparked dating rumours in January 2016 when Stacey posted a snap of herself on a spa weekend stating that she felt like a "new woman".
Just days later she was spotted arm-in-arm with Joe in Essex.
That same month, Stacey made it official on Instagram – sharing a snap of her new boyfriend with some flowers.
But the pair admit that sparks didn’t immediately fly, as Joe previously admitted that his first kiss with Stacey was like “kissing a dead person.”
“We’re very blended and we make it work.
Appearing on Shopping With Keith Lemon, Joe told how the pair got close in Australia when Stacey was a guest on spin-off show I'm A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! NOW! which he presented.
He said: "We spent loads of time together and before I knew it she was going home so I thought, I'll make a move."
Stacey added: "He opened the door and he just jumped on me. Keith, I didn't know what to do so I just stood there like this."
Joe then quipped: "It was like kissing a dead person! She didn't move, no tongue action, it was all me. With my tongue I was trying to find her tongue. I was like, 'what's going on here?'."
The adorable couple moved in together in Essex during October 2018 after three years of dating.
Since, they have paved the way for other blended families, with both having kids from previous relationships.
After the court's ruling, Joe's relationship with his son has flourished and Harry has become part of the wider family.
The Loose Women panelist also has children from previous relationships with Dean Cox and Aaron Barham.
The pair welcomed baby boy Rex Toby Francis Swash, on May 23, 2019. His younger sister Rose Opal Esme Solomon-Swash was born in October 2021.
Opening up about their family dynamic, Joe told OK! Magazine last year: “We’re very blended and we make it work. But like every blended family, it’s a constant progression and a journey.”
He continued: “One of the kids may not be happy with something, another one with something else, so you’re always adapting.
“There’s no right or wrong way of doing it, you’ve just got to try to do what’s best for everyone and remember that everyone’s got a point of view, even the kids.”
Since moving in with his now wife, Joe has left his bachelor past behind and has fully embraced his role as a dad and stepdad.
In fact, he could now be described as the ultimate family man, delighting in doing the school run, whipping up meals for the kids and maintaining a good work/life balance alongside Stacey.
Joe revealed: "[All the kids] go to different schools, activities and have their own lives. But we manage it.
“When Stacey’s having a busy period, I’ll take some time off work and do the school run and other bits. And when I’m busy, Stacey will.”
He also revealed his love of cooking up family feasts and how it inspired him to sign up to the 2021 series of MasterChef.
Since I’ve had the kids I feel a lot more settled
He added: "I do cook at home for the kids – a bit of pasta, dishes that everyone can cook.
"And I love making a Sunday roast. That’s the reason I wanted to do the show, so I could learn some skills and techniques to pass on to the family."
While Joe admitted he's seen a big change in himself since meeting Stacey and settling down.
He continued: “I’ve always been a little bit of a live wire and got FOMO really badly and wanted to be in the thick of things, out with my pals.
“I was also a little bit scatty. But since I’ve had the kids I feel a lot more settled and don’t feel the need to go out and get drunk.”
He continued: “I just really love being with my kids. There’s never a dull day.”
HAPPILY EVER AFTER
In December 2020, Stacey revealed Joe had proposed with a huge diamond ring on a walk in the woods.
She posted a picture of her flashing the ring, overcome with emotion, as she lay back on a huge bunch of flowers.
Stacey explained how Joe popped the question while on a walk in the woods opposite their house with her two sons and son Rex.
The star wrote: "He asked me to marry him and after crying for what felt like a very long time… I said yes" adding emojis of a heart and diamond ring.
She then added a personal message to Joe: "To the moon and back bub. I have no words."
And in March this year, the couple and their family moved into their £1.2million Essex house.
The Tap To Tidy author captioned her photo with a gushing tribute to her family, writing: "Home Sweet Home. And so a new chapter begins. We can not even describe how strange it feels that this is home.
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"Never in a million years did we ever think this would be. We feel so lucky and are so grateful to have found this hidden treasure closer to our family and further out.
"We can’t wait to fill it with love and give it our everything. To raise our family here. And to just start a fresh. I’m very emotional for some reason. It still hasn’t sunk in and doesn’t quite feel real.”
Now, Stacey's wishes have come true, as she and Joe are officially husband and wife, having tied the knot in July 2022 in a private garden ceremony.
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