Mark Labbett is recognised as one of the most prominent celebrities on British reality TV.
The 55-year-old quickly became a household name in 2009 when he shot to fame on ITV’s The Chase.
Otherwise known as The Beast, Mark has always put on a brave face while in the public domain, sometimes even masking the turmoil that went on behind closed doors in his private life.
Although he’s aimed to be discreet about details of his romantic relationships and personal struggles, Mark’s love life has been the subject of many headlines throughout the years – especially in relation to his open marriage with ex-wife Katie.
In August last year, the TV star announced his split from Katie – who was 27 years his junior.
The pair, who tied the knot in 2014, first met on Facebook in 2010 where they struck up an instant connection.
After their wedding day, the lovebirds discovered that they were actually related.
Katie’s dad and Mark’s father are first cousins, which makes them second cousins.
Opening up about the unusual circumstances in a previous interview, Mark explained that he and his wife were unaware that they had any family connection before they fell in love.
The Chase star insisted: “It wasn’t something we were aware of at the time – it was one of those things that happened.”
The pair enjoyed several happy years of marriage and welcomed their son Lawrence, now four, before Katie began a secret relationship with design engineer Scott Bate before she came clean to her husband.
After discovering Katie’s secret second life, Mark agreed to have an open marriage in a bid to keep his family together.
Speaking to The Sun about the arrangement the pair had, Mark detailed how the open relationship came about.
“When Katie first came clean to me about her boyfriend, I’d had an inkling. But right from the start, my attitude was quite pragmatic – this was spilled milk, what could we do about the situation to make it OK?
“We had a family. We couldn’t just throw that away lightly. There were other considerations.”
Last year, the pair decided to call time on their marriage, with Mark citing the Covid-19 pandemic for providing a “perfect storm” to end things.
He said his mental health issues and lockdown amplified the age difference in their marriage.
Although he suffered heartache over his marriage breakdown, during the lockdown, Mark shed over five stone following his battle with coronavirus.
Mark was struck down by the deadly virus in early March and has been losing weight to improve his overall health ever since.
The TV star – who is diabetic – was given a warning about his weight by doctors as he tipped the scales at 27st last year.
But he has since managed to get his weight below 22 stone with hopes to drop even further.
Lifting the lid on his Covid battle, which completely transformed his appearance, Mark told The Sun: “I had a complete loss of appetite, no sense of smell, a temperature, exhaustion and the worst fever of my life.
“I basically didn’t eat for two weeks but since then the weight has continued to drop off because I have continued to eat sensibly. I knew I had to.”
Although he suffered from coronavirus, Mark recently admitted that he’s grateful to have been struck down with the virus, because if he hadn’t he would still be gaining weight.
There’s no denying that 2020 was a make-or-break year for Mark, who somehow managed to boost his TV career in the midst of the pandemic.
While he’s one-fifth of the UK Chasers, Mark has broadened his horizons and branched out to appear on both the American and Australian versions of the hit ITV quiz show.
In 2013, Mark started on the American version as their sole chaser, and, at the beginning of 2016, he appeared as one of six chasers on the Australian show.
The quiz whiz previously admitted that the American version posed many difficulties for him.
This was mainly due to the fact that American game shows typically allow far more competent contestants than British or Australian shows.
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