MICHELLE Keegan has slammed rumours that her marriage to Mark Wright is on the rocks.
The actress , 29, spoke out to end long-running speculation based on them spending lengthy spells apart as a result of hectic work schedules.
She recently spent two months in South Africa filming BBC drama Our Girl and was repeatedly pictured on nights out without her wedding ring.
But Michelle said: “I find it frustrating people are constantly speculating about my marriage. I think we should celebrate the fact that, alright, yeah, I did get married, but I can work as well.
“Mark came out to South Africa when he could, we’d talk all the time on the phone and on FaceTime. We’re happy.
“But we don’t need to tell the world the ins and outs of what we were doing while I was away. Because we didn’t, there was a backlash. It’s something I’ll have to deal with. I hope it’ll die down.”
Former Corrie star Michelle also said she was snapped without her ring because she can’t wear it while filming the Army drama.
She said: “Obviously, I don’t wear my ring. It would be stupid if I was wearing it with my uniform and holding guns. Also, I wasn’t at home, so if I went out straight after work, the last thing I would do is say to the taxi driver, ‘One minute, can we just drive all the way 20 minutes home so I can just get my ring, please’. It’s silly.”
Manchester-born Michelle, 29, left the ITV soap in 2014 after six years as Tina McIntyre. Our Girl’s tough Army medic Lance Corporal Georgie Lane is her first major role since then.
And while a long distance relationship set tongues wagging about her marriage, she said she actually found filming away from DJ hubby Mark and their Essex home was an advantage as she tackled the intense role. She said: “Being away helped me, I had no distractions. I was working six days a week for two months.
“All I was doing was going back to my apartment, after 12-hour days, then I’d go home and learn my lines for the next day. It was discipline. It was nice not wearing make-up, leaving the girly Michelle behind. Even when I was filming in Manchester, I didn’t stay with my family as I’d be distracted by my dogs.”
Michelle admitted she was nervous about filming sex scenes for the first time with hunky actor Luke Pasquelino , 26. But she revealed he reassured her on set and the pair grew close.
She said: “I’d never done anything like that. But it looks worse than it was, it was literally just kissing and taking a top off. Luke was brilliant, he became one of my best mates on set and made me feel comfortable, so did the director. It’s about being around the right people.”
Stockport-born Michelle has also just finished the upcoming ITV drama Tina and Bobby, playing England footie hero Sir Bobby Moore’s wife Tina.
She threw herself into the role, shocking fans by bleaching her brunette locks – and roping Essex lad Mark, 29, into helping her perfect her Estuary accent.
“I never in a million years thought I would have blonde hair,” she said. “I don’t like it at all. Mark doesn’t mind it but he prefers me brunette.
“I’ve also got a very strong Manc accent, so Mark helped me perfect an Estuary accent for Tina. It has an Essex twang, so on set if I couldn’t do a word, I’d ring Mark and he’d help me.”
Michelle is not sure what she will be working on next but she is loving the freedom of working on different projects – and is clear about what she is not interested in doing right now.
She said: “I’ve turned down reality TV. It’s something I’ll never say never to, because you don’t know what’s going to happen in the future.
“But I wanted to do something special, because I knew I was leaving Corrie for a purpose.
“As long as I’m being challenged, then I’m embracing all of the exciting acting opportunities that come my way.”
– Our Girls screens on BBC1 on Wednesday at 9pm. – Daily Mirror