YOU could be forgiven for wondering how former Towie star James Argent managed to snare a stunning Italian girlfriend almost half his age.
Loveable Arg, 34, قالت: “Stella is extremely intelligent, very talented and she’s fluent in four languages, including English, which is lucky, as my Italian’s not great, although it’s improving.
“And she’s beautiful, جدا. “I feel very lucky.
“Sometimes I have to pinch myself to remind myself this is all really happening.”
While he may have felt intimidated by multilingual Stella, Arg had a trick up his sleeve to charm her.
And Arg, who cheated death three years ago after a series of cocaine overdoses, has been honest with his new love about his chequered past.
هو قال: “We’ve got an amazing connection. She is extremely supportive.
“And she knows everything there is to know about me.
الأكثر قراءة في الشمس
“I’ve sat down with her and explained all the things that I’ve gone through in my life, the ups and downs I’ve had.”
SERENADED EACH OTHER
The romantic star, who performs as a wedding singer all over Europe with The Arg Band, revealed it was a shared passion for music that brought the besotted couple together after he attended a friend’s wedding in Mykonos, اليونان, يقدم Strictly Come Dancing على قناة BBC2.
هو قال: “We bumped into each other at a place called Nammos and just had a nice chat.
“She showed me some clips of her singing and I showed some clips of me singing.
“I love singing Rat Pack tunes and she sings these beautiful Italian love songs, so we serenaded each other. We exchanged numbers.
“After she did a singing performance, she’d send me a video of it and I’d have a look and I’d do the same when I was performing with my band.
“She gave my singing her seal of approval, جدا!"
The pair continued messaging throughout the summer, then Arg realised he was developing strong feelings for Verona-based Stella.
أضاف: “By September I felt I had to see her properly to find out if we were going to be more than friends, so I plucked up the courage and flew out to Italy to see her.
“We’d only met that once in Mykonos and had spoken a lot on the phone and FaceTime.
“I was incredibly nervous going out there because I thought she might see me and there might not be a connection.
“The second we saw each other that day we realised there was an amazing link between us and that we would like to be more than friends, and it’s just grown.”
And Stella, الذي هو 16 years younger than Arg and was six when he made his first TV appearance on يعرف, has been undaunted by his rollercoaster past.
هو قال: “A lot of big stuff has happened to me and I feel, with any relationship, for me to get involved I have to lay your cards on the table and be honest.
“There are no shocks. There are no skeletons in the cupboard and I feel very happy.”
The couple have met each other’s families and will be together at عيد الميلاد.
But Arg categorically denied reports that they plan to live together soon.
أضاف: “We’re boyfriend and girlfriend but we’re absolutely not moving in together.
“She’s super-busy with her work in Italy and I’m super-busy with my work in London and Essex.
“But we’re going to continue to make the effort to travel to see each other and I’m sure we can make it work.
“She loves Essex and London and I love Italy, so it’s all good.”
After appearing as The Chief of Police in Aladdin at the Woodville Theatre in Gravesend, كينت, this Christmas, Arg will be back on our TV screens in the new year in the next instalment of المشاهير SAS Who Dares يفوز.
“I actually got on well with him,” Arg admits. “Matt’s got a love for music so we had good chats.
“We filmed the show in تايلاند, and he slept next to me.
“We lived in and out of each other’s pockets pretty much for a week. I don’t really have a bad thing to say about him.”
“He told me he’s a Skepta fan. He’s got a deep love for Skepta. Genuinely. I swear to God,” Arg explained.
هو قال: “It says a lot about a person when you can be friends with your exes.”
But since going teetotal his life–style has changed considerably, especially at gigs with his band.
هو قال: “I’d be drinking while performing. I would stay and join in with the after-party, but now I’m a true pro.
“I get there, do my soundcheck, do my set-up, I drink honey and lemon and ginger to get my voice ready.
“I do the performance and stay for a maximum of 30 minutes after to do a meet-and-greet, then I go home. I’m extremely professional now.”
Away from the spotlight, 6ft Arg, who now weighs a healthy 14½st after tipping the scales at 27st, has been focusing on his recovery from a seven-year cocaine addiction.
He once admitted to suffering paranoia and psychosis after taking drugs for three days straight on his own in the pitch black.
But now he insists: “I’m clean, I’m sober. I’m completely teetotal and I’m exercising regularly.
“When I think about the transformation I’ve made physically and mentally, it’s pretty epic.
“When I reached 27st, I knew I’d come to a point where I needed to do something pretty quick. I didn’t have time on my hands.
“I look back at pictures of myself at my largest and I can’t believe how big I was.
“There were so many everyday things I just couldn’t do, like even tying my own shoelaces.
“Now I’ve got a spring in my step and I’m full of energy. I’m going down the gym, I’m going on long walks, I’m doing runs.”
The catalyst for Arg’s transformation was his April 2021 gastric sleeve operation and some intensive therapy.
هو يضيف: “The gastric sleeve really helps me with portion control, but I do still have to make the right choices.
“And the counselling has been really useful. I was treated in an eating disorder unit and I learned a lot.
“I’ve now got the tools to help myself if I’m struggling.
“لي, it’s about being organised and having a structured routine, as when I have too much time on my hands or when I’m bored or lonely I can really struggle.
“But I have friends I can talk to if I need support, including Stella.
“I would say that I am happier than I’ve ever been, and I just want to continue to be happy and healthy.
“I’ve had a lot of tough lessons but it’s probably made me the man I am today, and I like to feel that I’m a better person for it.”
- James is appearing in Aladdin in Gravesend, كينت, from December 2 to January 1.