Former EastEnders star Michelle Collins couldn't have looked happier as she finally tied the knot with her partner Mike Davidson after 10 years together at Islington Town Hall.
The low-key London ceremony was attended by Michelle's former co-star Adam Woodyatt, and now the actress has exclusively shared her wedding album with OK!. From bare-foot dancing and a custom-made bridal outfit, to the emotional tributes to her late mum Mary, the day was filled with special details – see all of the beautiful pictures and read Michelle's post-wedding interview below…
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Michelle Collins was all smiles as she finally married her fiancé Michael Davidson after 10 years of dating in a low-key ceremony in London last week.
The couple were joined by their closest family and friends, including Michelle’s former co-star Adam Woodyatt, as they exchanged vows at midday on 8 August.
It was an emotional affair from start to finish as Michelle told us after her big day, “we all cried a lot”.
Speaking exclusively to OK!, she explained, “My mum [Mary] had passed away [last year], my daughter [Maia] was away. It was an incredibly emotional day because I kind of never thought I would actually get married and Michael didn’t really want to get married.
“It was very emotional because, as Michael said in his speech, we’ve lost a lot of people and there were a lot of people who couldn’t be there.”
She continued, “His speech was so amazing – he’s not like me, Michael. Everyone knows him and knows we’re yin and yang. I’m the sociable one and he’s quite happy to sit back, but it works brilliantly. So, when he did this amazing speech, everyone was tearful. He thanked everyone and particularly the people that weren’t there.”
The actress has never been married before, but has 24-year-old daughter Maia from her relationship with ex-partner Fabrizio Tassalini, and she’s still grieving the loss of her mother, who passed away last year following a two-year battle with cancer. While Michelle clearly missed her on her wedding day, there were lots of nods to make sure her late mum’s presence was felt by everyone.
“We had a picture of her in the registry office next to the celebrant and she was there at the party as well,” she said. “And we had a loop of photos and she was in a lot of them. I know she would have been really proud and she would have been proud we did it in Islington where we’re from. And The Chapel Bar [where the wedding reception was held]… We used to go to Chapel Street market and my mum used to buy me a toy every Sunday.”
In another touching tribute, Michelle’s wedding ring was her beloved mother’s, while her engagement ring belonged to her mother-in-law.
When it came to her bridalwear, Michelle, who also played Rovers Return landlady Stella Price in Coronation Street, looked radiant in a top, trousers and a pearl-detailed blazer by Nadine Merabi. She also wore a floral hair crown as she walked out of Islington Town Hall under a shower of confetti with her new husband.
“I’ve known Nadine since I was in Corrie and she said, ‘Can I dress you for your wedding? I’d really love to!’ I went to Manchester, had a fitting and as soon as I tried on [the white trouser suit] I was like, ‘Yes!’ She sent me this whole package as a present with the fluffy pyjamas which I wore in the morning. I really wanted something for the actual registry which was nice and sophisticated, but not too over the top. I love a white trouser suit anyway.”
Of her headpiece, she added, “I got the crown from my local florist. Michael said to me, ‘I’ll just ask you one thing, will you wear a crown, because I love them!’”
Proud groom Michael, 39, wore a white jacket with a black shirt and trousers. Meanwhile, Adam, who is currently on a break from his role as Ian Beale in EastEnders, cut a casual figure in a striped shirt and navy blue trousers, which he teamed with black trainers and a crossbody bag.
“It was really lovely he could make it,” said Michelle. “I’m close to Adam, I’ve known him for a long time and we’ve grown up together. He’d been rehearsing for something so he wasn’t sure if he was going to make it.”
And we had to smile when Michelle told us she walked into the ceremony to At Last by Etta James, a notion that was not lost on the giggling guests too.
Following the service, the newly married couple chatted to guests and sipped on champagne from flutes as they stood outside the town hall. They were later whisked off to their reception at the nearby Chapel Bar in a white convertible Volkswagen Beetle that had been decorated with white ribbons.
“Michael’s sister got us this convertible Beetle, because it was my first car and the car my mum had when we were little and used to take us to Cornwall,” Michelle explained. “That meant a lot having that car.”
At the party, Michelle, who told us she’s not a conformist, decided to shun the idea of a formal sit-down meal and instead treated her 250 guests to free-flowing canapés, which included delicious salt beef bagels, burgers and prawn tempura. Beverage-wise, the bar was open, while glasses of fizz and rosé were served as people arrived.
“So many people all came together,” she said of the bash. “It was a big celebration. I made sure I had really good entertainment. I had a guy called Darren Reeves who plays piano, I had Kym Mazelle, who is a brilliant singer, and I had Mary Mac, who’s a drag queen. You’ve got to keep the people entertained!”
After a quick change for Michelle into another Nadine Merabi number, the newlyweds shared their first dance to Sugar by Maroon 5 – although a day of wearing heels became too much for the bride.
“I had to take my shoes off about 7pm because my feet were killing me,” she laughed. “And then I danced like a typical bride with no shoes on!”
After their “beautiful day”, the party wrapped up at midnight. The star, who said friends from Italy and Australia flew to London to see her tie the knot, is now looking forward to a mini-moon with pals in Suffolk and Norfolk, before heading to her proper honeymoon in the south of France later this year.
The wedding has been a long time coming for Michelle, who first found fame playing Cindy Beale. She began dating Michael in late 2012 after they were introduced by her niece. Michael is said to have worked at a store in Surrey selling jeans at the time of meeting Michelle, and then went on to set up his own exclusive independent menswear shop, before becoming a motorbike instructor. While talking about her new husband, it’s clear how much Michael means to Michelle.
“He’s kind of my rock,” she said.
“I can see now why marriage means so much to people, because I think it gives you a feeling of being safe. When you have a mum and your mum’s gone and you had that unconditional love, now I have Michael I feel like someone has my back, that’s the most important thing.
“And he’s my best friend, someone I can talk to, have a laugh with – I can totally be myself with him. He loves me unconditionally for me. He’s been through so many of the ups and downs in my life over the last 10 years. He just loves me for me and all my flaws. Also, everyone loves him, and my mum loved him, which is probably the most important thing.”
On why she never thought she’d get married, she added, “I never even thought he’d ask me and suddenly I’m 60 and getting married – it’s bizarre!”
Michelle confirmed their engagement in April, revealing Michael had romantically popped the question on a hike in the Temescal Canyon in Los Angeles.
Speaking to us of that moment, Michelle revealed, “He said, ‘Let’s just stop and do a picture,’ and he always hates me doing pictures.
"I turned around and he’s on bended knee with this ring and I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.”
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