Sun. May 26th, 2024
alert-–-rylan-clark-and-rob-rinder-open-up-about-their-‘perfect’-relationship:-they-admit-they’ve-both-been-through-‘pain’-recently-and-tell-how-they-are-enjoying-‘getting-away-from-it’-together…-amid-a-wave-of-romance-rumoursAlert – Rylan Clark and Rob Rinder open up about their ‘perfect’ relationship: They admit they’ve both been through ‘pain’ recently and tell how they are enjoying ‘getting away from it’ together… amid a wave of romance rumours

It’s the celebrity romance rumour that’s had the internet in meltdown since the weekend. 

As their first show together, Rob & Rylan’s Grand Tour, aired on BBC2 on Sunday night, This Morning host Rylan Clark posted a message urging viewers to tune in, saying, ‘This man has become family to me’. 

In response, his co-host Rob Rinder, famous for his Judge Rinder TV show, posted cryptically, ‘Friendship may and often does grow into love.’

Given that the two men have both gone through high-profile divorces recently, and that coincidentally they share the same divorce lawyer, online sleuths seized on the post as evidence that their professional relationship had crossed over into something more. 

On paper their personalities are poles apart though – Rob’s a cultured and erudite criminal lawyer while Rylan’s a Eurovision presenter and former X Factor semi-finalist – and Rylan was quick to shut the rumour down, posting on X, ‘I am not dating Rob Rinder’.

On paper their personalities are poles apart though - Rob's a cultured and erudite criminal lawyer while Rylan¿s a Eurovision presenter and former X Factor semi-finalist. Pictured in Rome on tour

On paper their personalities are poles apart though – Rob’s a cultured and erudite criminal lawyer while Rylan’s a Eurovision presenter and former X Factor semi-finalist. Pictured in Rome on tour

Yet as they promoted the show to Saturday’s Weekend magazine, they jokingly referred to their relationship as ‘the perfect platonic marriage’ and gave tantalising glimpses into the way their friendship had developed while they were filming the three-part TV series that initially brought them together.

The painful splits the pair endured meant they were ready to embrace the next chapter in their lives by throwing themselves into experiences outside their comfort zones. 

And they certainly got that on the new show, retracing the steps of the 18th- and 19th-century English aristocrats who left the confines of British society behind to seek freedom and adventure on the classic upper-class gap year – a Grand Tour of the Continent’s cultural capitals.

On screen we see Rob and Rylan follow the most famous Grand Tourist of all, Romantic poet Lord Byron, on the 200th anniversary of his death. 

He travelled to Venice in 1816 and then on to Florence and Rome, fleeing a scandalous divorce caused partly because he slept with his half-sister. ‘I don’t often compare myself to Byron, but I too am a divorcee,’ says Rob, 45, a former Strictly contestant.

It was revealed that the pair are in fact not dating - after sparking romance rumours last week by saying their 'friendship is growing into love'

It was revealed that the pair are in fact not dating – after sparking romance rumours last week by saying their ‘friendship is growing into love’

He and his ex-husband, barrister Seth Cumming, divorced in 2018. ‘And so is Rylan. And we’re both looking for a new start too.’

Rylan, 35, who was married to ex-Met detective and reality star Dan Neal for five years before they split in 2021, says they bonded easily. 

‘You see the evolution of our friendship. We were just mates before but now we’re friends. We’ve both been through pain recently so we’re getting away from it on the original package holiday, the Grand Tour, which is about experiencing new things.’

During their trip, Rob is keen to convert Rylan to his passion for the art, architecture and classical music that the original Grand Tourists came to Europe to experience, and as their friendship and inner confidence evolve, they learn from and take inspiration from each other.

Rylan was married to ex-Met detective and reality star Dan Neal for five years before they split in 2021

Rylan was married to ex-Met detective and reality star Dan Neal for five years before they split in 2021 

Rylan jokes ‘the nearest I’ve got to classical music is when Pete Tong did Ibiza dance tunes with an orchestra’, but nevertheless he throws himself into the culture with a passion. 

‘I come from quite a working-class background, and we didn’t have art hanging up in our houses,’ says Rylan. 

‘It would be fake chandeliers from down the market. Now I see art in a new light. But I also wanted to dance in bars and bring Rob out of his shell. He needs to undo a button every now and again, and I need to do one up! You see this develop.’

In Venice, as well as taking in artistic masterpieces from the likes of Tintoretto and Canaletto, learning dancing and glass blowing, Rob conducts Vivaldi’s Four Seasons in the church where it was first performed and the pair discover how gay men in the 18th century found freedom at Venice’s famous masked Carnival. 

They also dress up in drag to walk through the Venetian streets and become models in a semi-nude life art class.

‘We visited mask makers and learnt about the history of the Carnival which was fascinating,’ says Rylan. ‘Disguises like these were a social leveller, with rich and poor able to mingle together and become whoever they wanted.

Rylan stars alongside Rob in their new travel show Rob and Rylan's Grand Tour, which airs on BBC Two

Rylan stars alongside Rob in their new travel show Rob and Rylan’s Grand Tour, which airs on BBC Two

‘For me concealer and bronzer is a mask, and it makes me feel better about facing the world. I fell into this trap because I created this almost caricature of what people expect me to be like.

‘Everyone knows me as Rylan – a laugh, the presenter off the telly with big teeth – whereas actually at home I’m Ross. 

‘Rylan is who I am at work, but I grew up as Ross, I sit at home in a tracksuit with a Peroni and no make-up. I’m very different.’

In Florence they visit the Duomo, the cathedral. ‘I started to realise I would’ve loved to have been an architect,’ says Rylan. ‘I was lucky enough to design and build my own house. A building isn’t just something standing there – it’s a living thing. To understand how the Duomo was created over 150 years with a succession of architects was incredible.’

READ MORE: Our curse of the skinny jeans: The lads branded ‘stupid’ and ‘racist’ over an innocent photo

Their last stop is Rome, where Rob and Rylan are offered an impromptu lesson by two singers who are able to mimic the castrati – castrated male singers who sing high falsetto and were the height of fashion and culture in the Baroque period. ‘The Grand Tourists loved Rome for its drama and romance,’ explains Rob. ‘They could see it in its architecture and its art, and hear it in its music. Italian Baroque opera was all the rage in the 18th century.’

Naturally bubbly and dynamic, Rylan reveals how his divorce took a huge mental and physical toll on him. ‘I think it was the culmination of my marriage breaking down and me stopping work for the first time in ten years,’ he says. 

‘All of a sudden I hit quite a big speed bump, but instead of carrying on, I crashed. It was the worst experience of my life. I just went on a downward spiral. I tried to end it. I tried to finish myself off. I didn’t eat. I went down to 9st – and I’m 6ft 4in! I looked horrendous. My 70-year-old mum had to watch her successful son literally disintegrate.

‘But nothing fazes me now. Looking back, it was one of the best things that ever happened to me because I sit here now so powerful, knowing I’ll never let myself get that bad again. It’s changed my outlook on life. I get less stressed out about things, I only do things that make me happy.’

Their joint appearance at the TV Baftas came after Rob hinted at romance with Rylan just hours earlier on Sunday, while plugging the duo's new BBC Two travel show

Their joint appearance at the TV Baftas came after Rob hinted at romance with Rylan just hours earlier on Sunday, while plugging the duo’s new BBC Two travel show

Just like the original Grand Tourists, Rob and Rylan both returned more educated, independent and intrepid. ‘Our shared cultural and historical spaces are for everyone, whoever you are, whatever background you come from,’ says Rob. ‘And we show this in the series, which is important.

‘But what I’m most proud of is that it’s also about creating friendships, those people you can telephone in the middle of the night. Not just having experiences, but also being present in them. The theme of each episode is exploring these intellectual and emotional ideas, but crucially going out there and taking a risk.’

‘We learned so much from each other,’ adds Rylan.

He says he now feels able to take risks too. ‘Dating used to worry me, thinking things like what if they cheat on me? What if they’re horrible? What if they sell a story about me? But if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work.

Rylan admitted to Rob that he 'tried to end it all' amid his marriage breakdown as the pair emotionally opened up about their divorces on the show

Rylan admitted to Rob that he ‘tried to end it all’ amid his marriage breakdown as the pair emotionally opened up about their divorces on the show

‘I was struggling for such a long time with feeling alone, but I realise I’m actually not alone and I’m really comfortable on my own. That’s something I never thought I’d be. I’ve got to the point now where I’m really comfortable in my own life.’

Rob is more reticent about his private life, and less forthcoming about the breakdown of his marriage. ‘I’m not going to talk about that because he’s a private person,’ he says of his ex-husband. ‘But we’ve been in Venice which is about passion. I was once so in love when I was in my early 20s but it wasn’t reciprocated, and it never has been.’

Could that be about to change?

Watch Rob & Rylan’s Grand Tour, Sunday, 9pm, BBC2 and BBC iPlayer.

error: Content is protected !!