Lone Woman: Tearful Denise Welch announces split from husband Tim Healy after 23 years of marriage

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By Alanah Eriksen and Nadia Mendoza

Coming clean: Denise Welch revealed on Loose Women that she separated from Tim Healy before Christmas

Denise Welch has separated from her husband of 23 years.

The Celebrity Big Brother winner, 53, revealed the news today on Loose Women, saying she split from Benidorm actor Tim Healy 'some time ago'.

She was forced to come clean after allegations surfaced that she committed adultery by engaging in two separate affairs with toyboy lovers, when in fact it seems she was single the whole time.

'I didn't have an affair': Denise claims she didn't commit adultery as she has been single for 'some time'

A tearful Denise said: 'I just want to say, this is going to be really difficult for me... My family made a decision that we would talk about this today. Tim and I separated some time ago.

'So I'm not having an affair, we have been living our own lives for some time now.'

She added: 'I just wanted to thank everybody. Tim and I feel a sense of relief that we don't have to hide this anymore. We've actually become better friends since we've made the decision but we wanted to have Christmas with the family without telling anybody.

'We're all just going to move forward as a family. Tim and I are still going to be co-parents (to Matthew, 22, and Louis, 10) and we love each other very much.'

Staying together: The day the affair claims emerged, Denise put on a public show of togetherness with husband Tim Healy for his 60th birthday

Denise was forced to confess after she allegedly spent the night with lover Lincoln Townley this week, despite putting on a public show of togetherness with Tim.

Reports of an affair with party planner Townley, 39, emerged last Sunday but the next day, the former Coronation Street actress told TV viewers her marriage was 'fine'.

When the claims were first made, Denise had just celebrated her husband's 60th birthday at a restaurant near their home in Cheshire.

She was seen kissing and cuddling the star of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, in an attempt to show all was well in their household.

Lovers? Denise claims she didn't commit adultery with Lincoln Townley as she's been single for 'some time'

The next day she told Loose Women viewers: 'Everything’s fine at home, absolutely fine. We had a great day yesterday. It was Tim’s birthday.'

But after the show, she raced to the exclusive Marriott County Hall to spent the night with Lincoln, the Sunday Mirror claimed.

The pair were pictured outside together outside the hotel which is apparently the same spot where they have been carrying out an eight-month affair.

Denise left on Tuesday morning for a brief appearance on This Morning before joining her colleagues in the nearby Loose Women studios.

After the show, she then dashed to the Landmark Hotel in Marylebone for coffee with her toyboy.

A fan who spotted the pair told the newspaper: 'They looked like any other couple. It was busy in the bar but they were not being discreet at all, which was surprising after she said everything was OK with her husband Tim.

A secret affair? Lincoln appeared in court this week, accused of stealing £12,164 from a construction company, as Denise was flashing her bra at the restaurant

'She didn’t seem to care who saw them and what people thought about her being with him... although everyone was very nice to her in the bar.'

Denise then caught a train back to the home she shares with Tim in Cheshire.

'Denise has had a very busy week with her TV commitments after ­leaving the show but has still found time for Lincoln.

'She is worried her marriage has taken its course, but it’s not that simple. When she’s in front of her viewers on Loose Women, talking to her fans on the street and playing up for the photographers she makes out that all is fine at home .'

Wedding bells: Denise and Tim at their 1988 wedding at Haringey Registry Office

Denise is believed to have met Lincoln at a nightclub in Central London last April while she was on the Dancing on Ice tour.

They are said to have gone back to his flat in Hampstead afterwards.

They then saw each other casually while she was filming Loose Women in London and from September the relationship became serious.

She apparently spent a night with Lincoln at the Marriott before going into Celebrity Big Brother.

Lincoln's checkered past was revealed this week after he appeared in court charged with stealing £12,000 cash from a building firm.

He is accused of stealing the money from FM Conway, a construction company based in Dartford, Kent, in 2009.

The case was adjourned until May.

Meanwhile, in 2004, Denise admitted having an affair with TV studio carpenter Steve Murray.

But in her ­autobiography she said she had repaired her marriage after that relationship.

Denise caused a stir in the CBB house with her erratic behaviour and clashes with Reservoir Dogs actor Michael Madsen.

After leaving the house, Michael revealed: 'She offered to sleep with me a number of times. She just kept trying.'

Denise hit back later saying she was happily married.

'Even at 53, I don’t go without my offers. Why, when I have a husband and children watching at home, would I beg him for sex?'