Jeremy Edwards regrets turning down a £2 million offer for photos of his relationship with Rachel Stevens.
The former Hollyoaks hunk, 50, was set to marry S Club 7 singer Rachel, 42, after proposing in 2002, but the couple split in 2003.
The actor admitted although the financial package they were offered to photograph the milestones of their future together was ‘ridiculous’, he wishes they’d taken the money because it would have improved his life.
Exes: Jeremy Edwards regrets turning down a £2 million offer for photos of his relationship with Rachel Stevens (pictured in 2003)
Speaking on the Soap From the Box podcast, he said: ‘We were offered stupid amounts of money, £2 million, to sell our wedding photos, honeymoon photos and our first born, and I turned it down. I just thought, ‘This is ridiculous’.
‘I wish I’d done it. I could’ve made a s***load of money and had a bit more privacy. I’d be living in The Bahamas or something.’
Jeremy proposed to Rachel after just 18 months of dating, popping the question on Valentine’s Day 2002 during dinner at The Dorchester in London.
Despite their split, Jeremy – who is currently expecting his second child with wife Lydia Metz – and Rachel are still friends and he knows her husband, Alex Bourne.
The pair were childhood friends who later reconnected.
They married at Claridge’s hotel in Mayfair in 2009 and share daughters Amelie, 10, and Minnie, seven.
Lovers: The former Hollyoaks hunk, 50, was set to marry S Club 7 singer Rachel, 42, after proposing in 2002, but the couple split in 2003 (pictured in that year)
Reflecting: The actor admitted the financial package they were offered to photograph the milestones of their future together was ‘ridiculous’ (pictured recently)
Jeremy said the ‘attention’ the former couple attracted when they were both at the height of their respective careers contributed to the ‘destruction’ of their relationship.
‘Rachel knows this. The attention was the destruction of our relationship, both Rachel and I have agreed that the pressure was so much when we got engaged.
‘We could not go anywhere. I kid you not, we’d go on a holiday, and there would be helicopter circling with people trying to take photos of us by the pool.
‘When we broke up, we respected and we still loved each other. It just wasn’t going to work. Right. And that’s a nice thing. There was no one else involved. So it was a mature thing to do.
‘I see her around and we’re still friends, it’s nice. I know Alex and she’s met Lydia and all the rest of it. So it’s not a big deal.’
Pre-split: Despite their split, Jeremy – who is currently expecting his second child with wife Lydia Metz – and Rachel (pictured in 2002) are still friends
Under pressure: The former soap star said the ‘attention’ the couple attracted at the height of their careers contributed to the ‘destruction’ of their relationship (pictured in 2003)
After announcing their engagement, Rachel said: ‘I really didn’t have a clue he was going to [propose] and am thrilled to pieces. We are both so happy!’
Plans for the wedding proved tricky for the couple, with Jeremy’s acting career in full swing (he was playing Danny Shaughnessy in Holby City at the time) and Rachel under a grueling schedule for S Club 7.
‘It’s impossible. We’ve only just found out that she’s got three weeks off now. We’ve got to try and book a holiday today but that means me begging and pleading for time off from Holby. How can we possibly organise a wedding?’ Jeremy told Heat magazine at the time.
Shortly afterwards, Jeremy and the Holby City cast were left shocked and devastated when their co-star Laura Sadler was killed falling from a balcony in London’s Holland Park.
Jeremy turned to alcohol for comfort and he and Rachel later split.
‘It was a tough time for me. After Laura’s death I got really messed up. I was drinking a hell of a lot and got seriously depressed,’ he told Heat. ‘It really shook me up.
‘Losing such a close friend pushed me off the rails and sadly Rachel got caught up in my mess. It was at this point she confronted me about my problems and we agreed to have a break.’
The couple didn’t talk for a month, which helped Jeremy realise he couldn’t be without her. They reunited, with him saying: ‘Rachel means the world to me and I couldn’t believe what was happening to our relationship. I needed a serious reality check and that’s what I got.’
Wedding plans were frozen – and never ended up happening at all.
Jeremy reportedly felt it best he didn’t commit to marriage at the time, with him also stating publicly that he disapproved of Rachel’s raunchy image as she launched her solo career.
‘I just don’t think it’s necessary,’ he said at the time to Now magazine. ‘It seems that the easiest way for a young girl to sell records is to get her kit off and get herself in the tabloids, but I think there’s a danger of being known for that instead of your talent.
‘Rachel’s a really good singer and I worry that her image will overshadow that. But the suits seem to think that they know what they’re doing, so we just have to go along with it.’
This led to the eventual end of their romance, with the pair announcing in January 2004 that they had made the ‘sad but right decision’ to split.