Cheryl Fergison has hit out at those who criticise her marriage to, Yassine Al-Jermoni, who is 21 years her junior.
The former EastEnders star, 56, who is famed for portraying Heather Trott in the hit BBC soap, has opened up about her romance with Yassine, 37, after others had expressed doubts about their relationship over the years.
Cheryl explained how when her son Alex, 22, asks Alexa for a fact about his mum, it immediately responds with: "Cheryl Fergison is married to a goatherd from Morocco".
Detailing her annoyance at this, Cheryl said: "Why's that the first fact that comes up? And it's wrong!"
She then added: "We don't have any goats. We've never had any goats near us! But that's the first thing people say. I find it really difficult to pin down why – there's racism, sexism, ageism – all the isms are there when people talk about our relationship."
Cheryl continued, telling The Mirror: "The world has become so cynical. People think it's got to be a con, it's got to be a problem. But I say, 'It hasn't got to be anything. Just stop it!'"
The actress met Yassine online back in 2010, and after exchanging messages online for several months she jetted off to his hometown of Agadir, Morocco.
In June 2011, Cheryl and Yassine tied the knot after a whirlwind romance, and their relationship has continued to go from strength to strength.
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Previously opening up about her romance, Cheryl said: “It seems to be quite cool for the men, like Mick Jagger, to date younger. And, it seems okay for them to have someone else two years later.
“But people don’t give any kudos to a woman dating someone younger, even though we’ve been together 11 years.
“Well we don’t care. It really is absolutely water off a duck’s back to us now. I just feel sorry for them, that they need to criticise our life.”
The couple now reside near the beach in Lancashire’s Lytham St Anne’s, along with Cheryl's son Alex, who she shares with her first husband Jamshed Siddiqi.
The actress has also revealed that Yassine is super romantic in his own unique way. She explained: “He’ll do romantic gestures but in his own time. He’ll never be told to do something. So when he does do something it really comes from the heart."
Giving an example of a time her husband was romantic, Cheryl continued: “One year he was working backstage at my panto. The male lead told him it’s tradition to buy me flowers for opening night. The night comes, and there’s no flowers.
"Yas tells him: ‘Nobody tells me when I buy my wife flowers.’ Three weeks into the run, I get this giant bouquet. Yas says: ‘See, everyone’s flowers have died, but you have fresh ones.’"
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Cheryl added: “He also has things made for me. They may be the smallest of gestures but I know it’s a gesture from him and that’s all that matters. I took a photo of ‘our beach’ in Morocco and he had it secretly mounted and framed and hung in his parents’ house for when we stay there.”
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