(Note: Sara Cox is the girlfriend and wife-to-be of Leeroy Thornhill.)
Sara Cox folds her legs beneath her and stretches out an arm along the back of the sofa. ”I’m knackered,” she says, plopping her head onto one shoulder. She looks like she’s about to nod off. Instead she summons up the energy to reach into her bag for a packet of cigarettes only to find she hasn’t got a light. And neither has Minx. ”Sod it,” she philosophises. ”I was trying to give up anyway.”
She delves back into her bag and retrieves a CD. It’s something her boyfriend Leeroy has been working on outside Prodigy. ”Really brilliant chill out, smoking stuff. Wanna listen?”
She’s about to insert it into the CD player, then checks herself. ”Bit wanky though isn’t it? Showing your boyfriends stuff off to people.” The CD goes back in the bag.
Embarrassment isn’t a trait you’d normally associate with Sara Cox, but today the lairy levels have been turned down to something approaching languid. ”This is the real me,” she declares. ”It’s hard work being so bloody up-for-it all the time.”
Has Leeroy got a farm?
He’s got a windmill and a bit of land but he hasn’t moved in yet.
Is it in Essex?
Yeah. He can’t leave his Essex air bubble. He couldn’t live in London. I wouldn’t want to put him through it. It’s perfect. I’ve got my place in London, he’s got his in the country and whoever needs to party or chill out we just go to whichever destination. I like Essex. I imagined it to be a bit like ’Birds of a Feather’, but the countryside is lovely round there.
Any problem with accents?
Yeah. It’s fun. He can spend many an hour taking the piss out of my accent and all things northern and I’ll have a bit of a banter back. It doesn’t do him any harm – I quite like the Essex side of him.
Did your dad ever try to match you up with a local yokel?
He’s tried to marry me off to a couple of farmers. They’ve all got black hair and red cheeks. Dad’s very disappointed that Leeroy’s a southerner. That’s a joke, by the way. He met Leeroy recently and was quite impressed. They really got on, which really surprised me because my dad’s this farmer who knows nothing about popluar culture. He’s never even heard of the Spice Girls. They both ended up ignoring me and chatting to each other. My dad told Leeroy this tale of how he’d managed this band in the ’60s and how they play the Cavern. He’d never mentioned this to me before, so I phoned my mum up later and said, ”Is this true?”, and she said, ”Well he claimed to have a gold medal in ballroom dancing when I first met him and that turned out not to be rubbish.”
Are you getting stressed out about the wedding yet?
I’ve been to weddings where the bride and groom don’t talk to each other all day because they’re worried about whether Auntie Edna’s got a cab alright. Fuck that. People can come if they want. I’m having a few savoury nibbles and some champers – it’s not going to turn into a chore. I’m more worried about being shown up by all the bridesmaids as they’re all going to be gorgeous. There’s Peta, Claire, who’s done modelling and is now studying law (she’s my closest friend), Joanna, who’s gorgeous, and Zoe Ball, of course, who’s really sexy. So I might just put them in those peachy frocks with lots of frills and make them wear blue eyeshadow.
Are the rest of us going to catch a look at it in Hello?
No, I don’t think so, though they did ring up. And it’s kind of tempting because the organisation is taken off your hands. I’ll be
like ”Right I’ll see you there then!” But I don’t want to feel like I’m working: ”You’ve got a shoot 12 ’til 1.”
Have you fixed a date yet?
How did Leeroy pop the question?
At a party on New Years Eve as the clock struck 12.
Did you get all emotional?
Did I ’eck. I was too mashed to cry! We got home and it was early in the morning and my friend Claire was there saying ”You’ve got to do it properly”, and so Leeroy got down on one knee in the living room and did it again. Claire was crying.
What’s he like to be with?
He’s perfect. He’s the man of my dreams. He delivers romance and discipline in equal measures. He’s very good. I can’t get away with shit with him and I’ve never had that before. I can’t get mouthy with him because he’ll shut me right up. Before it was just my close girl mates that could tell me to shut up.
If you do fall out what’s it going to be about?
We’ve never fallen out yet. If anything, it would be more like me being tired. He calls me Bafta because I get over-dramatic. [Fake irritation] Bastard! He’s dumped! How dare he call me dramatic? Yeah, I lose it sometimes when I’m tired.
Is he romantic?
Can be. For my birthday present I got a fun pack of presents with sparklers and red knickers – nylon knickers. Leeroy’s funny like that. A bit common really.
Does being a celebrity pair mean twice the aggro?
What sometimes happens is one of us will get recognised and the other one doesn’t. So I’d get nudged out of the way while some girl wants her thigh signed. Leeroy doesn’t do flesh now. Nor do I. He’ll sign a Rizla packet.
Will marriage mellow you?
No, not really. If it does, it will probably be for the good. I do my nails now I’ve got a whopping great diamond ring on my finger. I pay attention to my more womanly bits.
Do you like the idea of kids?
I love babies. I’ve got seven nephews and nieces. I’m the youngest of five and it’s hard getting round to see everyone.
Will you have the wedding up north or down south?
Don’t know. In the middle somewhere. Birmingham. Not.
Have your folks met Leeroy’s?
Not yet. They’ll not be able to understand what each others saying because they’re all so common and we’re really classy.
How do you know Zoe Ball?
Some people thought we might work together so they saw how we got on during this meal. And we did. She’s fantastic and we became really good friends.
Do you know Norman Cook?
Yes. I met him a couple of years ago when I used to go down to Brighton a bit.
Has Leeroy met him?
We had a night out last week with Jo Whiley and Norman and he’s a nice bloke. Really cool. I thought it would be nice for the boys to meet.