Billie Piper is hiding a guilty secret - she loves parading around in wedding
dresses whenever she gets the chance.
The stunning actress who returns to the screen tonight in ITV's Mansfield Park
said: "My nan is a seamstress who makes wedding dresses and I always try them on."
But Billie, 24, admits she is in no hurry to wear one for her new lover, handsome
telly detective Laurence Fox.
The blonde beauty who is still legally hitched to Radio 2 DJ hubby Chris Evans
told The People: "I'm happy I got married and I hope I will marry again one day - but I don't feel I'm in any rush to do it."
But the actress loved going through a wedding ceremony for her latest role as
loves truck Fanny Price in ITV1's adaptation of the Jane Austen classic novel.
She said: "You just feel special and girly and that's what it's all about. I
don't do that dressing up thing in everyday life, I'm quite trampy, so it's a real treat."
Billie - usually dressed in scruffy combat trousers, T-shirt and baseball cap
- also loved squee zing into CORSETS for her part as heroine Fanny. The heroine spends much of the time lusting after her
cousin Edmund, played by Blake Ritson. Billie laughed: "What is the novelty of the corset?
You can see your breasts! You do feel good but you alsoworry about them falling
Fanny's a bit clumsy and I was slightly concerned about mine falling outbut you
are so strapped in that there is really no chance of that happening. It's only when you are bending over that you are quite
aware of it."
Billie added: "Fanny is full of unrequited love and it's very frustrating for
her that most of the time, he has no idea how she feels."
Happily that is not the case for the actress, whose new man Laurence, 28, is
Kevin Whately's ely's side kick Detective Sergeant Hathaway in ITV1's Lewis.
Billie - who is still good mates with radio and TV presenter Evans, 42, despite
their marriage lasting only three years - fell for Laurence as they rehearsed for the new West End play Treats.
And she reckons she is more content than ever before, revealing Things just keep
on getting better and better.
That's a far cry from the early career of the star who hit the top of the pop
charts with Because We Want To at the age of 15.
She suffered depression, anorexia and even made a half-hearted attempt a half-hearted
attempt at suicide before changing career to become an actress. Since then, she has bared her soul in her autobiography Growing
Pains and was voted most popular actress at the National TV Awards, an accolade that topped an amazing year.
She landed her first acting break in The Canterbury Tales alongside Jimmy Nesbitt
and Dennis Watermanand spent two years as Dr Who's spirited sidekick Rose Tyler before quitting last year to try other things.
Landing the lead in a Jane Austen blockbuster was, Billie admits, beyond herwildest
dreams. "I can't believe I'm playing the heroine," she says with a smile.
"Fanny is quite feisty and born out of her time. She has very strong morals for
one so young and she's very wise."
Working with Maggie O'Neill, Jemma Redgrave, Hayley Atwell and Douglas Hodge
was "a dream come true" for Billie.
Her latest challenge is performing Treats in the West End but that has not been
without its trials either.
This month's eagerly awaited opening night was postponed following rumours that
Billie was finding it tough. And she is the first to admit that leading aWest End production is a scary prospect.
"I'm absolutely terrified," she reveals. "It's going to be a stressful few weeks
but that's OK, that's why I wanted to do it.
"The character I play is quite hardwork - she is the victim of a destructive
relationship and domestic violence."
With the third series of Dr Who about to start on BBC1 with Freema Agyeman, 26,
stepping in as the new assistant, Billie confesses she is also feeling emotional about saying goodbye to the role that established
her as a real star. "I'm going to find it quite hard watching the new series," she says.
"Itwas an incredibly hard decision to leave. But I was knackered after finishing
Dr Who because it was long hours and filmed in Cardiff so I'd be back to London at weekends."
Playing Rose made her a hero to millions of youngsters and she says: "Meeting
kids and chatting to them is one of the highlights of this job.
They are good company but I don't want my own for a long time yet."
Since leaving the show, Billie has been inundated with offers and adds: "I've
had some lovely jobs since and trying out new things has been really good for me.
"I feel incredibly lucky to be earning a living doing something I enjoy."
And there's no let-up in her schedule. After her stint in the West End, she starts
filming Traveller Of The North, reprising her role as Victorian sleuth Sally Lockhart after the success of the BBC1 Christmas
drama Ruby In The Smoke.
But there's no danger of Billie cracking under the strain. "I'm feeling fine
right now, absolutely normal, I've never felt better," says the curvy size 10 beauty.
And her curves look a treat when she gets married in Mansfield Park.
Billie says: "The wedding dress I wore for Fanny's marriage to Edmund was very
special - it was intricately beaded and so heavy but very pretty."
And she adds with a grin: "All women love trying on a wedding dress, don't they?"
Source: The People 18/03/2007