Jane McDonald and late fiancé’s romance and chance reunion after decades apart

Loose Women star Jane McDonald has been inundated with supportive messages after it was revealed that her long-term partner, Ed Rothe, had sadly died.

A statement on the 58-year-old television star's social media confirmed that Ed – who had been a musician with The Searchers – had passed away at the age of 67 after battling lung cancer.

While the couple had officially been together since 2008, their romance actually began a number of decades earlier when they first met in the 1980s.

Here, we take a look at their touching story of enduring love and their chance reunion thanks to ITV.

First encounter

Jane and Ed actually first met in 1980 when Ed's former band Liquid Gold was playing at a local pub in Wakefield.

The pair appeared to have hit it off immediately, and Jane couldn't believe her luck that the popular drummer had taken an interest.

Reflecting upon her first encounter with Ed in a previous interview with The Mirror, Jane explained: "I couldn’t believe it when the owner said the drummer had taken a fancy to me. I was startled. He was a gorgeous pop star and I was a naive teenager from Yorkshire. But we went out for about 18 months."

Break-ups and new loves

As a well-known musician, Ed was also experiencing a lot of attention from other women and Jane admitted that she might have been too young and "shy" at the time to make the relationship work.

Their romance drifted apart before Jane made the brave decision to cut all contact, saying: "One day, I just got in my car and left. We never finished, never fell out. I drove away never expecting to see him again."

After losing contact with Ed, Jane got married to her first husband Paul with whom she stayed until 1987.

A second marriage would follow some years later when she tied the knot with Henrik Brixen in 1998 – remaining in the relationship until 2003.

A chance reunion

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After several years of being single, Jane was hardly expecting to bump into her former teenage love while working on Loose Women.

However, in 2008 Ed was performing with The Searchers on This Morning, and the pair finally reunited behind the scenes.

The pair – who hadn't seen each other in almost 30 years – knew that their reunion felt right and that they might have been destined to be together.

Jane added: "I almost had to be dragged to see him. But then it was, Oh my God! Big smiles and he lifted me off the floor and said, ‘Where have you been?’"

Despite both being busy with work commitments, the couple had vowed not to miss the opportunity again and Ed decided to quit the band in order to be with his sweetheart.

"My life has been a lot of being in the right place at the right time, so being back with Eddie has something of destiny about it," Jane added.

Romantic proposal

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In 2008, after their random reunion, Ed got down on one knee on Christmas Eve and proposed to Jane.

Reflecting upon the romantic engagement in her book Riding The Waves: My Story, Jane wrote: "Suddenly, Ed cleared his throat and put his hand in his pocket.

"'Jane, you are definitely the one for me, and I should have done this 26 years ago,' he said. 'Will you marry me?'

"I was so overwhelmed that I started crying. Then Ed started crying! People around us were mortified – thinking we'd split up'."

While they were yet to secure a wedding date, the pair had been together ever since.

Tragic death

The heartbreaking news of Eddie's death at the end of March 2021 following a short lung cancer battler was revealed on Jane's Twitter page earlier this week.

The statement also said that a funeral had taken place for the late musician and a Just Giving page had been set up that will make donations to Wakefield Hospice.

Tragically, Jane last year suggested she may be set to walk down the aisle with Eddie now that she had more time after quitting her Channel 5 show.

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