Kudos to Olly Murs.
Not only has he spent the afternoon having his picture taken in a freezing-cold car park in the middle of winter, he’s also remained characteristically cheery throughout.
Olly Murs has opened up on his crippling heartbreak, his TV comeback and what’s really going on with Mel Sykes
And despite the brutal temperatures, he still drops his trousers for the now obligatory Olly Murs pants flash at the end of the shoot. Wahey.
“I’ll end up getting into trouble for that one day,” he jokes afterwards.
It’s what always makes shooting Olly – and this is his sixth Fabulous cover – such delicious fun.
Mr Gift of The Gab is always on form, always charm personified and always completely open about whatever’s thrown at him.
The 33-year-old is set to star on this year’s series of The Voice
Which is just as well, because, ahem, let’s not beat about the bush – what the devil is going on with Melanie Sykes?
“Yeah… it was a shock when that came out because I haven’t seen Mel since May. We’ve had the odd text, but I’ve not seen her.”
The Sun broke the story in November that Olly, 33, and Mel, 47, had been dating for several months after being introduced by a mutual friend and bonding over their shared love of fitness.
“OK,” concedes Olly.
“At the start of the year we had a bit of a fling, but that’s all it was.
“We went out a couple of times and had a few drinks. It was a bit of fun. I wouldn’t say we were dating, but we get on well. She came to my tour, we had a bit of a laugh and it was never anything serious.
Despite his heartthrob image Olly admits he is a sensitive soul at heart
“To say we were dating for over a year? Come on, that’s not the truth.
“Me and Melanie are not together. We knew each other well and had seen each other at various events. She liked my new album and that was it.
“I read that we were supposed to be getting married and that it had been brewing for six years. Really?! If me and Mel were sat here now we’d both say it was never like that.”
So whatever it was, is it over now?
“Yeah!” he replies emphatically.
Olly has admitted to a brief fling with Mel Sykes at the start of last year
“I’ve not seen her since May. We’re mates. It was a brief fling, and if people think we’re getting married and having kids, then that’s one long-distance relationship.
“She’s lovely – Mel is an amazing person. She’s a great mum, she’s gorgeous, but it wasn’t serious.”
Indeed, Olly says he’s “100% single” since splitting from girlfriend Francesca Thomas two years ago.
And it’s clear he’s found it tough to move on from the heartache – she recently became engaged to someone else, and the news hit him hard.
Olly’s ex Francesca Thomas, who recently became engaged, is said to have left ‘a big mark on his heart’
“God, you hear your ex has got engaged to someone else… it hurts.
I mean, it’s never a nice thing to hear.
“I’m sure if I’d gone through the same cycle she has and met someone and got engaged, then she’d be thinking the same.
“She’s moved on. I have to accept that.
Olly Murs reveals on This Morning he hasn’t found the right girl due to his job
“Francesca left a big mark on my heart. She was my first proper girlfriend during this whole mad life which changed everything for me.
“She’s always going to be a huge part of that, and I wish her all the best for the future.
“Of course there’s part of me that misses what we had and what we went through. But life moves on, she’s moved on and I need to do the same. I’m trying to.”
Olly says he is currently 100 per cent single
While the prospect of a relationship appeals (“I miss having a partner in crime”), now doesn’t feel like the right time to be looking for one.
“I’ve had a really difficult couple of years. I’m not even ready to have a girlfriend.
“I’m not in the right frame of mind for it. I’ve not met the right girl, and maybe I’m still dwelling on the past.
“Something will come along when I least expect it. And I’ve been dating, seeing people…”
So not going without?
“Ha, no, definitely not going without! I’m enjoying my life. Do I want something serious? Of course I do. But at the moment nothing feels right.”
This year Olly will star alongside Tom Jones, Jennifer Hudson and will.i.am on The Voice
It’s hard to see where Olly would fit a relationship into his schedule at the moment.
In between the sell-out arena tours and Twitterstorms in Selfridges (more of which later), he’s also making his debut as a coach alongside will.i.am, Jennifer Hudson and Tom Jones on ITV’s The Voice.
It’s his first foray into television since 2015, when he co-hosted that ill-fated series of The X Factor with Caroline Flack.
Splash News He previously co-hosted the X Factor with Caroline Flack in 2015
“The Voice has been amazing, really incredible and a breath of fresh air. I was actually looking forward to having four months off and going travelling.
“I was going to email Ed Sheeran, cos me and Ed chat, to pick his brains on where to go and get a bit of me-time. But then The Voice came along and I couldn’t say no.”
As an artist whose showmanship is as much part of his performance as the vocals, does he think the coaches would turn their chairs for him if he auditioned for the show himself?
Rex Features Olly was the runner-up of series 6 of the talent show back in 2009
“Now I’d have a chance of getting through, yes. But 2009 Olly [the year he finished runner-up on The X Factor] might have struggled.
“Six, seven years ago I don’t think my voice was as strong as it is now – I’d never had a vocal coach and I didn’t know my voice or what it could do.
“I used to have the tag of just being a guy from a reality show. I’ve battled through that and proven myself as an artist, a singer, as a songwriter and performer.
Olly Murs – Twist and Shout
“This has been a really nice opportunity to go there and be myself with no barriers.”
Unlike, for example, presenting The X Factor, when Olly says he was “restricted”.
“I was very much told that I couldn’t say this or joke about that.
“We’d have script meetings and I’d have an idea for a joke or a reference to Simon or one of the judges to make it a bit more light-hearted, but I was limited in what I could say and do.”
Olly said he struggled with the restrictive nature of presenting
The series – which was plagued by mishaps and missteps from the get-go – saw Olly and Caroline taking a lot of the stick for issues that stemmed mainly from some disastrous format-tinkering.
“And that was down to the powers that be,” says Olly.
“We did a live judges’ houses show which was a load of crap. It was terrible. I was expecting four weeks in the sun and we [Olly and Caroline] ended up sat in a studio.
“It was a terrible change. Awful. A shambles. And Simon, to be fair, admitted afterwards that it wasn’t very good.
Rex Features Olly admits it was difficult following Dermot O’Leary script on the X Factor, pictured with 2017 contestant The Cutkelvins
“We pretty much got Dermot’s [O’Leary, the previous presenter, who has since been rehired] script, which me and Caroline had to divide up.
“Dermot presents in his way and he’s fantastic, but you can’t have the same show everyone is used to watching without the usual suspects. I thought we would be doing this new show, but it wasn’t.”
And then there was Olly’s infamous howler live on the Sunday-night results show, when he announced that Monica Michael would be leaving before the public vote was revealed.
Olly Murs announces Monica Michael leaves in X Factor blunder
“Yeah, I made a mistake, but the more I think about it… like this year, Dermot made a mistake when he told Grace she’d won [Dermot incorrectly told Grace she’d topped the vote in the first week] when she hadn’t.
“Little things like that happen even with experienced presenters, but I feel like I was unfairly criticised on the basis of a minor mistake and a human error.
“When I see presenters on TV shows who make those little mistakes I do think: ‘Wow.’”
Olly insists several times that he “couldn’t care less” what people write or think about him, but he’s not convincing. At all.
At heart, he’s a sensitive people-pleaser, and criticism stings.
Getty Images – Getty Olly says he decided to jump before he was pushed
“I was just really upset I made that mistake for me, cos I’m a perfectionist.
“We were just starting to feel we were doing well and that opened the floodgates, which was really upsetting.
“I had so many different emotions during that series – stress, worry, anxiety, excitement. Does it make me a bad presenter? No! Does it make me never want to do TV again? No!”
Getty Images – Getty
After weighing everything up on a post-X-Factor break to Barbados, Olly decided to jump before, perhaps, he was pushed.
“There was a lot of unrest, Simon hadn’t made a decision and there were all these rumours coming out, so I just went: ‘You know what? This isn’t for me,’ and I made the decision.”
He went back into the studio, started writing, and later that year came out with his fifth album 24 Hrs, which went straight to No.1.
“It justified my decision. Music’s my bread and butter and it’s what I love to do.
“The two years since have been a great journey, and I’m really happy to be back on TV with arguably the most exciting show.”
Getty – Contributor Ricky Wilson reportedly called Olly Murs ‘a c***’ but the pair have since confronted the matter
His appointment has, however, left some people smarting.
Last month it was reported that former The Voice coach Ricky Wilson, who parted company with the show in 2016 after three series before it moved to ITV, had been thrown out of a showbiz bash following a drunken rant about Olly in which he called him a “c**t”.
“The thing is, I don’t badmouth people,” says Olly, who wasn’t at the do in question but is well abreast of the story.
Olly Murs reveals he is quite tempted to try Tinder after disastrous dates
“If I ever have anything to say, I say it to their face. I actually saw him a few months ago backstage at an event.
“He came over, sat down and spoke to me. We were chatting away, and my tour manager pulled him up on something else he’d said about me in the past, and he said: ‘No! I love you, I’d never say anything like that!’
“So for him to come out and call me that word… Put it this way – he knows how to contact me, and if he wants to come up to my face and call me that, then I predict a riot!”
And Ricky’s not the only one he has a score to settle with.
Olly Murs reveals how he differs from his family on Loose Women
Step forward Piers Morgan, who recently slammed Olly on Twitter, accusing him of stirring “extra panic” during a terrorist scare in central London that later turned out to be false.
“Let’s put it straight,” he says.
“When I see Piers Morgan, we’ll have a private conversation and I’ll tell him exactly how I feel.”
Olly recounts what happened that day, and there’s no question that for him and everyone else caught up in the stampede, it must have been incredibly frightening.
Olly’s tweet during the London Oxford Street scare last year Reuters Armed police remained on guard at Oxford Street
It’s obviously something that has affected him deeply – with barely any prompting, he spends a good 20 minutes of our interview describing the chaos and defending his tweet.
“I was walking around downstairs in Selfridges and the next thing I know it’s pandemonium – people screaming, barging into me, running towards the exits, shouting: ‘Someone’s got a gun, they’ve shot someone, get out, get out, run, run, run!’ It was petrifying. I honestly felt I was running for my life.”
Video shows crowds of people running down Oxford Street after ‘Customer Incident’ at Oxford Circus tube station
Olly ended up taking refuge in a storeroom with about 25 others, all of them terrified. A young woman started hyperventilating.
It was from here that he sent the offending tweet (“F**k everyone get out of @Selfridges now gunshots!! I’m inside”) to his 7.8 million followers.
Today he says: “The police say when you’re in a terror situation, you run, hide and tell. I ran, I hid and I told. Yes, the information was wrong. But do I believe it was a hoax? Well, no, I don’t actually.”
Most famous follower?
Instagram. I love the stories, I’m really into it these days.
Funniest person on Twitter?
Are you on Facebook?
I have a private one for friends and family. It’s under a different name, but it’s not far away from my real one.
From a fan group who’ve sent a picture of me in my pants saying: “My nan called, she wants her underwear back!”
Oh? Curiouser and curiouser…
“I believe something did happen, whether it was in the store or out of it. For that panic, for that panic… I don’t know. There are conspiracy theories about it and I am questioning it.
“People can laugh and joke about it, but I think that’s because deep down they’re just as scared as anyone else.
“I completely agree that Twitter should not be used to spread false information.
“But at that moment I was in complete fear of my life – I thought there was someone shooting people.
Olly Murs admits he hasn’t heard from Simon Cowell since getting a job on rival show The Voice but says there’s no hard feelings
“I’d do it again, 100%. Any decent person in my position would have done the same. I’ve never seen anything like it. Let’s focus on the fact that people are safe.”
And Piers? “He’ll keep,” says Olly.
“For someone I have always respected, for him to attack me like he did… Listen, we’ll have a chat privately and I’ll tell him how I feel about him and ask him how he would have done things differently. I will have my day with Piers. I’m not going to let that slide.”