18/08/2012 08:38 BST

Denise Welch Gets Engaged To Toyboy Lover Lincoln Townley

Denise Welch is to wed her toyboy lover Lincoln Townley - six months after ending her 24 year marriage.

The Loose Woman accepted Townley's proposal during a romantic get-away to Nice, France, and the couple are making plans to marry next summer.

Welch, 54, and 39-year-old Townley, met at a party last year, and when their fling became public it was blamed for her marriage breakdown to actor Tim Healy.

However, Denise claims they had already agreed to separate before she met her toyboy.

She said she was "absolutely thrilled" with the engagement, adding: "I had no idea the proposal was coming.”

A source told The Mirror: “Lincoln knew fairly early on that Denise was ‘the one’ and, over the past few months, they have become inseparable.

"After breaking up from Tim, Denise thought she would never marry again. She never reckoned on falling in love so soon. This past year has been incredibly hard but Lincoln has been an absolute tower of strength. He planned the proposal with military precision and even asked for Denise’s dad’s blessing. It was completely unexpected and Denise was stunned but now she can’t wait to plan an amazing wedding.”

They spent Friday morning beaming happily as they spent time shopping for rings in London's Bond Street.

Speaking about her marriage to ex Tim, Denise recently told OK! magazine: "We didn't have an open marriage, there were infidelities on both parts, like there are in millions of marriages. For me and Tim, infidelity didn't have to be the end of a relationship. We moved on from the infidelities - and there are not loads of them - because what we had was more important."

She added: "I'll never stop loving Tim. And Lincoln has met Tim, and he can see why I love Tim. Tim will always be in my life and I wouldn't want it any other way. Our love didn't end, it just took a different trajectory."