Inside Cristiano Ronaldo’s low-key romance with soap siren Gemma Atkinson

Hollyoaks actress Gemma Atkinson had a surprising fling with one of the world's most famous footballers – Cristiano Ronaldo.

The soap star, 36, is now happily engaged to Strictly Come Dancing professional dancer Gorka Marquez – and the smitten pair announced their engagement in February this year.

The couple, who met on the popular BBC One dancing show, even welcomed their baby girl, Mia, on 4 July 2019.

However, things were very different back in 2007, because Gemma briefly dated rich athlete Ronaldo, 36, who now plays for Juventus and is widely regarded as one of the greatest football players of all time – and is rumoured to be returning to the UK to play for Manchester City.

The pair struck up a romance just after she had left Hollyoaks, where she played the role of Lisa Hunter.

At the time, Portuguese hunk Cristiano was still playing for Premier League titans Manchester United.

Cristiano is now the first footballer and third ever sportsman to earn a whopping $1billion during their career.

But despite how high-profile he is, Ronaldo's first date with Gemma was surprisingly low-key, and the fling was typically British in style as it involved putting the kettle on and watching Only Fools and Horses.

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“It was really, really glamorous,” the actress said sarcastically.

Speaking about her first date with the soccer star with Manchester based radio station Key 103, Gemma said: "We went to my house and drank cups of tea and watched Only Fools and Horses. Genuinely."

The beloved British sitcom, which originally ran from 1981 to 1991, is set in Peckham and follows Del Boy and his younger brother Rodney as they try to get rich, often making "fools" of themselves in the process.

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Former Emmerdale actress Gemma admitted she is not sure whether or not the footballer still enjoys watching the British sitcom.

She continued: "I don't know if he's into it now but he seemed to enjoy it."

"Only Fools and Horses and cups of tea, he seemed to enjoy it then but I’m going back about six/seven years."

Gemma had previously turned down big money deals to reveal all about their brief romance, but in 2010 she said: "With Cristiano it was mad, because everywhere he went he was followed by photographers.

"When we did split up I got offered so much money to speak about him and I didn’t want that."

Ronaldo has also dated Russian model Irina Shayk, who was rumoured to be dating Kanye West earlier this year, before they split in 2015.

Gemma and Gorka met on the set of Strictly in 2017 when the actress and presenter reached the final with Aljaz Skorjanec.

The pair began dating after the series ended, and they shared the exciting news of their engagement on Valentine's Day this year.

Alongside a romantic selfie of the two with Gemma showing off a sparkling diamond ring, she penned: "Valentine's forever… Of course, I said yes."

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