Inside Cheryl Fergison's marriage to Moroccan toyboy 21 years her junior as she insists he's not a gold-digger

CHERYL Fergison has defended her 11 year marriage to her Moroccan toyboy husband.

The former EastEnders star, 56, and Yassine el Jamouni, who is 21 years her junior, have proved their detractors wrong by standing the test of time.

The actress believes women face more criticism than men when it comes to being the older one in a relationship.

She told the Mirror: “It seems to be quite cool for the men, like Mick Jagger, to date younger. And it seems okay for them to have someone else two years later.

“But people don’t give any kudos to a woman dating someone younger, even though we’ve been together 11 years.

“Well we don’t care. It really is absolutely water off a duck’s back to us now. I just feel sorry for them, that they need to criticise our life.”

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As well as being sneered at for the age gap, Cheryl and Yassine have also had to deal with racist stereotyping.

When her son Alex, 22, from her first marriage to Afghani Jamshed Saddiqui, asked his Alexa to tell him a fact about his mum, the family were shocked by the response.

The piece of tech told them that Cheryl is married to a Moroccan goat herder, but Yassine has never even owned a single goat during the relationship.

The answer left Cheryl baffled and she put it down to racism, sexism and ageism.

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Cheryl left EastEnders a year after tying the knot with Yassine in 2011.

Last month we revealed she has embarked on a new career – giving singing lessons for £60 an hour.

She offers one-to-one Zoom courses on singing and also covers off songwriting and a variety of other disciplines.

She is advertising her classes on TikTok and in an email to interested students, she said: “You will have an hour with me where you can choose the subject/s that are of interest.

“It is important that these 1-2-1 sessions are tailor made just for you.”

As well as musical help, she is offering her services in character building, script reading, script writing, screen acting, stage acting and confidence building.

But she said she is also willing to open up in a personal conversation about her experience on shows including EastEnders.

Cheryl said she would tell students “how a soap is put together for your viewing and how I developed the character of Heather Trott.”

She is also willing to answer any “questions you may have regarding my time at EastEnders, or any other roles on stage/TV that I have portrayed and worked on.”

In 2020 she said she had struggled to find further acting roles after leaving the BBC1 soap as she felt she was typecast in her role as loveable Heather.

She explained: "Heather is hard to shake. I got fairy parts when I left EastEnders in pantos because Heather was lovely and kind.

"I only ask for a little bit of imagination from casting directors."

She previously said that she originally wanted to return to EastEnders as her character’s long lost twin after Heather was killed by Ben Mitchell.

But after moving out of London she would now prefer a role in Coronation Street or Emmerdale.

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Cheryl previously said: “I had this idea when they took me out of it that they could bring back Heather's long lost twin.

"It didn’t happen and you know what, I live up north now so it's the cobbles or the dales."

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