When TV chef Phil Vickery was spotted kissing Lorraine Spanton, the best friend of his second ex-wife, Fern Britton, in London last September, the act was deemed forbidden.
But that humiliation appeared to be a distant memory yesterday as the This Morning star, 62, basked in the sun at the Southport Flower Show.
Sitting barely a spatula’s length away from him was Lorraine, 58, who kept her eyes concealed behind sunglasses.
‘They spent the day together,’ a visitor to the show tells me, adding that Lorraine watched admiringly as Phil cooked in front of an audience.
‘When Phil had finished, they went for a coffee,’ says my green-fingered informant, ‘and then for a beer.’
TV chef Phil Vickery basked in the sun at the Southport Flower Show on Tuesday. Sitting barely a spatula’s length away from him was Lorraine Spanton, 58, who kept her eyes concealed behind sunglasses
Vickery was spotted kissing Spanton, the best friend of his second ex-wife, Fern Britton, in London last September
Fern Britton and Phil Vickery are pictured together in April 2017
Vickery is seen smiling as he looks at Stanton during their outing at the Southport Flower Show
But the pair refrained from indulging in any public display of affection which might have been open to misinterpretation — as was the case last year when they were forced to deny speculation of a romance.
On that occasion, Vickery, who parted company from Britton, 66, three and a half years ago, was adamant their meeting was innocent.
Asked about a potential new romance, he said of Lorraine, who has worked in hospitality and has two children with estranged husband Simon: ‘She’s just a friend. We’re just mates having lunch, for goodness’ sake.’
Lorraine last year admitted she has moved out of her marital home but insisted ‘it was nothing to do with the incident over the pictures’.
Meanwhile Fern, who left her daytime TV role on This Morning in 2009, was far from a woman scorned over the pictures. She dismissed any speculation of a relationship between the pair as ‘not true’. I wonder what she’ll say this time…
A representative for Vickery was unavailable for comment.
Vickery and Stanton were all smiles while they sat together at the flower show on Tuesday
Stanton is smiling as she gazes at Vickery during their outing
Stanton appears to be showing Vickery, who is carrying a box, a document as the pair walk together
Last year, Britton was said to be ‘heartbroken and dumbstruck’ after pictures emerged of Vickery and Stanton passionately kissing.
Despite the fact the pictures are said to have hurt her, Britton defended her friend and ex by cryptically tweeting that the story is ‘not true’, causing confusion among her fans.
A source told MailOnline at the time that she had been left embarrassed by the news becoming public so made a statement in order to minimise the situation and ‘stop it getting out control’, adding that she still feels ‘protective’ over her friend after their long friendship.
But behind closed doors, she was understood to have been left feeling ‘shocked, weird and awkward’ by the pair’s betrayal.
The insider said last year: ‘Fern finds the situation weird and awkward and has learned that Lorraine is clearly not a great mate.
‘She’s shocked and is struggling to process her mixed emotions. On the one hand she had felt like she’d moved on from Phil but she hadn’t expected this new romance and it’s been hard to see.’
Last year, Britton was said to be ‘heartbroken and dumbstruck’ after pictures emerged of Vickery and Stanton passionately kissing (Lorraine, Phil and Fern pictured together in 2017)
Wives club: In 2019 Lorraine shared a picture the pair of them as they sipped glasses of fizz, saying: ‘Wives club at The Punch Bowl’
Vickery and Britton announced their split in January 2020 by posting the same statement on social media, which read: ‘After more than 20 happy years together, Phil and I have decided to go our separate ways.
‘We will always share a great friendship and our lovely children. We would appreciate it if our privacy is respected at this time. Thank you for your continued kindness and support.’
A month after announcing the end of her 20-year marriage, Britton revealed she suffered a ‘difficult’ time in splitting with Vickery.
Opening up for the first time about why they parted, and insisting they are both ‘doing OK’, she told Woman and Home magazine in 2020: ‘We simply needed to follow our own paths.
‘Over time we realised we weren’t necessarily having the kind of life we once did. It seemed right to say “thank you” and move on.
‘But we do have a good friendship. Phil and I had the greatest fun together and we have the most beautiful daughter together, Winnie… and so we will always be connected.’
The pair share one daughter, Winnie, while Britton is also the mother to twins Jack and Harry, and daughter Grace – who she shares with ex-husband Clive Jones.