Paul Whitehouse is one of the few comedians who, along with the likes of Harry Enfield, Vic Reeves and Hugh Laurie, have defined a generation for more than three decades. But now he’s back on our screens for a quiet journey of memories with his old friend and comedy superstar Bob Mortimer on the BBC show Mortimer and Whitehouse: Go Fishing.
As Paul puts it, while the show “speaks a lot of bullshit” despite its few fish, the show has revealed little-known facts about the star’s personal life. Paul, 63, divorced his wife in the early 2000s after some sort of “midlife crisis” and has been dating academic Mine Conkbayir, 41, ever since.
They met when she was 23, she was a student, worked in a shop, and even had Paul’s autograph. Speaking of the beginning of their relationship, I told Mail Online: “Paul would come on a regular basis. I tried to act unmoved, but my heart was breaking down. I bought a ticket to his show and he promised to take me backstage.
“We had a little joke between us and went on a few dates.” They went out to dinner, and I took the reluctant Whitehouse to an art gallery. She also asked him to come to her universities – the city and Islington, where she is studying childcare – for fundraisers.
It’s a slow-burning relationship. “Paul was understandably intimidated by the age difference and his celebrity status – I think he had to ask himself what I really wanted,” she recalls. The couple have a daughter, Delilah, who is an ex-wife The father of two daughters to Frau Fiona Mine and Paul, rather unorthodox, do not live together in north London, but live side by side.
When he’s not chatting with friends by the river, he’s rehearsing for Only Fools and Horses the musical, which premieres at the Royal Haymarket Theatre on February 9.