TOWIE favourite Joey Essex has admitted that although he's in no position to announce a brand new romance at the moment, he's currently on the lookout for "the person I'm going to have kids with".
Catching up with OK! this week, the 32-year-old former reality star insisted: "I'll put it out there – I'm more single than I've ever been in my life.
"But at the same time, I've been there and done that with having girlfriends and minor flings now.
"If I'm going to have a proper serious girlfriend in the spotlight now, and she's going to be welcomed into my family and my life, she has to be 'it'. She's got to be The One.
"I won't be doing that until I know it's going to be long-term. It would have to be the person that I know I'm going to have kids with."
Since taking to the spotlight back in 2011 where he appeared on the show's second series as a supporting cast member for his cousin and fellow TOWIE favourite Chloe Sims, we've witnessed Joey embark on his fair share of romantic ventures.
When he first joined TOWIE, Joey struck up a relationship with his former co-star Sam Faiers, letting viewers play witness to the ups and downs of their on-screen romance until they ultimately called it quits in 2014.
The years that followed saw Joey get close to his fellow I'm A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! campmate Amy Willerton in 2014 – with their 'romance' sadly fizzling out as the show came to an end – as well as Made In Chelsea's Stephanie Pratt.
He and Stephanie took part in Celebs Go Dating together back in 2016 until their break-up three months later.
2018 saw Joey linked to former Love Island star Ellie Brown after she shared a video of them kissing on her Instagram Stories, however their romance quickly ended, with the pair later appearing together on Ex On The Beach.
On the same series, he met Mexican model and singer Lorena Medina, who moved to England to live with him at his Chigwell home when the show came to an end.
Despite labelling Joey "the love of my life", their romance ended months later.
"I haven't stopped with dating," Joey revealed to OK! during our exclusive catch up. "I still date girls all the time – but I won't be having an exclusive 'girlfriend' again until I know it's the right person.
"Every time I'm single and I'm seen with a girl walking down the road, it's like, 'Oh, my god, look at Joey's new girlfriend'. I've probably had about 400 girlfriends! I can't be bothered going through all that again until it's really serious."
Joey also explained that he's happy with his newfound low-key lifestyle, and added: "I'm enjoying having a bit more privacy at the moment. I've grown up so much over these past few years, so I don't really feel a need to show-off my life on Instagram.
"I can feel it in myself that I've matured. My life is so fast – it honestly feels like I'm living on fast-forward – so if I took the time to post everything I do on social media, I'd have no time left for me."
As well as having been confirmed as the latest contestant to take part in the upcoming series of Dancing On Ice, Joey has also been working alongside Malibu Rum in a campaign aimed at promoting safety for Freshers students embarking on university life this month.
Explaining what made him want to become involved with the movement, Joey admitted: "I've always been a fan of Malibu as a drink – a pina colada is my go-to drink – and everyone knows I love nothing more than a night out with friends.
"Nobody should have to worry on a night out that they're unsafe, so Malibu's hashtag 'GoodVibesOnly' is a great way of emphasising that you can still have fun whilst being aware of your new surroundings at uni and looking after everyone around you."
Joey has teamed up with Malibu Rum, as part of its #GoodVibesOnly campaign, spreading awareness of how students can keep safe as they start university life. For more information, visit www.maliburumdrinks.com/uk/welcometomalibu.
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