Olly Murs has been "secretly" dating commercial property manager/aspiring model Francesca Thomas since October 2012. The Sunday Mirror reported on Sept. 22, 2013 that Murs and Thomas want to keep their romance private because of the pitfalls of celebrities' loves lives that are in the media spotlight. Murs (who is 29) and Thomas (who is 24) reportedly met backstage in August 2012 at the V Festival, where Murs performed that year.
Murs came in second place on "The X Factor" U.K. in 2009. He has had several No. 1 hits in the U.K. and Ireland. His 2012 breakthrough international single "Troublemaker" was a Top 10 hit in several countries. Since his rise to fame on "The X Factor," this is the first report that Murs has a serious girlfriend. In interviews, he would frequently say that he was looking for a special someone because he is ready to settle down, get married and become a father, but he would say that his busy work schedule often kept him from having a serious romance with anyone.
Thomas and Murs have not publicly confirmed or denied that they are a couple. However, there have been some clues that Murs and Thomas (who both hail from Essex, England) have been dating each other. The biggest clue so far has been a photo that surfaced on the Internet of the couple vacationing together in Dubai in September 2013.
A source close to Murs told the Mirror: “Olly was enchanted by Francesca as soon as he saw her and it is obvious why. She is beautiful. They became close really quickly. They both grew up in Essex and used to go out to the same places so had loads in common. She makes him laugh and they got on straight away.
“Francesca is intelligent and has a successful career in her own right in London. But since meeting Olly she has been living the dream and visiting some amazing places with him. Things are really serious between them and they spend as much time as they can together, although it isn’t always easy as Olly is so busy.”
Back in October 2012, Murs told the Mirror that he had begun dating someone, whom he declined to name: “I’ve recently been on my third date with some lovely lady, which is great. Just a date. I can’t say the name – it’s early days.”
On December 2012, he talked about his budding romance with the mystery lady and again refused to say who she is: “It’s all early days. I only just had a day off for the first time in four weeks yesterday, so that says it all. I’m very good at keeping things under wraps. I’ve not been a nun! But I keep that side of my life very quiet. When I finish my work I go home to Essex and get on with my life.’’
According to the Sunday Mirror, Murs has lavished gifts on Thomas such as jewelry and a new white Mercedes convertible.
Thomas hinted that her life in the past year has been "amazing" when she tweeted in August 2013 before the weekend of the annual V Festival, where Murs was once again a performer: “It’s finally Friday and I’m about to embark on yet another amazing weekend this past year has brung!”
She later posted a photo of a bouquet of white roses with this caption: “Special Weekend.”
Murs has had a busy 2013 since he's been touring in several countries, including headlining his own tours and being the opening act for Robbie Williams' stadium trek.
As previously reported, Murs is set to make an appearance as a guest mentor on "The X Factor" U.K. in 2013. He teamed up with "X Factor" U.K. judge Gary Barlow in New York City to assist Barlow in choosing the contestants in the Groups category that will go on to perform on the show's live episodes this year. The air dates for the episodes with Murs as a guest mentor are to be announced.
Murs was the co-host of "The Xtra Factor" in 2011 and 2012, but he quit the show in 2013 because he said he was too busy with other work commitments.
In 2011, he admitted to OK! magazine that he had a brief fling with his "Xtra Factor" co-host Caroline Flack not long after they began working together. Their fling reportedly happened before she had a four-month romance with One Direction's Harry Styles. Flack and Murs have remained good friends. He has also confessed to having a celebrity crush on former "X Factor" U.K. judge Cheryl Cole.
Curiously, even though Murs has been a pop star since 2009, he did not move out of his parents' home until 2012. Maybe that had a lot to do with why he had a hard time finding a steady girlfriend. The Sun reported that Murs bought a four-bedroom house near his parents' home in the Chelmsford district of Essex.
If Murs does get married, his twin brother might not be invited to the wedding. The brothers have been estranged since 2009, when Olly had to miss Ben's wedding because Murs was required to be on "The X Factor" or else lose his place in the competition. Ben later gave bitter interviews complaining to the press about Olly not being at his wedding and saying that their parents sided with Olly. But apparently, Ben now wants to end their family feud. In September 2013, Ben gave an interview with The Sun saying that he has contacted Olly to ask for a reconciliation but Olly has not returned his messages.
Ben said in his interview with The Sun: "I'm genuinely so proud of what Olly's done. But he's become a total stranger to me. I told him on voicemail if he didn't want to know me anymore it was his decision. That's when he told me to delete his number. He keeps saying I have to step up and make things right. Well, I've tried. Olly has no interest. He won't speak to me. He doesn't even want to meet my son, which hurts more than anything."
Olly responded by telling The Sun: “I don’t want to be in the papers for the wrong reasons, I want to be in the papers for writing good songs. This was something I wanted to keep private. I don’t really need to talk about it anymore; it is done. It is upsetting when it is a constant thing.”
A spokesperson for Olly added, "Olly and his family feel that this upsetting and distressing situation should remain private, and should be resolved out of the public eye ... The family are incredibly disappointed Ben has decided to make this public for a second time.”