Bernie Nolan’s husband Steve has never been prouder of his wife of 14 years, who he’s whisked off on a romantic minibreak to Paris ahead of her mastectomy and reconstruction surgery later this month.
In his first ever interview about the singer’s brave breast cancer battle, he exclusively tells HELLO!: "She’s the strongest person I’ve known in my life… She handles everything better than me".
Bernie has lost her hair due to the chemotherapy treatment she’s undergone. Far from hide away, though, the inspirational star is embracing her new look – and stepped out for our exclusive HELLO! photoshoot in Paris without her wig.
"She looks stunning,” says Steve, smiling. “It’s quite a statement isn’t it, having a bald head. When men shave their heads, it gives them a look of power and strength and I think that’s what it’s done for Bernie.
"Before, when her hair was tufty, she looked poorly, but the minute she shaved it, it was an amazing transformation.”
Bernie says that Steve “boosts my morale” every day, especially when she is getting ready.
“He’ll help me with my wig if I’m wearing it and when I’m drawing on my eyebrows – he’ll say that eyebrow's a bit crooked, or you look like you’re frowning or you look surprised. We have a laugh about it.”
Of their relationship, Steve says: “There’s a lot more affection, more cuddling and talking. It makes you realise how much somebody matters to you...
"I don’t want to sound corny but it has made us appreciate that the best of times is now, it’s not tomorrow".
"I didn’t know whether I’d be able to rest and relax," admits Bernie, who says that her cancer diagnosis has taught her to be more spontaneous – hence the trip to Paris – and to make more time for family and friends.
“My oncologist said to me ‘cancer brings out the best in people,’” she reveals. “At the time, I thought ‘what a strange thing to say’.
But I tell you, I’m a much better person for this cancer. I’ve learnt so much – it changes your outlook on life, definitely.”
She adds: “We have always had a strong relationship, but now I feel so well looked after and loved. We’re so much closer emotionally.
"I couldn’t have done this without him. He’s just the best thing that has ever happened to me.”
Read the full interview in HELLO! - issue 1145 - out now