Stephen Merchant always used to say he’s unlucky in love.
In fact, one ill-fated interaction with the opposite sex went very badly, as he literally caught on fire.
“When I was in university, I bought a shirt that I thought was pretty classy. I thought it was pretty good. A red faux silk shirt,” he once told GQ.
“And I wore it to this party, and I thought I was looking pretty cool, and I got talking to this girl, and it seemed to be going well. There was some laughter.
“There was a vibe. And she said at one point, ‘Steve, you’re on fire.’ And I said, ‘Thanks very much.’ And she said, ‘No, you are on fire,'” he continued.
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“And my sleeve had caught a light on this candle that was on this mantle. And I’m not at my sexiest when I’m rolling on the floor, screaming, ‘Put it out! For the love of God, put it out!'”
And standing at an incredible 6ft 7, Stephen also revealed he believed his height was an obstacle when it came to dating.
“If they’re down there and I’m up here, it’s a bit tricky,” the 47-year-old told Alan Carr.
But this all changed in 2017, when he met US actress and model Mircea Monroe while he was admittedly dating a lot of people in LA.
Mircea, 39, is well-known for starring in shows including Episodes, Scrubs and Hart of Dixie, and films Just Friends and Magic Mike.
A successful model, she was also featured in the September 2004 issue of Maxim and on the cover of Yoga magazine’s August 2014 issue.
She helped to end Stephen’s “lonely life of a single person” as they embarked on a romance together.
“Aside from the fact that she’s great, hitting 40, there’s something very pleasing about not having the endless concern about filling that part of your life,” he said
“The life of a single person is a very lonely life. There’s a lot of nights where you’re watching DVDs on your own.”
The pair met at an awards ceremony, and have since moved in together in a swanky £2.4million mansion previously owned by Ellen DeGeneres.
They keep their relationship private but have been spotted out and about together, including on Christmas Eve in 2020 when they donned matching black puffer jackets and hats and walked hand-in-hand on a London trip.
The loved up couple split their time between the English capital and LA, according to the Independent.
On Monday, Stephen plays notorious ‘Grindr killer’ Stephen Port in the new BBC crime drama Fo ur Lives.
The sexual predator, who drugged, raped and killed four men that he met on the gay dating app, and is currently serving a life sentence in the high-security Belmarsh prison.
The actor Stephen looked utterly transformed in preview photos from the show, which also stars Sheridan Smith as bereaved mum Sarah Sak.
“It is something very different from what I’ve done before, and it was a challenge, an enormous challenge,” he told Digital Spy of his decision to take on an unusually serious role.
He added: “We’re not trying to fully understand him, he is a kind of shark prowling the waters,” explaining he chose not to meet with the real killer.
“I felt like what I needed to do was to construct my own kind of interpretation of him, in my own internal logic about how someone like that thinks.”
* Four Lives begins January 3rd and airs over three nights at 9pm on BBC One
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