Mark Wright

Mark Wright is cruising down West Hollywood with an iced coffee. It’s sunny, the sky is blue and he’s living his dream career. We’re well jel. Over here, the sky is grey and overcast. On paper, Mark should be happier than ever, but his achievements in the last 12 months have been bitter sweet. He’s pining for wife Michelle Keegan, who’s currently 9,000 miles away in Kuala Lumpur.

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Catching up with the 30-year-old TOWIE-star-turned-TV presenter last week, Mark can’t stop gushing about Michelle, 30, how much he misses home (he’s been copiously eating roast dinners to channel a bit of England) and explaining his plans for a big family Christmas.

We get the impression Mark is craving Essex life. But, it’s clear he’s been pretty busy, too, while presenting for Extra TV in the US, booking flights for his parents to come over and visit, planning a trip to see Mich, and that little matter of working hard and playing hard.

But, despite all that, he did manage to sneak in a tray-ning session with Cadbury’s Patrick McBride, the Milk Tray Man, who’s been putting Mark through his paces after launching a programme aimed at teaching Brits the art of thoughtfulness. Both tall, dark, handsome and fit, we totally see the resemblance when Mark admits he’s often compared to Patrick…

Hi Mark, how’s life in LA?

Very good, thank you. I’m craving some rain, though. Don’t feel bad for me, but it’s hard when you wake up to a blue sky every day [laughs]. You’ve been in Milk Tray-ning, but who would you give a box to right now?

It would be my boss out here, Theresa, because she’s American and loves Cadbury’s, but you can’t get it here. In fact [Mark gestures to his agent], Benji, where’s that Cadbury’s?

Are you having some shipped over to you, Mark? Well, I’m trying to but they’re taking their time.

Who was the last person you went the extra mile for?

My mum and dad. I’ve just booked them some surprise flight tickets to come out and see me. I was just speaking on the phone to my mum, she’s very excited.

What’s the most thoughtful and romantic thing you’ve ever done for Michelle?

On special occasions I’m always very thoughtful. If she says she likes something, I’ll remember it for months. Recently, we’ve been talking about me going out to see her for a couple of days – it’s a long way, but we’re trying to make it work. Normally she’ll have to plan so she knows I’m coming, but I’d like to surprise her. It’s little things like that.

You’ve been covering some big news stories over in LA, how have you found that?

With Vegas, you can’t ever prepare for that. I was speaking to people who’d been shot, or they had bullets left in their spine. It’s not even about how hard the job is, it’s about your interest and how emotionally involved you are.

It was very upsetting.

You started on TOWIE and now you’re a successful presenter. What’s the secret to success?

I know the secret to success. It’s believing you can do something and never giving up until you get it.

I can’t tell you how many people told me that I couldn’t be a presenter because I was on TOWIE. OK, we’ll see. There was something in the press when I first came to

America a few years ago saying: ‘Oh, Mark Wright wants to break America, what’s he thinking?’

I kept fighting for it and it happened.

You interview loads of celebs, who’s been your favourite?

Channing Tatum, I love him.

You’re mega busy, how are you staying so fit?

At the moment I’ve been working six or seven nights a week, so it’s been quite hard. I’ve been going to the gym two or three times a week, but I’d like to be going a bit more. Being in LA, I’m eating smaller portions, but I eat quite healthily anyway.

We heard you’ll be having an Essex Christmas. What are you most looking forward to when you have a bit of downtime?

I was going to spend a few days at home, but now I’ve actually booked off a whole week. I went back not so long ago, just for 48 hours to sort out some work, and I caught up with friends. We were in the pub and I couldn’t believe how much I’d enjoyed being there. I told them and they said: ‘What do you mean? We’ve just had a beer like we do every week.’ I was like: ‘No, you don’t understand! It means so much to me.’ That’s when I decided I would take a week off. I’ll be with my wife and her parents will be down, and then

It’s a long way to go but we’re trying to make it work

To have the Milk Tray Man join you on your mission and help you deliver a thoughtful gesture, visit Cadbury.co.uk/milktray

my family and all my friends. I’m gonna see everyone, every day and really make the most of it.

What would you eat ifyou have a hangover?

I like roast dinners, but since I’ve been here, I love them. It reminds me of home and every Sunday I just crave a roast dinner. Staying true to my roots, you know?

2017 has been a huge year for you and Michelle. What are your plans for next year?

It’s been tough. Michelle and I have been away working, she’s been filming for eight months and I’ve been out there lots. Don’t get me wrong, but it’s still hard.

So next year, less of that. Less of being apart.

We interviewed Michelle a few weeks ago and she said all she wants is a pina colada on the beach and a wordsearch…

We do wordsearches together and she’s so good. We go head to head and she’ll find 10 words in the time I’ve found one.

Where do you see yourselfin the next fewyears?

England will always be my home, but right now this path has opened up for me and I’ve got to go with it.

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