Louise Redknapp has given the biggest hint yet as to what led to the collapse of her marriage to ex-footballer Jamie.

The 42-year-old star rose to fame as one-quarter of English R&B girl group Eternal before a successful solo run, but sacrificed her career to raise the couple's two boys.

Speaking to Hello! magazine, she admitted that while she still loved her estranged husband, they needed time apart.

"I lost myself. It happens to a lot of women when they get married and have children," she said.

When news broke in July that the power couple were now living separate lives, social media erupted with claims that her appearance on the 2016 series of BBC dancing competition Strictly Come Dancing was at the root of their marital woes and friends voiced concerns that she may be having a mid-life crisis.

But she has now made it clear that there is a deeper-rooted issue that they are trying to work through. "He's an amazing man and we've had 20 good years together," she explained. "I know he's trying to understand that I do need to do this."

Model Daisy Lowe was named as the woman at the centre of the split after the pair bonded during their stint on Strictly and Louise credited her with helping her regain her confidence. "She's a breath of fresh air because she has absolutely no filter," she told Stella magazine. "She completely believes in following your passion and fulfilling yourself as a woman, which I find really inspiring."

Earlier in October, Lowe dismissed rumours they are enjoying a secret romance in her Femme podcast. "I'm aware of all the lesbian hints. It actually makes me laugh," she told her listeners. "She's an amazing, warm, honest woman. I'm proud of her. This is what women should do, support each other," the exasperated star explained.

Louise recently relaunched her career with the lead role in stage production musical Cabaret. Speaking about her character Sally Bowles, she said: "Sally is extremely vulnerable, extremely fragile - yet on the outside, she's a very ballsy woman who wants to be a star and does all she can to survive."

She likened herself to her alter ego, adding: "I think lots of women will relate to how she puts on a brave face and always soldiers on, even when she's terribly wounded and terribly hurt and insecure and unsure."