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Former NI Secretary of State Shaun Woodward comes out as gay - and daughter Ella's delighted

By Allan Preston

Published 05/02/2016

Ella Woodward and her father
Ella Woodward and her father
Ella cooking in the kitchen
Shaun Woodward's new partner Luke Redgrave with late aunt, actress Lynn Redgrave
Shaun Woodward and his ex-wife Camilla Sainsbury

The daughter of former Northern Ireland Secretary of State Shaun Woodward says she is "cool" with her father's relationship with a man - and that both he and his partner will be coming to her wedding.

Ella Woodward (24), the successful author of the healthy eating cook book series Deliciously Ella, is the offspring of Woodward and Camilla Sainsbury, of the supermarket dynasty.

The remarks appear in an interview with ES magazine, in which she also says she is thrilled that her father is finally happy.

Mr Woodward served as Northern Secretary from 2007-10 under Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

A former BBC producer, he defected while a Conservative MP to join Labour.

Having made the decision to split with his wife of 28 years, he is now living with partner Luke Redgrave, the grandson of the actor Sir Michael Redgrave.

Ella said she credited her upbringing for her accepting reaction to her father's new love.

"Growing up, my dad was the ultimate person for openmindedness," she said.

"No matter how much someone was like: 'Whoa, can you believe so-and-so is like that?'. He'd be like: 'Well, why does it matter to you?' And that rubbed off on us.

"Obviously it's sad that (he and mum) have split up, and not one of the easiest things to deal with, but my siblings and I feel that even if the transition is difficult, everyone will end up happier."

She has yet to meet Redgrave, but said: "He's definitely coming to the wedding. Absolutely."

She added: "Dad is happy. And, to be honest, that's fundamentally what matters. If this is what he wants in his life, then good for him."

Her father introduced Ella to her fiancé Matthew Mills (32), a professional golfer turned financier. Mills had approached Mr Woodward to see if Ella would be interested in becoming a brand ambassador for his coconut business.

Ella said: "I have my life. I have Matt. I have my work, which I love, and I have my friends. So as long as my mum is OK, which she absolutely is, and my dad is OK, to be honest, it's fine.

"I have been able to accept my father's new relationship because you get to that point with your parents that you realise it's their life, not yours." As a celebrated healthy food blogger, Ella's wedding guests are to be served with a dinner of fish and potatoes.

She said: "We'll do what we always do, a mix of the two: fish, potatoes, and big informal platters for sharing. It wouldn't be fair on Matt (who is not vegetarian) to say: 'OK, guys, we're doing a wheat-free vegetarian wedding - woohoo!'"

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