ATOMIC KITTEN star Liz Mcclarnon was secretly engaged to former boyfriend Lee Ryan.

The WHOLE AGAIN singer dated the Blue badboy on and off for more than two years, but split after tabloid tales proved too much for the pair.

She says, "Lee was lovely. I loved him and yes he loved me - and yes we were engaged. That's the first time I've admitted it. We were engaged for a couple of weeks and my mum really liked him.

"It broke up because of the stories about his womanising and my flirting. You have to be such a strong person to cope with that and I am definitely not and I don't think he is either. It was just too much stress for us. It was too much stress."

But now the sexy singer is in search for a new man - and one that does not lust after the high-profile lifestyle.

She is also confident that she won't meet him on a night on the town: "I'm on the look out, but this time I won't go looking for him in the clubs."

Liz insists that the band's break is not permanent and that the girls are just taking a 12 month break - which gives the pop-beauty a perfect opportunity to find that ideal partner.

She says, "I'm just a 22-year-old woman who likes to have fun with her friends. If the right man comes along in the year off, perfect. I would certainly like someone special in my life."

01/02/2004 14:32