This time last year, McFly their wedding and they let slip to
drummer Harry Judd was lost in a world of sequins and side steps as he was put through his paces for a stint on Strictly Come Dancing. Now, he’s preparing with equal zeal for a rather more significant role – his wedding to violinist Izzy Johnston.
“We both feel so lucky,” Harry tells hello! as the couple pose for this exclusive photoshoot. “It’s such a special time.”
“It’s amazing,” adds Izzy, who has been working with a dressmaker to design her dream gown for the Christmas nuptials.
As the groom is reigning Strictly champion, the couple are expected to deliver a polished first dance at
hello! that they do have a surprise up their sleeves. “It will certainly require some practice,” laughs Harry of the secret routine. “It’s nice to be better than Izzy at dancing.”
Brave words when you consider his bride-to-be, who reached the final of Britain’s Got Talent in 2008 as part of string quartet Escala, danced when she was younger.
It’s clear that both are excited about their big day, but Harry acknowledges Izzy is “definitely in charge” of the preparations.
“What was your favourite meeting?” she asks her fiancé.
“The cake,” he replies without any hesitation.
“It was so funny,” she laughs. “Harry was so engaged in the cake meeting, his eyes just lit up.”
LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT
The couple met seven years ago at a McFly rehearsal in a church hall in Bristol, when Harry was 19 and Izzy was 21. Izzy and her best friend, Escala’s Chantal Leverton, were part of the string section on McFly’s 2005 tour.
“I was introduced to Harry, and he gave me a kiss on the cheek and it was absolutely love at first sight,” she says.
“I walked away and said to Chunny, ‘Something just happened to me.’ It was powerful, like I’d known him forever.”
Harry felt the same and within a week he was telling Izzy that he was going to marry her.
“We weren’t even really together,” he recalls with a smile. “She was umming and ahhing about whether she wanted to be with me or not.”
“When I first met him, he didn’t know how to pay a cheque in,” adds Izzy, laughing. “He was like, ‘I’ve got to get to so and so, how do I do that?’ Basic life stuff.
“Also, I thought that because he was in a band, he’d be like the stereotype,” adds Izzy.
“She was probably right to think that,” admits Harry. “Any other 19-year-old would have done all sorts of things, but we fell in love. We just had this deep understanding, like no one in this world knows you better.”
Harry’s turn on Strictly also helped their relationship. “It sounds cheesy, but I think Harry went from being a boy to a man during Strictly,” says Izzy, who left Escala last December. “He grew in confidence; he really blossomed.”
What do they love most about each other? “Harry is incredibly cheeky and a little bit of a monkey, but he has this way of getting away with it,” says Izzy, smiling. “He is also very kind and supportive.”
“I knew Harry was special because of the way he [behaved] with Rupert.” She’s referring to her brother, who sustained a serious brain injury in a car accident in 1997, for which he is receiving long- term rehabilitation.
In response, Harry describes Izzy as “the most caring person I know”.
HAPPY EVER AFTER
Despite their early mutual attraction, Harry admits that he did question commitment at such a young age.
“I think it’s because we were so intense,” he says. “I was young and if Izzy had had her way, we would have three kids already. She was ready to settle down and I wasn’t. In those situations you can’t compromise.”
The couple split briefly, but the separation served only to reinforce their feelings for each other. “Finally, we were both in the same place and I wanted to commit,” says Harry. “That was when we were at our happiest.”
Adds Izzy: “If you survive difficult times, it just affirms that you want to be together.”
Harry’s marriage proposal was carefully planned for May this year, after Harry had finished his Strictly and McFly tours.
Enlisting the help of bandmate Tom Fletcher, Harry and Izzy headed to St Lucia for a holiday on the same day that Tom and his new wife Giovanna flew there on their honeymoon.
Ensuring the engagement ring wouldn’t be accidentally discovered by his girlfriend, Harry gave it to Tom, who carried it to the Caribbean island hidden safely in his hand luggage.
“After we arrived, we went to the loos and he gave me the ring,” explains Harry, who was planning a romantic proposal on the beach on the first night.
“When we got there, I thought he was acting strangely,” recalls Izzy. “We were getting ready and I was like, ‘Come on, let’s get dinner, I’m hungry.’ He said, ‘No, not yet,’ and started dancing around the room with me.”
Then there was a knock at the door and they were guided along a candlelit pathway to a table set up on the beach.
“We hadn’t even had [time for] a drink and Harry was down on one knee,” laughs Izzy. Harry picks up the story: “I was suddenly nervous. I was shaking a bit and when I opened the box the ring was upside down.”
The diamond ring, which fitted perfectly, was based on a design Izzy had admired years earlier worn by one of her brother’s carers.
The couple celebrated with a bottle of alcohol-free bubbly. Harry quit drinking last year when McFly’s Dougie Poynter entered the Priory for problems with alcohol and depression, while Izzy says drinking doesn’t agree with her.
Has Tom given him any wedding tips? “If I ask him a question, he goes, ‘Sorry, dude, I don’t know. Ask Giovanna,’” says Harry.
When it came to the stag do, however, Harry’s brother Thomas was the man in the know.
Taking place just days before the hello! photoshoot, the party was held at his former boarding school, Old Buckingham Hall, in Suffolk.
The group of 25 included McFly’s Tom, Dougie and Danny Jones and Harry’s fellow Strictly contestant Robbie Savage. They stayed in the dormitories and played cricket and football. Adding to the theme, Harry was made to wear his old school uniform, including shorts and knee-high socks.
BEST OF FRIENDS
Izzy’s three brothers and Harry’s five close friends will be among the ushers, as will all the McFly boys. They are a tight-knit group, says Harry. “Most bands get on, but they don’t spend time together outside work or go on holiday like we do.”
Their new single, Love is Easy, is out on 11 November and its video features Harry doing a twirl with his Strictly glitterball trophy.
The band was often spotted in the audience of last year’s Strictly, while Tom flew to Australia to support Dougie when he was crowned winner of I’m a Celebrity… Get Me out of Here! soon afterwards.
In McFly’s new autobiography, Unsaid Things… Our Story, Harry reveals how he and Izzy spent Valentine’s Day in 2011 with Dougie the night before he went into the Priory. The bass player has revealed that he’d tried to commit suicide earlier that month.
“We were on our way out to dinner and it felt wrong,” says Izzy. “We thought, ‘We can do this another time.’”
Instead, the couple drove to Dougie’s home. “I would do it for any friend,” says Harry. “He was very vulnerable at that time.”
Harry subsequently acted as matchmaker between Dougie and a family friend, artist Lara Carew- Jones. “She’s the female version of Dougie,” says Harry. “I was spot on with that. They’re completely head over heels.”
In the book, Harry also speaks of his night with Lindsay Lohan, whom he met when McFly appeared in the movie Just My Luck in 2005. Izzy says she hasn’t read it all, but, as Harry says: “There’s nothing in there Izzy doesn’t already know.” He adds: “We are getting married, so nothing else matters.”
What’s it like knowing that her fiancé has adoring fans? “They have always been really lovely to me,” says Izzy. Inspired by her brother Rupert, Izzy set up the charity Eyes Alight to help grant wishes to people going through long-term brain rehabilitation. “McFly fans have helped raise money for the charity,” says Izzy.
COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS
When Izzy decided to leave her own band, it was a tough decision. “It’s like a break-up, as we’re so close,” she says. “I just had to be true to myself. I didn’t think it was fair to carry on when I wasn’t 100 per cent happy.
“I love performing and miss that, but I never found the lifestyle easy,” she says. “I’m much more settled now. Harry’s life is so hectic that one of us needs to do the washing up and I’m quite happy to be that one.” Izzy still works as a violinist, and will also be launching her online gift boutique, Izzy’s Attic, in the new year.
In the meantime, Izzy remains close to her Escala bandmates – Chantal Leverton, Victoria Lyon and Tasya Hodges – and all of them will be at the wedding. Chantal will be Izzy’s maid-of- honour and recently organised the first part of the hen do, a day at a Champneys spa. There is another celebration with friends this month.
Why did the couple choose a December wedding? “My brother is getting married next May and Harry and I didn’t want to wait until the summer,” says Izzy. “Christmas is such a magical time and it’s Harry’s birthday on 23 December.”
They both love being with their families at Christmas so much that they’ve decided to have a mini-moon in England rather than go overseas.
The couple are counting down the days. Says Harry: “I’ve had McFly, Strictly, our engagement, all these special memories that I want to keep them fresh in my mind – I’ve had an amazing couple of years – I just look back at everything and think, ‘Wow.’”