Michelle Collins has slammed critics of her relationship with her younger boyfriend.

Michelle Collins

Michelle Collins

The 56-year-old actress has been dating Mike Davison, 34, for over five years and still gets frustrated when she is labelled a "cougar" and he is called a "toyboy".

She fumed to the Daily Star: "Mike is 22 years younger than me and I'm regarded as a predator.

"It drives me mad. People call him my toyboy beau. He's nearly 35, for God's sake.

"He turned to me the other day and said, 'Surely I'm not still your toyboy, am I?'

"I laugh about it now but it is annoying. And I hate that word cougar. I can't stand it. I find it so demeaning. A cougar is a predator going around looking for young flesh. I'm certainly not like that.

"But then, women are judged far more harshly than men. And, funnily enough, often by other women.

"If people think I look old enough to be his mum then let them! There's nothing I can do about it. It's one of the downsides, I suppose, of being in the public eye."

Michelle went on to question the double standards when it comes to age-gap relationships, saying that no one questions when the man is older than the woman.

She said: "No-one mentions an older man and a younger woman, do they? Nobody goes on about Rod Stewart's wife Penny being nearly 30 years younger than him!"

However, Michelle insisted she and Mike try to keep their relationship out of the spotlight as they don't like the attention.

She said: "He's quite a shy person. And, anyway, I don't want to jinx anything. The minute you start talking about these things, you tempt fate."

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