Candice Brown of Bake Off spotted for the first time with new rugby player boyfriend Nicky Hewer

Candice Brown holds hands with her new rugby player boyfriend, Nicky Mercer, during a dog walk in east London on Thursday when she is seen with him for the first time.

The Bake Off champion, 36, who won the show’s seventh series in 2016, is dating sportsman and regional pilot manager TUI a year after splitting from husband Liam Macauley.

Travel executive Nicky is also an avid sportsman and plays for Aylesbury Rugby Football Club.

Love: Candice Brown holds hands with her new rugby player boyfriend Nicky Mercer on a dog walk in east London on Thursday as she is seen with him for the first time

The couple looked happy as they went for a walk together, with Candice wearing a long-legged display in denim shorts and a white T-shirt as her dog sat in a pouch tied up the front.

Meanwhile Nicky looked casual in a red England football shirt and light blue jeans with a cute pug on the back.

It is not known how long the couple have been dating. MailOnline has reached out to Candice’s representatives for comment.

Funny: The Bake Off Champion, 36, who won the show’s seventh series in 2016, is dating sportsman and regional pilot TUI a year after splitting from husband Liam Macauley

Hunk: Travel executive Nicky is also an avid sportsman and plays for Aylesbury Rugby Football Club

The baker’s new romance comes after she opened up about suffering the ‘worst year of her life’ in April following her split from husband Liam.

The television personality admits he doesn’t know ‘how he’s still walking’ when he talks about his mental health struggles.

It was revealed that Candice and her tree surgeon, ex Liam, had decided to separate after less than two years of marriage last July.

Out and about: The couple looks happy as they go for a walk together, with Candice sporting a leggy display in denim shorts and a white T-shirt as her dog sits in a pouch strapped to the front

Walking: Meanwhile, Nicky looks casual in a red English football shirt and light blue jeans with a cute pug in tow.

Beginner romance: It is unknown how long the couple dated

Upset: The baker’s new romance comes after she opens up about suffering ‘worst year of her life’ in April after splitting from husband Liam

He told The Burnt Chef Journal podcast: ‘I had a really tough year last year – the hardest of my life. How my f*** still goes, I don’t know. But it’s just a lot to accept, a lot to deal with.’

Candice, who runs her Green Man pub in Eversholt, said: ‘Mental health is something I’ve always struggled with.

‘I was also diagnosed with ADHD, hence disorganized and forgetful.’

He revealed: ‘On the days we were closed and towards the end of the year I said, “I don’t know if I can do this myself if the lockdown happens again.

Sweet: The new couple together join their four-legged friend for a walk in the capital

The Good: Nicky, who also plays rugby, walks Candice’s dog Albus while she carries her second four-legged friend in a sling

Busy: Candice was seen taking a call on her phone at one point while she was getting some fresh air

‘I just can’t do it. I have to be on the go all the time and the silence and darkness over the brain that can be very dark is a lot.’

The famous baker first met Liam’s ex at the bar where he worked while studying for a degree, in 2012.

After five years of dating, the couple announced their engagement in October 2017, more than a year after she first appeared in Bake Off.

Candice exchanged marriages with her longtime love at the Château de Varennes in Burgundy, France, in September 2018.

New guy: Travel executive Nicky is also an avid sportsman and plays for Aylesbury Rugby Football Club

Marriage ends: The TV star hasn’t had the easiest of years, which has seen her quietly split from her two-year-old husband Liam a year ago (pictured June 2018)

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