Should we ever go back for seconds?
As underwear model David Gandy and The Saturdays Mollie King rekindle their romance, we ask if love can work second time around
For months there have been rumours that one of showbiz's most beautiful couples had rekindled their high-profile romance. Model David Gandy and pop star Mollie King were together for almost a year before splitting in 2011, but since July, there have been sightings of the duo on intimate dates.
Then, late last week, gossip became fact: a picture emerged of the pair walking hand-in-hand in London with Mollie's adorable brown Maltipoo Alfie in tow.
In the three years since their initial break-up, 27-year-old Mollie has dated LA-based music producer Jordan Omley, who she met early last year when The Saturdays were recording their most recent album.
Privately-educated and with a posh lilt to match, Mollie also "went for a drink" with Prince Harry in the aftermath of her split from Gandy, though that romance failed to get off the ground.
Meanwhile, male supermodel David has had relationships with Bray MTV presenter Laura Whitmore and, most recently, actress Samantha Barks. But lately, the 34-year-old has hinted that he is desperate to settle down.
He told one interviewer: "More than anything I want to find a girlfriend and have children."
Despite their respective romances, the pair have always stayed in close contact, with Mollie confirming that she valued his companionship even after their split
"I've stayed friends with all my ex-boyfriends," she explained.
Of course, they're certainly not the only famous pairing to go back for more with an ex.
Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake broke up in 2011, but got married in October 2012.
Megan Fox blamed a 12-year age difference when she split with her now husband Brian Austin Green in 2009, something which evidently wasn't an issue when she married him a year later.
And the romance of one of the world's most famous couples - the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge - follows a pattern that will be familiar to many: they began dating during their college years; split for a brief period in their mid-20s before reuniting and marrying shortly before their 30th birthdays.
Indeed, one study published last year revealed that half of those who break up during their late teens and 20s end up back together again.
Rena Maycock, who owns and runs Irish dating agency Intro Matchmaking with husband Feargal Harrington, says the change that most people undergo during this time certainly has a big part to play.
"We probably all have experience of friends parting ways after meeting in their teenage years," she explains. "One of them maybe wants to go to Australia for a year and the other one doesn't - so they split.
"You fall in love with someone and then life changes. You change but your partner doesn't. And that's why you fall out of love - and that's why people split and sometimes that's just irreversible.
"However, if it's a break-up driven by circumstance, then some of those couples will ultimately end up getting back together."
Rena adds that sometimes time spent separately can highlight the good in a relationship.
"You can meet the right person at the wrong time - and maybe that's the situation with Mollie and David. If it's a relationship worth keeping, then being apart can actually highlight all the good you once had."
The businesswoman also says that the grass is not always greener with a new partner.
"Everyone gets six months of bliss and, after that, all relationships require work - if you say otherwise, you're not being truthful!
"Some people split up too quickly as well. They don't put in the work and then further down the line they realise their error."
It's an observation that Anne-Marie Brady can attest to. Now aged 32 and married to husband Brian, she admits that the Kildare-based pair broke up twice before becoming engaged in 2012 and marrying abroad a year ago.
"We'd been going out for two years when I moved away to England for my Masters in my mid-20s. We broke up because Brian had to stay around Dublin for work. Actually, it was a silly reason to split but at the time neither of us really gave the situation much thought," she explains. "I sort of had this knee-jerk reaction, assuming 'oh I'm moving away so let's break up'."
Pretty quickly, however, the couple realised they'd made a mistake.
"I was coming home every second weekend anyway and actually we were seeing each other almost as often as often as when we were together. We emailed all the time, too. Then at Christmas we decided that the previous few months had been a hiccup and it was time to reunite. Neither of us had been with anyone else and actually not a whole load had changed so it was easy to slot back into the relationship routine."
Though moving in together later proved far from plain sailing.
"That was this really tough period of our relationship when we were both finding our feet and discovering who we were individually.
"Brian moved out at one stage and we had a full six months apart with very little contact. We eventually started seeing each other again but had a very frank discussion about the future before getting back together. I didn't want to be one of those on/off couples! We sat down and talked about marriage, children - the whole hog. It was important to find out if we were on the same page."
Today, Anne-Marie regrets nothing.
"We're really happy and our wedding day was the best day of my life. Of course, I wouldn't change anything because, ultimately, we got there in the end and our path was the right one for us. Breaking up was tough at the time but it was worth it."
Whether David and Mollie are close to an engagement is of course unknown - though friends of both parties have said that they're expecting a ring to be produced sooner rather than later.
However, a more mature Mollie, who has previously described herself as a "quite high-maintenance as a girlfriend", is said to have particularly benefited from the break.
Now aged 27 (she was just 24 when the pair first parted company), she is also surrounded by band members who are largely married and with children.
"You can't go from being in love to friends overnight. I've always had to take time apart after a break-up," she previously told a glossy magazine.
Now she has had her time apart, emerging with David back by her side. The fact that they have both been ultimately willing to wait should endorse fully the authenticity of their reunion - and the possibility of a future together.
How to get ex factor...
Rena Maycock of Intro Matchmaking (intro.ie) gives her top five tips for re-igniting an old relationship:
1 Let bygones be bygones: don't bring up old fights and go over old ground.
2 Don't talk about what happened during the "break", it's a recipe for jealous rages and relationship disasters.
3 Make sure the reasons you broke up in the first place don't still exist: do you now want the same things now?
4 Treat the reunion like a brand new relationship: resist the urge to slip back in to living together straight away and just picking up where you left off. Enjoy your honeymoon period and get to know each other again.
5 Make sure you're sure. And if you're not, then it's best to avoid the situation. It's not fair to play with another's feelings if you're unsure.