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New mum Denise in return to stage

Denise Van Outen is returning to the West End stage less than six months after becoming a mother, it was announced today.

The star -- who gave birth to baby Betsy in May -- is joining the cast of hit show Legally Blonde The Musical later this year.

Van Outen (pictured right) has previously starred in shows including Chicago and Rent and recently talked of her desire to get back on stage since becoming a mother.

She will play the role of Paulette in the comedy show about how a dizzy US teen makes it as a lawyer against the odds.

Star Sheridan Smith recently extended her run in the show at the Savoy Theatre in London.

Van Outen (36) recently criticised what she referred to as "breastfeeding bullies" after she was demonised for giving up after three weeks with her new daughter.