Olly Murs wanted to keep his girlfriend a secret so they could ''blossom'' in private.

The 29-year-old singer managed to hind his romance with commercial property manager Francesca Thomas for over a year because he wanted their relationship to develop naturally.

He told the Sunday Mirror newspaper's Notebook magazine: ''Now everyone knows I have a girlfriend, but being in the public eye can ruin everything.

''It'd be different if I was dating a celebrity, but I want to give this a chance to blossom - and being in the industry makes it a hundred times harder.''

The 'Troublemaker' star also revealed while people have assumed he was single, he was just good at finding girls who weren't interested in him for his fame.

He explained: ''I've been dating girls the whole time. In four years there haven't been any stories about me. People even questioned my sexuality because of it.

''I think I'm a good judge of character and it comes down to mutual respect. I've always dated really great girls ... If I walk into a bar and some girl with 38DDs is all over me in front of everyone - and I'm saying this from experience - I know they want to sell a story.''