'The Only Way Is Essex' star Maria Fowler has split from her boyfriend.

The reality TV star is heartbroken after Derby County football player Lee Croft called time on their relationship two weeks ago telling her he needed some ''time to himself''.

Maria was madly in love with the 26-year-old sportsman - who is currently injured - and wanted to settle down with him and start a family.

She has been left so distraught by the break-up she has dropped a dress size from a 10 to an 8.

The 25-year-old beauty said: ''It's been a really tough time for me. I changed my whole life to be with Lee and moved up to Scotland to be with him when he was signed by St. Johnstone on loan.

''I thought we were going to spend the rest of our lives together but Lee is not ready to settle down yet.

''I am back in Essex planning the next stage of my career.''

Maria is jetting off to Spain on Thursday (26.04.12) for a girls' holiday to get over the separation.

She revealed: ''I should look brilliant in a bikini because the weight has fallen off me since the split.

''I have dropped a dress size and I am now a really small size eight.''

Now her relationship to Lee is over, Maria is going to forget about love in the short-term and focus on her career, which is going from strength-to-strength since she made the decision to leave 'TOWIE'.

Maria is in talks to star in two TV shows and is working with Lovehoney.co.uk on the May 8 launch of the Happy Rabbit - which has been dubbed ''the iPhone of sex toys''.

Maria said: ''Work is going brilliantly. I should have some exciting announcements to make about a fab new TV show and I am working with a number of big brands, too.

''Leaving 'TOWIE' was the best thing I ever did. It opened up a whole new world of opportunities.''