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16-10-2009
  16
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tigerrouge's Avatar
 
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Making career choices in 2008 (dailymail.co.uk):

Quote:
Opera diva Katherine Jenkins is at the centre of a multi-million pound bidding war to sign her to a new record label.

Warner Records is thought to be in pole position to land the singer, whose deal with Universal Classics and Jazz has come to an end. But UCJ is believed to be making efforts to hold on to its star.

The mezzo soprano from Neath, South Wales, also plans to make an album for the US market and says she will move to Los Angeles to work with Placido Domingo.

Miss Jenkins, 28, said: 'He thinks he can help me and give me advice. He's a great person to learn from. I don't know the American market so I need to take advice.

'I might move label. It will be announced when it's definite.'
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16-10-2009
  17
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thanks for the pictures tigerrouge. I am so glad she has her own thread. she is very pretty and I like her figure too. nice and healthy.

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17-10-2009
  18
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Lovely girl and just totally exudes glamour.
She never fails to look amazing and she is so 1940's voluptuous.
Lucky bloody Gethin Jones.

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17-10-2009
  19
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Yes, a very lovely-looking girl - and to me, one who enjoys being glamorous in a similar way to another Welsh lass, Catherine Zeta Jones. And I believe it takes years for a voice to mature in the style in which she sings, so she's got years ahead of her yet.

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17-10-2009
  20
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When one diva met another, at the launch of the 2008 Montblanc Young Singers Project (dailymail.co.uk):

Quote:
Katherine Jenkins and Joan Collins turn on the glamour

If singer Katherine Jenkins needs any pointers on how to maintain her poise in front of the cameras, she could do worse than ask an old pro like Joan Collins.

The 28-year-old Welsh singing sensation posed with the acting legend, 75, at the Montblanc Young Singers Project launch in Salzburg, Austria. And for once she wasn't having wardrobe issues, as her gorgeous cream embroidered strapless gown stayed firmly in place.

But Joan wasn't letting Katherine have it all her own way, as she revealed her ample charms in a black figure-hugging dress and organza tie-front shirt. With her typically immaculate make-up and chestnut brown hair, she looked 20 years younger than her age of 75.

Katherine hobnobbed with Percy and Joan at an event to promote jewellery and perfume brand Montblanc worldwide.

She said: 'It's so strange. Montblanc is such a massive brand globally. 'Sometimes I'll get off a plane and feel jet-lagged and sit in the back of a taxi and drive through the streets of a foreign city and see an enormous poster with this girl on it. And then I realise it's me!'

Katherine, 28, who now lives in north London, has been an 'ambassador' for Montblanc International’s arts and culture charities for two years. She wore £6m worth of Montblanc diamonds to the 50th Annual Grammy Awards earlier this year, watched carefully by their security staff.

A spokeswoman for the company said Katherine is 'a modern icon of arts and culture, her combination of grace, talent and good looks make Katherine the perfect ambassador for Femme de Montblanc.'

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17-10-2009
  21
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Looking a bit like a buxom milkmaid at the Harrods launch of her album Sacred Arias in October 2008, around the same time as she signed a £5.8million deal with Warner Music (same source):

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17-10-2009
  22
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An interview with Liz Jones (same source):

Quote:
Katherine Jenkins: Access all arias

She has outsold the Spice Girls and Girls Aloud, performed at Sydney Opera House and Wembley stadium, taken the classical and pop charts by storm, and bagged two Brits. Liz Jones meets the Welsh mezzo-soprano who is bringing classical music to the masses.

When I meet Katherine Jenkins at a studio in Hackney, East London, she is peering at a computer, looking at the pictures that have just been taken of her. She starts telling me she ‘doesn’t normally look this glamorous’, and just listening to her talk is like music.

I tell her I have been reading her press cuttings and the same three words kept coming up: ‘Bubbly, blond and curvy.’ Which one does she find most annoying? She ums and ahs, so I help her out. ‘I would hate to be called bubbly,’ I say. ‘Well,’ she says, ‘you see I am a bit bubbly, I’m very outgoing. I’m also blond, and although I’m small – 5ft 4in – I’m curvy. So none of them annoys me. Sorry.’

But I find it irritating on her behalf that she is written about as if she were Melinda Messenger. This is a woman who, at the tender age of 23 (she’s now 28), was offered the biggest record deal in classical music history, has seen four of her studio albums top the classical charts and one make the top five in the pop charts, making her the fastest-selling mezzo-soprano ever, has won numerous awards, including two Brits, and has sold more records than Maria Callas: ‘That was unbelievable. She’s my icon. I grew up wanting to be Maria Callas.’

Doesn’t she find it tiresome that she spends so much time being treated like a gormless model? Not really, she says, ‘because I always thought there was an image problem around classical music: people would say, “You don’t look like you do that kind of music.”’

Yet, she points out, ‘if you look at Maria Callas, she was an incredibly beautiful woman. I am a girls’ girl and I’ve always loved wearing nice dresses – I love Stella McCartney – so it’s not an image created by the record company.’ She knows that her looks help sell her music – but she also knows she has trained very hard to get here.

'I am a girls' girl and I've always loved nice dresses – it's not an image created by the record company'

In her recent autobiography, she wrote about how, while a student at London’s Royal Academy of Music (to which she won a scholarship at the age of 17), she developed an eating disorder. She would only eat one Weetabix and a salad a day, which meant her weight dropped to seven stone. Her then boyfriend, Steve Hart, of boy band Worlds Apart, told her she didn’t look great, but she ‘enjoyed the fact people were saying I was too thin’.

What brought her to her senses? ‘I saw pictures of myself, and realised I had a huge head and a stick-insect body. Now, I’m a lot more comfortable in my own skin and I think you have to get to a certain age to realise, OK, I am this way, I can’t be any different, I’m never going to be that stick-thin girl. I have the good Welsh appetite – I eat very well, I eat a lot.’

She loves cooking – she’s a vegetarian – and that is what she misses when she is away. Last year, she tells me, she had just one week off. Her diary is jam-packed until 2012 (I assume this means she will be singing at the London Olympics opening ceremony). Doesn’t she find her schedule too all-consuming? ‘No, I think it’s important to take little breaks and make sure I’m rested, even if it’s just going to see my family in Wales for a weekend.’

Katherine grew up on a council estate in Neath, in the valleys of South Wales, the daughter of Selwyn, a factory worker, and Susan, who still works as a mammographer in Swansea. Katherine joined the church choir aged seven, twice winning BBC Radio 2 Welsh Choirgirl of the Year. It was her father, she says, who ferried her to choir practice. Twenty-three years older than her mother, he retired early and was a house husband until his death in 1995. ‘I always respected him for that,’ she says. ‘Remember, my dad was 70 when he died, so he comes from a different era, and I thought that was really admirable. He always said if I worked hard, I’d make it.’ Katherine was 15 – two weeks away from her GCSEs – when he died. ‘That is why I hate to argue. Life’s too short,’ she says.

She is incredibly close to her sister, Laura, who is two years younger; they shared a bedroom until Katherine was 17 and left for London. Laura, too, now lives in London and, as well as being a social research consultant, raises money for Macmillan Cancer Support. ‘Macmillan nurses looked after our father, they were brilliant,’ says Katherine.

Laura climbed Mount Kilimanjaro for the charity and is now looking at climbing to the Everest base camp. ‘I admire her so much,’ says Katherine, adding that her sister has never been jealous of her musical success. ‘We look alike, and people would say to her, “I think you sang very well,” and she would just say, “Thank you very much!”’

I marvel at Katherine's ability to move people to tears just by using her voice, and she says that is because she always thinks of her dad when she is singing. Her new album, Sacred Arias, is a collection of pieces with a spiritual theme, ranging from her favourite hymn – ‘Abide With Me’ – to Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’. It will be her sixth album; her previous record, Rejoice, outsold Girls Aloud and the Spice Girls, enough to make anyone stand up and thank the Lord.

‘I went back to all the things I used to love as a chorister,’ she says. ‘[Andrew Lloyd Webber’s] "Pie Jesu" was my dad’s favourite. Whenever we had family parties, they’d say, “Sing 'Pie Jesu',” and I would sing and my sister would play it on the piano.

'When my dad passed away, we wanted to do something for the funeral and we were so young – my sister was 13 – we didn’t think we’d be able to keep it together, so we went to church the day before and recorded it. When I recorded it for the album, I hadn’t sung it since that day. It still gets me.’

She says the best thing about her success is being able to look after her family. ‘I am able to treat my mum, who has never remarried, to holidays and take her to places she has never been.’ She laughs, and starts to tell me what happened when she received the ultimate accolade: an invitation to appear on Parkinson.

‘My mum is so laid-back, she takes everything in her stride. I’ll perform at a concert and I’ll ask, “So, how was it?” And she’ll just say, “Yeah, really good.” I think Welsh mums are good at keeping their feet on the ground, so she never gets carried away. And then she came to Parky and sat in the audience, and I remember I looked at her and she was literally like this [Katherine does an impression of Munch’s The Scream].

'She was frozen; she looked shocked and horrified. Afterwards, we were having a drink with Parky, and she just went, “How did this happen? You were my daughter and now you’re this superstar!” It totally hit her all at once. I love that about my mum!’

Katherine still has the same friends she grew up with. ‘Yeah, they’re all friends from before I got my record deal, mainly from my time as a member of the National Youth Choir apart from one, whom I’ve known for about three years. We met when she started doing my make-up and she is now one of my best friends. She comes on tour with me.’

Forty friends and family members (her own personal ‘Tafia’) came to see her win a Classical Brit. Does she feel as though she has changed since all this has happened – success has come remarkably fast; only five years ago she was working as a freelance singing teacher to fund her music studies – or does she think she’s fundamentally the same? ‘I think I’m the same person. I’m stronger now because I’ve had to grow up very quickly – the business side of things has been a steep learning curve for me – but I think I’m the same person when I go on stage as I am with my friends.’

She takes as much care of her vocal cords as Michael Phelps does of his biceps. She can only drink a couple of glasses of wine a year because alcohol dehydrates the vocal cords. She has to avoid dairy foods and smokers. She has to save her voice before a performance, which is hard for someone who admits to being a chatterbox.

Does she have any rituals before she goes on stage? ‘I play Kylie Minogue’s Greatest Hits,’ she confides. ‘I met her when I performed on The X Factor and I told her, “Wherever I am, at Wembley Stadium for the FA Cup or backstage at Sydney Opera House, I’m playing your Greatest Hits album.”’

'Kylie used to get stage fright, but not now. The only thing that terrifies her is walking up a red carpet. ‘I try to make sure the photographers aren’t rolling around on the floor, trying to get that knicker shot, and I have to remember to stand nicely, hold my tummy in.’

Katherine also gets nervous when I start to ask about her boyfriend, Gethin Jones, the former Blue Peter presenter. They met on the set of Strictly Come Dancing last October, when he was a competitor and she performed in a guest appearance. He is only her third ‘proper’ boyfriend, which I tell her is quaintly old-fashioned and commendable.

She suddenly wells up. Her crippling work schedule is what ended her relationship with Steve Hart (he got custody of their jack russell, Mister). How will she make sure that doesn’t happen again? ‘I think it’s hard but what I’ve found is…Gethin knows how much I love music and my career, and he’s so happy it’s happening that he will make…we just rearrange things…I spend a lot of time e-mailing, talking on Skype. We’re managing.’

'I feel so lucky to be on stage and sing something that one minute will have people smiling, the next minute crying'

She is not going to slow down, though. ‘I’ve still got loads of things I want to do. Next year, I’m going to spend some time in America. And by the time I’m 30 – my voice won’t be ready until then – I want to be performing opera. That’s going to be a big hurdle because it’s so different to what I do now. I’m going to be up against a lot of the classical critics, the purists, who may not like what I do…’ she adds, referring to the stick she has taken in the past from those who see her populist style as a dumbing down of serious music.

Katherine would also like to go back to Iraq and Afghanistan to entertain the troops at some stage. On a visit to Basra, at Christmas 2005, her military helicopter was shot at by insurgents on its way from Basra to the Shaibah military base. ‘The more dangerous the military people tell me it is, the more I want to do it. You could see immediately what effect my being there was having – just someone from home going out there to Iraq, doing their bit.’ (In her autobiography, she describes the troops joining in as she sang ‘Over the Rainbow’.)

‘When I went to Afghanistan, I had to do the whole journey on military aircraft and it was about five different planes and helicopters – with no sleep, no hotel. When I got there, I went straight on to sing within about 45 minutes.’

If that sounds remarkably un-diva-like, she admits that she had things put into perspective for her as she set off. ‘I was saying to my mum, “Oh, it’s going to be terrible – I’ve got to go the whole way on these uncomfy planes.” Before I took off I went into the loo, and one of the female soldiers came out in her fatigues and when I said I was off to Afghanistan she said, “Oh, gosh, I’ve just come from there. I was on a plane with the wounded.” Reality set in and I said to myself, “What are you moaning about?”

'I feel so lucky to be able to do something like that. I feel so lucky to be on stage and sing something that one minute will have people smiling, the next minute crying. It’s a powerful thing. I know my dad is with me when I sing. I feel him all the time. That might sound weird to people but I do believe it. I think he’s what spurs me on – especially in the beginning because he believed I could do this.’

You’re almost too good to be true, I tell her. You must have a fault somewhere. ‘Everyone has faults,’ she says. ‘I’m not good at sports. I’m not good at a lot of things.’

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17-10-2009
  23
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Rumours, tantrums and boob jobs (same source):

Quote:
I'm no diva! Katherine Jenkins laughs off wild stories of her phone-throwing tantrums

What a piece of work is Katherine Jenkins! She arrives at an achingly trendy bar restaurant in London's Notting Hill, a small retinue in tow and any number of increasingly wild rumours swirling around her head.

She looks fab-u-lous, as they say in Neath, the town in south Wales where she grew up on a council estate with her parents and younger sister, Laura.

Freshly primped and preened for a photographic shoot, the blonde hair is now tied artlessly behind her neck, the eyes ('sometimes they're blue, sometimes they're green') are perfectly made-up, the curvaceous size ten figure is encased in a scoop-necked, printed cotton dress from Topshop. She looks like a glossy milkmaid.

Her first action is to dismiss her team, who dissolve discreetly into the shadows before extending her hand and switching on a megawatt smile. We are here to discuss a blizzard of professional activity: an album, a DVD, a national tour.

But we're here also, I feel compelled to forewarn her, to nail some of the more exotic stories about her which are currently doing the rounds. 'Perfect,' she says, smooth as silk. 'I'm happy to set the record straight, happy to answer any question.' Which turns out to be true (well, almost).

At 28, Katherine Jenkins has come a long way in a short time. But her all-conquering ascent has brought mutterings in its wake. It has been suggested, for example, that she has become something of a diva along the way.

'And that annoys me,' she says. 'The definition of that word has changed, which is a shame. Maria Callas was a diva in the true meaning of the word. Now, people use it to imply a female star who behaves badly.'

And is this true of the lovely Katherine? 'Absolutely not,' she insists. 'My mum always taught me to treat people with respect. If somebody lets me down, professionally speaking, I will talk to them about it.'

One of the stories doing the rounds involves Katherine's makeup. A naturally pretty woman, she had a tendency until recently to apply make-up to an industrial strength.
An executive from her record company - or so it is alleged - was given the unenviable task of calling her and mildly suggesting that she could go a bit easy on the slap.

If the story is true, this bit of advice was met not so much with a frosty reception as a furious one. She terminated the call, apparently, and hurled her mobile across the room. 'I don't throw tantrums,' she says. 'I'm not grand.

'I've heard it said that, if you become well-known, it's not you who changes but the people around you. And I think that's right. 'I still feel exactly the same inside as I did when I was a teenager. Having said that, I'm more confident these days and yes, more assertive if I have to be.'

She also makes no excuse for the way she likes to present herself. 'I've always been very girly. My mum's a tomboy and she says she doesn't know where I come from. I like getting my nails done or having a facial.' She laughs. 'I'm not sure if my mum or my sister has ever had a facial.'

Marilyn Monroe has long been Katherine's icon. 'I just love Marilyn,' she says. 'For me, she represents total feminine glamour. There was something about her that draws you in, a vulnerability. She was a size 16 and one of the most beautiful women on the planet. Like her, I'm never going to be one of those Size Zero girls.'

One of the more persistent internet rumours is that Katherine has had a boob job. A peal of laughter. Two sets of eyes - hers and mine - instantly focus on her generous cleavage. 'I don't think that would be necessary,' she says, still giggling. 'Do you?'

The unstoppable rise of Katherine Jenkins will next year see a sustained charm offensive on the States ('every artist wants to crack America') when she'll spend some months in LA recording a new album beamed specifically at that market. 'But ignore all those stories that I'm moving there. Not true.'

If she's known at all in the U.S., it is as the 'face' of Mont Blanc watches. It's an advert that has appeared widely in this country including in a programme for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

The catty joke doing the rounds at the time was that this would be the closest Katherine ever got to appearing at the Opera House. She takes it all in her serene stride. 'I've never claimed to be an opera singer,' she says. 'My favourite definition of what I do is classical crossover.'

She has performed alongside Placido Domingo, most recently at the beginning of the year in Korea, and he has invited her to go and study with him. 'I can't think of anyone better,' she beams. 'It would be lovely if I could cover both ends of the spectrum.' She rejects the label that she's a bit of a Jill-of-all-trades. 'I'm very lucky to be doing what I'm doing.'

The same charge has been levelled at Charlotte Church, a friend of Katherine's despite reports of their so-called rivalry. 'We were meant to be sworn enemies. But that's ridiculous. Why would we be? We sang together at a rugby match and really hit it off. What you see is what you get with Charlotte.'

The two young women carry themselves in very different ways. You never see Katherine falling out of a nightclub, for instance. 'I was a student once,' she says. 'I've been there. I've done that. These days, though, I'd much rather sit round with the girls and have a catch-up and a gossip.

'But no, I was never a ladette. On the other hand, what happened to me didn't start until I was in my 20s. Charlotte was a child star. And look at her now. She's settled contentedly into motherhood. I think she's lovely.'

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17-10-2009
  24
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A bit of genuine scandal, in her interview with Piers Morgan (same source):

Quote:
I took drugs and I'm ashamed, reveals heavenly soprano Katherine Jenkins

She’s the beautiful, prodigiously gifted soprano whose heavenly voice has just won her a £6million contract. But in this remarkably frank interview, Katherine Jenkins makes a courageous confession: her life was almost ruined by cocaine and Ecstasy – and now she wants to warn others

Two months ago, I sat in a Chelsea hotel suite with opera star Katherine Jenkins and during a lengthy interview for GQ magazine, the following exchange took place:

Q. ‘Have you ever taken any drugs?
A. (shakes head).
Q. ‘Woah...was that a hesitation there?’
A. ‘No! I’ve never taken drugs.’

Katherine blushed slightly as she said this and looked rather flustered. Which I put down to the fact that, according to my extensive research, nobody had ever actually asked her this question before and she was just a bit taken aback.

It seemed, frankly, impossible to imagine Katherine being a drug abuser. I was mistaken.

On Wednesday night, I was sitting down to watch Arsenal play Spurs in a Dubai hotel bar – I’m filming an ITV documentary on the Middle Eastern playground – when my phone rang. ‘Piers, it’s Katherine Jenkins. I need to tell you something that’s been bothering me.’ For the next hour, the beautiful young singer poured her heart out to me about how she had regularly taken cocaine, Ecstasy and cannabis. And she was searingly honest about why she finally stopped.

‘I could have ended up messing it all up, and that would have just been a tragic waste of the opportunity I was given,’ she told me. Katherine, 28, is, genuinely, one of the nicest people I’ve met in the often self-obsessed music industry: a sweet, polite, touchingly naive, unaffected girl from Neath in South Wales, who just happens to have one of the greatest mezzo-soprano voices in the world.

Last week, she signed a stunning £6million record deal with American label Warner Music and is flying to Los Angeles in the New Year for a few months to try her luck cracking the United States.

So, with things going so extraordinarily well professionally, confessing to her secret drugs shame past is not a decision she has taken lightly. ‘It’s not something I ever wanted to talk about publicly,’ she said, ‘because taking drugs is the biggest regret of my life. But I’ve always tried to be honest about my life and I’ve had sleepless nights since that GQ interview appeared, because I knew I’d lied to you.’ Her voice sounded trembly. ‘Are you OK?’ I asked.

‘Yes. But I’m very, very nervous about admitting what I did, and I know some people may be shocked. But I will feel relief, too, that it is finally out there and I can get on with my life without worrying that one day it may all come back to haunt me.’

'I never saw drugs or knew what they looked like,' she says of her childhood. Katherine told me she didn’t even know what drugs looked like when she first went to live in London in 1997 to study at the Royal Academy of Music. She was in her late teens, fresh-faced and woefully uneducated as to the sleazy ways of clubland life in the capital.

‘I was very naive about things like drugs,’ she said. ‘There was nothing like that around where I grew up. I never saw a drug or even knew what they looked like. But when I started going out in London, I slowly became aware that when I went to parties, or went clubbing, a lot of people were taking drugs. I didn’t know what was going on to start with, because I’d never seen anyone take drugs. And I was quite shocked initially when I finally realised what they were doing. A lot of people I was around at the time were taking drugs openly when we went out together, and I resisted for a long time but after a while I just joined in.’

Katherine’s first narcotic experience came at a friend’s house after a hard night on the town. She recalled: ‘We’d all been drinking and when we got back to my friend’s house, I was offered cocaine by someone. Having said no so many times before, curiosity just got the better of me and I said yes. I thought it would be fun, because everyone else seemed to be having a good time after taking cocaine.

‘It wasn’t what I thought it would be like,’ she said. ‘I thought it would have some massive, dramatic effect on me but it didn’t. It made me feel powerful though and I felt like I had so much energy. I became really talkative too – even more than usual, if you can believe that!’

Katherine laughed, a little nervously, at her attempt to bring a bit of levity to the conversation. I could tell she was hating every second of having to do this, but at the same time knowing in her heart that it was better in the long run to come clean now.

‘I tried one line of cocaine that first time. I’m not going to blame anyone else for giving it to me, or even say who it was. I take responsibility for my own actions and always will. I took cocaine a handful of times more after that, maybe five or six. It was usually in private at friends’ houses, though I did once take it in the loo of a London club.’

How much did she take? ‘I’d take up to three lines a night, a bit of a lightweight compared to some of them!’

At which point, she half-laughed again. I felt sorry for her – this was not an interview Katherine ever thought she’d be giving and she was trying to deal with it in the same cheery way she deals with normal interviews, while knowing that the subject matter was as far from cheery as you can get.

It didn’t take long for the drugs to reveal their ugly side. Katherine said: ‘The truth about drugs like cocaine is that after a while you see what it does to people around you and it’s not pretty, is it?’ Katherine’s career hadn’t kicked off properly at the time, leaving her doing the odd gig and spending the rest of the time teaching others to sing – and partying. ‘I was young and silly and never really thought about the consequences,’ she admitted.

‘I did not know I’d ever become famous, and I was at an age where you don’t care about the future much, do you? I just liked going out with friends, getting drunk on too many Malibus and Cokes, and then someone would usually produce some drugs and occasionally I would take some. I was hanging around with a bad crowd. Coming from where I come from, it tends to take me a while to see the bad in people. I was very trusting, and keen to please. I never really enjoyed taking drugs, it just made me fit in better. But I normally like to be in control of everything and I look back on that time and think, “What was that about?”

Did guilt set in? ‘Yes, I felt very guilty when I was doing it. I worried about what my family would think if they found out. I wasn’t happy with the situation, and I didn’t really understand the consequences of what I was doing because I had never been around, or involved with, drugs before in any way. It was all new to me.’

Following the highs of the parties, there always came the inevitable sickening lows afterwards. ‘After taking cocaine, I felt absolutely terrible. It was like the worst hangover in the world times ten, times a hundred. And I’d not be in a good mental place afterwards either. I’d feel depressed and paranoid, it was awful. And I was shocked that something could affect me in such a massive way like that. I’d feel horrible for at least a day, sometimes longer.’
Cocaine was not the only drug with which she experimented.

‘I also tried Ecstasy and MDMA, which is the powder form of Ecstasy. That had a totally different effect, a really massive one. I took half a pill the first time, and it made me feel excited, passionate, in love with everyone and everything, and really happy, very very happy. I took Ecstasy pills after that four or five times, and MDMA too. But afterwards that made me feel worse than cocaine. I didn’t want to live the next day, it made me feel so depressed. It was horrible, just horrible.’

On other nights, she tried cannabis. ‘I never smoked it, I just used to eat these cakes with cannabis in them. I did that seven or eight times. I can’t remember the exact number. It seems so long ago now. It just made me feel relaxed and sleepy. And slightly out of control again.’

Just when her life seemed to be spiralling out of control in a booze and drug-fuelled haze, Katherine got the break that would change her life for ever, and perhaps even save it.

At the age of 23, in 2003, she was offered a six-album deal by Universal Records worth over £1million. It was one of the biggest contracts ever signed by a new classical music star in Britain and pitted Katherine directly against Charlotte Church as the new queen of the mass-market aria.

But lurking behind the tearful smiles on that astonishing day was the long, dark cloud of Katherine’s other, secret life. And she took an instant decision.

‘I knew in that moment that I had to stop taking drugs,’ she said. ‘I’d been given this amazing opportunity and I just couldn’t let myself mess it all up for the sake of cocaine or Ecstasy.’

Katherine resolved to quit the partying and braced herself for a meeting with the one person whose opinion she valued above all others – her mother.
Katherine said: ‘We have a great relationship, and I wanted to be honest with her. I went back home to Wales, sat her down and told her about the drugs. And she was shocked and asked me why I’d done it and wanted to make sure I wasn’t still taking them. I said I wasn’t, and wished I never had, and would never, ever take them again.

‘And then she just gave me a disapproving look that said it all – it was like, ‘KATHERINE!’

Her mother was the only relative that Katherine confided in. Her father had died a few years before. ‘I didn’t tell anyone else in the family because I have young cousins and didn’t want them to be influenced by what I’d done. But I will tell them about this before it comes out. And I will tell them that I regret it massively. I would want anyone thinking twice about trying drugs to read this and think, “God, I don’t want to go through that.” Because I wish I hadn’t. I feel so ashamed. Drugs are dangerous and destroy lives.’

In her worst nightmares, Katherine looks at images of another gifted young singer and sees the way her life might have gone if her music deal hadn’t happened. She said: ‘Look at Amy Winehouse. She’s an amazing talent but she is in such a bad way, it’s such a shame. I could have ended up like her. It’s possible. I don’t think I’d ever have got that bad, but who knows with drugs?

‘They’re frightening. And that’s why I feel so lucky to have stopped when I did. I was never comfortable with it and I was so fortunate that my record deal came when it did and made me realise that I might ruin everything by staying in this disgusting situation.

‘Drugs just disgust me now. I have nothing to do with them. And I have no family or friends who have anything to do with them either. I just stopped seeing anyone who used drugs. I’m so anti, it’s unbelievable!’

She must, I suggested, come across some narcotic-enhanced individuals on her travels in the music industry. ‘I do see people in the business under the influence of drugs occasionally, of course I do. You just don’t get much of it at the Classical Brits...’ I laughed. ‘I don’t think we’ve had a cocaine, Ecstasy and cannabis scandal rocking the classical music world before. How do you think they will react?’

Katherine gasped with a mixture of unsuppressed horror and just the merest hint of hilarity. ‘Oh goodness me...I don’t want to cause a stir, I just want to be honest.’

And I believed her, on both counts.

I was curious as to what really prompted Katherine’s mea culpa. After all, it’s not every day a major star rings me to confess all about their drug-taking. Sadly. She said: ‘I didn’t like the fact that I lied to you in that GQ interview. I felt really bad about it. It’s always better to be honest about your life, and I hadn’t been. Now, if I can help other people by being honest about it and saying how terrible drugs made me feel, then that is hopefully one good thing that can come out of it.

‘I do feel really nervous about this coming out though and I don’t want to cause distress to my friends and family. I’m worried about how people will react, especially my fans. I want them to know that this was something I did a very long time ago, and that I live my life very differently now and I am very dedicated to what I do.

‘I hardly even drink any more. This was a very silly period in my life, and I hope nobody is hurt or upset by it. I haven’t taken drugs for well over five years and I wish I never had. I really do.’

Katherine’s boyfriend, Welsh TV presenter Gethin Jones, is totally behind her confession. ‘He has been very supportive. He thinks I am doing the right thing.’

As we finished our extraordinary conversation, I congratulated Katherine on setting the record straight. It’s always, always the best policy for any celebrity to correct lies they have perpetrated to the media. ‘How bad will it be for me next week?’ she asked. ‘Well put it this way,’ I replied, ‘probably not half as bad as Jonathan Ross or John McCain’s week is going to be.’

And Katherine laughed again, in that delightfully natural way that has, together with her regular trips to perform for British troops abroad, made her the modern day Vera Lynn.

She never cried during the interview, never shirked a question, and never asked for any sympathy. She just said what she wanted to say, and that was that. And while you may not admire her drug-taking, it’s hard not to admire the courage it took to talk about it in such a frank and self-condemnatory way.

Later, I dug out the tape of our GQ interview and chuckled at the following exchange:

Q. ‘Is there a devil hiding inside you, Saint Katherine?’
A. ‘That’s for me to know, and you to find out, Piers...’

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With Jack White and Olga Kurylenko at a Bond premiere in Nov 2008 (same source):

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A better view of her dress at that premiere (same source):
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Caught up in an anti-fur protest in December 2008 (same source):

Quote:
Katherine Jenkins faces screaming fur protesters at Harrods

Singer Katherine Jenkins was booed by animal rights campaigners yesterday when she opened the Harrods winter sale.

Protesters angry that the Knightsbridge department store sells fur screamed ‘Shame on Katherine’ as the mezzo-soprano arrived in a horse-drawn carriage. They brandished ‘No To Fur’ signs as Harrods owner Mohamed Al Fayed ushered her inside.

But the 28-year-old singer – who is a staunch vegetarian – appeared unruffled and smiled broadly as she walked past the demonstrators.

According to reports, Miss Jenkins stepped in after pop singer Leona Lewis rejected a lucrative offer from the Harrods boss to open this year’s sale because the store sells fur.
Miss Jenkins was also greeted by thousands of bargain-seekers – many of whom had queued in the cold since midnight on Friday.

Cuddling a Westie-poodle puppy sporting a sparkling diamond collar, Miss Jenkins said: ‘I was very excited to join the sales. I am a girl’s girl, so obviously this is my idea of fun. Personally, I do not eat meat or wear fur, but people are entitled to their opinions.’
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Various shots (same source):

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Not so fond of this outfit, but as beautiful as ever (same source):

Quote:
Katherine Jenkins gets a California Girl makeover to crack the States on skates

With her Hollywood smile and tumbling blonde locks, clad in denim hotpants, opera singer Katherine Jenkins looks a world away from her classical opera diva image.

The reason for the new look is that Katherine is planning to storm the US in a bid to conquer the north American market.

The 28-year-old turned beach babe - complete with roller-skates - for a photoshoot in Los Angeles, and revealed her plans for US domination to Hello magazine. She told Hello: 'I feel I have a gift and that I should use it. I want to make the most of the opportunities presented to me.'

Katherine was invited to the US to meet with music executive David Foster who has worked with Madonna and Andrea Bocelli. She said of Foster: 'The man's a genius...my ultimate dream producer. I can't think of anyone more inspiring to work with.'
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At the 2009 Classical Brit Awards (same source):

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