Wednesday 26 October 2016

Life lessons with Katherine Jenkins

Published 28/06/2015 | 02:30

Katherine Jenkins. Rex features
Katherine Jenkins. Rex features
Katherine Jenkins and husband Andrew Levitas

Mezzo soprano Katherine Jenkins (34) hails from Neath in Wales. Having studied at the Royal Academy of Music, in 2003 she signed a six-album deal with Universal Music. In August that year, the avid rugby fan performed the Welsh national anthem at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff before a Wales vs England match - something she has repeated many times in the following years.

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One of the biggest-selling classical crossover artists in the world, she has been awarded an OBE for services to music and charity. In 2008, Katherine caused a stir when she revealed that she had regularly taken ecstasy, cocaine and cannabis in her youth. She became engaged to long-term boyfriend Blue Peter presenter Gethin Jones in February 2011, but the relationship ended later that year. Last September, she married American artist and filmmaker Andrew Levitas. They are expecting a baby girl in the autumn. 

I announced my pregnancy on Twitter for my fans. They have been incredibly supportive over the last 10 years - and this is the happiest news you can get. Why wouldn't I want to share it with them?

After my baby is born I will be just as protective, if not more so, of my personal life. Not everyone understands that. I feel it is very important.

My family and friends didn't choose this job. I chose this job. Some people want to have weddings and family in the media - that's totally their decision. I've always tried to draw a line between the two. It's about having some sanity.

I've had to develop a thicker skin to deal with press issues and stuff like that. The press and the attention… it's a learning curve, I was 24 when I got into the industry. I'm 34 now.

I'm not sure I have personally changed a great deal. My girlfriends are still the girlfriends I had before.

I never said I was giving up on music, which was what was reported. I said in an interview that if am lucky enough to have children, then I'd like to take some time off to enjoy that. With all the travelling and the touring, I don't think I'd be a very good mum. Stuff gets blown out of all proportion. It was just a small sentence in an interview.

I'm a Cancerian - I'm soft in the centre. Of course, if someone is writing things about you that you know are not true, it can be difficult to read, or for your family to read.

When Gethin and I broke up, everybody was under the impression it was my ­decision, my ambition; I wanted to take over the world. It was so far from the truth. The reality of it was that about two weeks later, I had to go on a UK tour where every night I'm singing songs of heartbreak and every day I was just trying to find the energy to cope, let alone going on stage and understand his reason for doing it.

There is definitely a double standard in terms of men and women in this business. I might need hair and make-up done for TV. I know men who do exactly the same job as me - and they'll have as much spent on hair and make-up. Yet nobody cares how much it costs. But that's OK - that's how it is.

I'm quite sensitive. When I read something about me that's simply made up, it can get to me. My mum has a really good attitude. She says: "Well we all know the truth - come back to Neath and we'll give you a hug."

With Twitter, usually it is best to keep calm and not to respond. People will write really stupid things and try to get a rise out of you. When you are in the public eye, you have to think about how things are going to be portrayed.

It's about changing one person at a time. You cannot make a judgment about someone until you've met them. When I do meet them, I hope I might change any preconceptions they might have.

There is this idea that if you are a classical artist then you must be quite saintly. That you've never done anything wrong. When I spoke about taking drugs, it was an opportunity to say, "look I haven't done everything right - I've made tonnes of mistakes and probably will again". I believed very strongly that I needed to say it.

Of course, I worried it might all be over for me. I didn't know how people were going to react. It could have been a career-ending moment. I feel candour is the best policy. I think people might understand me a little better if I am completely open.

The Irish and Welsh are very similar. We have the same outlook on a lot of things. We do really get on. I always tell people that when I'm travelling the world - the Irish and the Welsh, we have so much in common.

Ireland has a great chance at the Rugby World Cup. You have a great team at the moment. That said, Wales has a great team as well. I'm really looking forward to it - honestly, I can't wait. Ireland vs Wales is always my favourite rugby match in the Six Nations. Both sides want to win, but it's almost a game among family.

To sing in Cork last week was a dream come true. It was be quite a personal thing for me. I did some concerts there last year and the response was amazing. And to sing with José Carreras! When I was studying at the Royal Academy, I was encouraged to go to the library and explore the recordings of the great singers and he was one of the people I listened to.

Katherine Jenkins' latest album 'Home Sweet Home' is out now.

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