Louise Redknapp on her empowering comeback & family values

I was really scared going back to work. I’d been asked many times to do Strictly Come Dancing but it was never the right time and it came at a time for me when I needed a passion project to do for me.

On the back of that, doors opened and there was an element of interest in me singing again.

After finding fame way back in 1993 with girl group Eternal, Louise Redknapp is making a comeback of epic proportions. The Strictly Come Dancing finalist and West End star is back with her new music and a fresh lease of life.

Louise joined our Editor-in-Chief, Deborah Joseph, at the GLAMOUR at the Manchester Beauty Festival to talk about her renaissance career, beauty secrets and life after Jamie – prepare to feel empowered.

Her career to date

You can never plan how your life is going to unfold. I was lucky enough to be in a band at a young age. Then I met my husband, now ex husband, and then I got married and life changed. I stopped making as much music. I became the person that runs the home. I was so happy being a mum and a wife and there was nothing I wanted more. It took me 4 years to get pregnant. I worked from such a young age and loved it so I was just quite happy being at home and have this baby I so desperately wanted.

I didn’t expect to spend 15 years at home before going back into the studio. I just got to the stage where the kids were getting older and I thought I want to go back to doing what I love.

I have a great network of girlfriends who bought 12 tickets each to my show in case no one turned up. I was feeling very anxious, especially because of the tough time I was getting with the press. I sold out in 4 minutes. I had to pull the car over and take a moment. People think you live this life where you expect everything to happen but you never know what’s around the corner and if the opportunities are going to keep on coming and you feel the same pressure to keep on delivering.

How she deals with the haters

I was shocked by the level of haters. I have kept myself to myself, I was married for 20 years and it was very genuine, we worked hard and always kept ourselves to ourselves. What you see is what you get with me. It was a very hard time as there’s a lot of it you want to keep private to protect the people you love so I was really hurt by everyone having an opinion. I understand this job opens up for people to having an opinion but sometimes you go into a dog eat dog situation but keeping my children happy was my priority. I went into mum mode and kept my head down. Jamie and I sat down together and said ‘all we care about is that the boys are ok’.

Double standards for men and women

Publicly, I did feel that I was very much the subject of talking matter. It was very much on me. That was hard. I didn’t know what to do or how to deal with it at the time. We have come out of that and I feel lucky. I have kept my head down and taken every opportunity with work. I wouldn’t have made my album if I hadn’t been through that. Anyone who goes through divorce when you have a family is the saddest thing. It’s not angry, it’s just very sad.

How she feels more confident now than ever

I feel more confident now than in my 20s. Maybe I expect less from myself? Or learnt what works for me? I would love to be able to sit up here and say the negative comments don’t hurt but it does. You can read 10 amazing comments but the one bad one is the one that stays with you all day. In the beginning, I read a lot of comments and my friends told me to stop.

You get to a stage, it comes with age, I know what is really important in my life. As much as I adore my kids, I have to have something for myself and something I worked all these years for. I owe it to myself to not just walk away from this.

How her sons reacted to her renaissance

When my Stretch video came out, my 15-year-old son said: ‘are you kidding me, mum? When I go into DT class, everyone winds me up and puts your music video on all the screens’. We laugh about it, he is a strong character. It took a while for them to be proud. When they come to watch my shows, I put them in seats where I can see them so I can see their reaction when people stand up and clap.

If my kids didn’t like the music, it didn’t go on the album. My best moment was when the younger one had some mates in the car and asked me to put my songs on. I thought I was going to cry.

I try not to put my kids on Instagram too much but I get comments asking if I am ever with my children and I want to go back to them and say ‘every day, I just choose not to always put them there.’ For the last 18 months, I had working mum guilt. I am always that mum who forgets they need a packed lunch and I am running in the garage for it before their school trip. I feel sick asking myself how I forgot. I am coming out the other side of that. My boys have really embraced what I am doing and they’re happy.

How her relationship with her body has changed

I have good day and bad days. I hate the gym. I am like any other woman. I have days where I feel confident and OK and days when I cover up. I am not a skinny girl. I have boobs and a bum. I get pictured and I get nervous. I say to everyone before the red carpet ‘be honest with me’. You can never know what a picture looks like. I get really worried the pictures aren’t going to be good and people are going to be unkind. However, I’ve had so many women thank me, I don’t think I go through a day without a woman coming up to me and thanking me for what I am doing.

Her best piece of advice for anyone going through bad times

You never expect every day to be great, surround yourself with absolutely amazing people and believe it’s going to be ok. My mum still says to me every day ‘it’s all going to be OK. It is all going to work out, you will be somewhere in two years time and say, ‘it all worked out, it’s OK’. If someone had said to me 10 years ago that I would make a new album and be on the West End, I would never have believed them.

Her ultimate beauty secret

Is anti-ageing reflexology by my mum. She does cosmic lifting, she uses crystals to lift the skin. I ask for one before every red carpet event. My beauty mantra is less is more. The less we do, the better.

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