As Louise Redknapp quits her musical role, it seems she’s worried what the future holds
Louise Redknapp took to London’s West End stage for the last time this week as her three-month stint in 9 to 5: The Musical ends. Now the singer faces one of her biggest fears – the future.
“I’m really scared,” Louise admits. It’s been 19 months since her divorce from Jamie, 46, after 19 years of marriage, and Louise has been vocal about ending things to focus on ‘renewed ambitions’.
But for a long time Jamie and their boys, Charley, 14, and 10-year-old Beau, were the only constant things in her life, so it’s no wonder she’s struggling with her self-esteem and turning to Jamie and the kids for their support.
As we’ve reported, the couple have become close again since the divorce – with rumours they may reunite. Louise recently confessed, “Jamie and I have got to a really positive place. But I don’t know what life is going to be like. I’m nervous about work and career…because I’m not young. And people are judgemental.”
Earlier this year Louise, 44, missed the first two months of 9 to 5: The Musical following a fall and, while it’s not clear why Louise has quit 9 to 5 altogether, with the exception of six shows when it tours in the autumn, the pressure is on now she’s going solo again.
“It’d be nice for the music to do well enough to be able to tour next year,” Louise said. “I hope people are going to like it… I’m just going to give it what I’ve got.” She recently posted a quote on Instagram that read, “You were born to be real, not to be perfect!” And we can reveal it’s a battle she’s been fighting since her teens…
Louise’s stage school days kick-started her unhealthy relationship with food. At 14, she blamed her “puppy fat: for not getting certain roles and the rejection pushed her, and her friends, to take drastic measures. “For years, we’d share a buttered roll for lunch every day. That’s all we’d have,” Louise confessed.
“I started getting boobs, a bum and my face filled out. For a dancer that’s a death knell. I’d go to auditions… and the room would be filled with skinny girls with perfect skin. Who wouldn’t feel inferior in an environment like that? We all struggled with our weight,” she recalled.
But despite getting work, her eating habits worsened. Her mum, Lynne, told how she caught her “sneaking in the fridge” to pick “little bits’ of a pie crust or a “spoonful of yogurt” and added, “It was painfully obvious that she was almost starving herself.”
And while Louise admitted to the “ridiculous diets”, she explained, “In effect, I virtually stopped eating because I didn’t know how else to lose weight. Sometimes I’d go days without food… people thought I was on the verge of anorexia, but I wasn’t. I was lucky I snapped out of it.”
The Lewisham-born performer shot to fame as part of 90s girl band Eternal, and hinted of a 2019 reunion, teasing, “I’d never rule it out.” But while she says, “I’m really happy… stronger than I ever thought I was,” could a reunion trigger old issues?
Even in Eternal’s heyday, Louise lost her confidence. “I felt so isolated… I couldn’t talk to anyone,” she confessed. “I couldn’t even eat. The girls thought I had an eating disorder.”
And, according to her biography Louise: My Story, her close friend Charlie agreed, saying, “All her confidence went, she lost weight and we never saw her smile.”
Despite once being crowned the “sexiest woman alive”, Louise dislikes her “short” legs and “footballer knees”.
“I still don’t have the best body image in the world,” she says. “I have to watch what I eat. When I’m performing I want to look the best I can.”
These days, single Louise also struggles with dating. “I’ve been single for a year and a half now. No-one is ringing me up asking for a date,” Louise revealed. “I think I have issues…”
So, is she finding it hard to move on from Jamie? It can’t be easy being on good terms and in contact with your ex without feeling like slipping back into your old routine.
Father-in-law Harry Redknapp revealed he and wife Sandra were “completely shocked” when Jamie and Louise split. And while Harry didn’t confirm or deny rumours of a reconciliation, he added, “They were a great couple.”
Let’s hope Louise realises relationships can be imperfect too…