Singer Louise Redknapp has revealed she felt she was becoming "less and less of a person" as she took a break from performing to focus on staying at home and being a mum during her marriage to ex Jamie.
Speaking to Fabulous magazine, the 45-year-old Eternal star admitted she will "always" adore her former husband - but now realises her decision to take part in Strictly Come Dancing helped her understand how important entertaining is to her self-esteem.
Reflecting on how her children Charley and Beau were growing up and Jamie was busy at the time, Louise noted she wondered what would be next for her and said she felt "a bit lonely" as she pondered signing up for the BBC One dance show.
She ultimately reasoned: "So I made myself say yes to it, and I realised that performing is what I love, it’s what I grew up doing, it’s what I went to stage school for. That’s what makes me, what defines me. It’s what gives me confidence and makes me feel I’m worth something. Even though I had a lovely life and there’s nothing more important to me than my boys, I felt like I needed to have a little fire again.
"And whether I’m singing in front of 10 people or 50,000, it doesn’t matter. That’s all I know how to do and without it, I think I just felt a little bit… worthless."
Picking her words carefully, Louise went on to qualify she still cares deeply for the man she was married to for 19 years.
I felt like I needed to have a little fire again.
She continued: "I adore him and always will. Jamie was the absolute love of my life. I guess I was happy to be invisible for a little while, but at the same time I felt I was becoming less and less of a person. And being less and less visible was kind of hard to take when I used to be a pop star."
Nonetheless, she doubts he will listen to the emotional tracks on her new album Heavy Love - but believes ex footballer Jamie knows she would never be unpleasant about him.
But as a woman in the public eye, Louise is also aware she is held to different standards to those of men - and thinks there was a "massive" difference in how she and Jamie were treated by the press following their split.
And while she is glad he didn’t have to go through the same kind of scrutiny and speculation, Louise also confesses there were times where she was 'begging' for it to end and was hurt by suggestions she'd walked out on her kids.
Adding her priority is her boys know what kind of parent she is, the star has also vowed to ensure they will be the first people to know as and when she meets a new romantic interest.
Until then, Louise acknowledges she would liked to be asked out for dinner - having not been on one date since her split from Jamie - although feels too shy to make any first moves herself!
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