Charlotte Church, ‘I’m not a millionaire anymore’

Charlotte reveals why she's swapped her mansion for a semi and how she escaped the 'dark twisted fairy tale' of her youth.

Charlotte Church then and now

by Isobel Lewis |
Updated on

Once notorious for her glossy showbiz life with her ex, rugby star Gavin Henson, Charlotte Church’s life now couldn’t be more different.

The mum of three reveals that she even recently sold her £2.2m Welsh mansion in order to “massively downsize” to a semi-detached house with her musician husband, Jonathan Powell. A big part of the decision, Charlotte says, came down to her finances.

“I am not a millionaire anymore,” she says. “What mattered to me when I bought the house is it was absolutely beautiful and close to the forest and it was a big mansion house. We had a school there for a bit and a studio. When it is used by the community, it makes sense, but when it is not used, it doesn’t. We want to be in the mainframe and be involved in life and what it feels like.”

Charlotte Church with husband Jonathan Powell
Charlotte Church with husband Jonathan Powell in 2015 ©Getty

For Charlotte, it’s important that her children, Ruby, 16, and Dexter, 14, from her relationship with sports star Gavin, and Frida, three, with Jonathan, have a far more normal childhood than she did. After all, Charlotte’s upbringing was anything but average.

She was just 11 when she got her big break in 1997, winning over This Morning viewers with her stunning singing voice during a phone-in. By the time she was a teenager, she’d already topped the classical charts with her debut album, Voice Of An Angel. “I was very fairy-tale-like and then it gets into this dark, twisted fairy tale,” she said, speaking to Richard Herring on stage in Cardiff during his RHLSTP tour.

“When I think back on it now, the path I am on is very interesting in the way I reflect rather than the way I look at what happened to me.”

Thrust into the spotlight, Charlotte was made to grow up very fast. “When I made money, I did say to my dad when I was 14, ‘I am not sure about this showbiz stuff. I am really not having a good time’ and he was like, ‘Just stick at it as we don’t get these opportunities’,” she recalls.

Charlotte Church with Gavin Henderson
Charlotte Church and Gavin Henson in 2005 ©Getty

Despite being surrounded by celebrities, Charlotte managed to stay grounded. In the presence of legends like David Bowie, she was unfazed. And when a chorus of “happy birthday” was sung to her at the Grammys to mark her 15th birthday, she says, “I was like, ‘Oh God, stop it. I hate it’.”

She puts this attitude down to staying in Cardiff rather than moving to London or Los Angeles, preventing her from going “doolally”, but she still says child stardom left her feeling like “such a commodity”
and “used”.

Throughout it all, Charlotte says, it was the music itself that kept her “sane”. “I did get to a stage in my teenage years, about 16 or 17, when I was like, ‘I don’t know if I can sing this s**t anymore’, but going around the world and singing in the biggest concert halls was phenomenal and I will be grateful for that experience,” she says. “It’s the biggest tool for healing and the biggest tool we have for togetherness.”

So it’s no wonder that dabbling in music once again has been so freeing for the star. “I am making music again but this time it is really my soul,” she says. Facilitating retreats at The Dreaming, her spiritual retreat space in Wales, which featured in documentary TV series Charlotte Church’s Dream Build, has been a “joyful, expanding and expansive” experience for her too.

“Now I am able to do things that I am passionate about,” she says. “I have this retreat in mid Wales and it is lush. It’s just the way my brain works, thinking about society and thinking about utopian futures and what the world needs. I feel deep at the core of my purpose, it is about healing and it always has been singing classical songs. People felt soothed by that. It is a deep part of my purpose.”

At 38, Charlotte isn’t thinking too much about turning 40 and what that new decade will bring just yet. “I feel exhausted by that idea,” she admits. “When I get there, I will think these are my golden years. But I have got so much more to give.”

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