FOR Jo O’Meara, life modified in a single day when she joined pop group S Club 7 aged 20.
The band – made up of Paul Cattermole, now 44, Tina Barrett, 44, Rachel Stevens, 43, Bradley McIntosh, 40, Hannah Spearritt, 40, Jon Lee, 39, and Jo – bought greater than 10 million albums worldwide within the 5 years they had been collectively, and their posters graced the partitions of teenagers across the globe.
The pop band break up in 2003 as a result of ‘artistic variations’
When they break up in 2003, as a result of “artistic variations”, Jo, from Romford, set about proving herself as a solo artist along with her first album Relentless.
But she might solely watch as her popularity was smashed to items in a second after a controversial look on Celebrity Big Brother in 2007 noticed her accused of racist and bullying behaviour in direction of Indian actress Shilpa Shetty (together with Jade Goody, Jackiey Budden and Danielle Lloyd).
Jo lost everything – together with her profession and her dwelling – and suffered a breakdown.
Some 14 years on, now mum to 13-year-old Lenny, she stays sorry for what occurred, however is in a a lot better place.
We sit down to speak about what actually occurred and why she is reaching for the celebrities another time along with her new solo album.
Hi, Jo! How do you’re feeling about your Big Brother expertise now, trying again?
I really feel that I ought to have by no means gone in there within the first place. I did it for the unsuitable causes, as a result of I wanted the cash to avoid wasting my dwelling – however I didn’t find yourself doing that anyway.
Everything that occurred round that point… I am so, so sorry to everyone on the market I ever offended, as a result of I by no means meant to harm anyone. All I can do is apologise and let individuals know that I’ve realized a lot about myself. I’m a very completely different individual immediately.
In March, it was 12 years since Jade Goody died. Do you continue to consider her?
I do consider Jade. And what occurred was completely tragic. She was so younger and she had youngsters – I suppose individuals must keep in mind that. It was heartbreaking.
How did Big Brother change you?
I suppose a lot of individuals wished me to be punished for what occurred, and I was. I lost my profession. I lost my dwelling. I lost everything and I’m nonetheless making an attempt to rebuild immediately. That’s why I really feel so blessed to be again doing what I love.
I had a full breakdown and it wasn’t a good time for everyone concerned. If I might return in time and change what occurred then I would, however I can’t. All I can do is maintain my fingers up and apologise.
You received pregnant not lengthy after that…
Yes, it wasn’t deliberate, however it occurred for a cause. Lenny gave me one thing else to concentrate on and helped dig me out of the outlet I was in – I simply put all my vitality into him.
You develop up fairly shortly after you’ve had a child. You put all of your love into this little bundle and protecting them secure and heat.
I suppose a lot of individuals wished me to be punished for what occurred, and I was. I lost everything.
You didn’t stick with Lenny’s father (Bill Slate), however are issues amicable?
They’ve all the time been very straightforward and amicable. We’ve all the time had fairly a united entrance so far as Lenny’s involved, and he’s a incredible dad.
He’s in a new relationship and he’s comfortable and she’s beautiful – I get alongside along with her. I suppose it’s good for Lenny. I don’t wish to be these feuding dad and mom.
You all the time mentioned you wished to get married – is that also in your checklist?
No, I’ve been single for a lengthy, very long time. I get pleasure from being single. I’m simply so career-driven, extra now than ever. I know this could possibly be my final shot. I wish to give this everything I’ve received, so I wouldn’t have time for that anyway. I’m in a relationship with music!
Did turning 40 have an effect on you?
Absolutely. I liked turning 40. I’ve lastly realized to simply accept who I am and I’m not beating myself up any extra about not being this excellent individual. I simply do the most effective that I can.
It’s been 16 years since your final solo album, so what impressed your new one?
I’ve all the time wished to do one other album, however the timings hadn’t been proper and I didn’t have the center. I was speaking to a buddy about it and she mentioned: “Why don’t you simply textual content Brian Rawling – who I did my first album with – and see what he says?”
It took me a whereas, as a result of I was nervous, however he instructed me to come back in for a chat. So I did, and he mentioned: “Let’s make one other report.” I was like: “Wow, OK!”
What do the opposite band members consider it?
I suppose they’re all proud of it – I hope they’re. I’ve had a few messages saying “find it irresistible” and “you smashed it”. So that’s good.
Did you set a lot of stress on your self throughout your S Club 7 days?
When I look again on it, I did put a hell of a lot of stress on myself to look the most effective that I might, as a result of I did typically really feel just like the ugly duckling of the group.
I was by no means there to be the gorgeous one – I was simply the one which sang the songs and it made me really feel very insecure. When I had my again harm [while filming S Club 7 film Seeing Double In 2002], I turned to consolation consuming and then I’d get in that vicious cycle.
Did you management your consuming, too?
I did to a level that I shouldn’t have completed, simply to strive and sustain. In our TV exhibits, we had been in bikinis on a regular basis and it was a lot of stress to face up towards the opposite three ladies, who had been so lovely and gorgeous.
So I’d eat protein bars and salads, which I want I hadn’t. I’m comfy in my very own pores and skin now. I eat healthily and practice every single day, however I’m doing it for me.
I was by no means there to be the gorgeous one – I was simply the one which sang the songs and it made me really feel very insecure.
Who do you keep in contact with?
Rachel and Hannah are the 2 I converse to probably the most. And we’re all actually supportive of what we’re doing. We received again collectively in 2015 for an enviornment tour, which was sensible – it felt like we’d by no means been aside.
We’re all precisely the identical, simply older variations with youngsters. In reality, between us, the band have three boys and 4 ladies, so we’ve actually received one other S Club in child type! But there are not any plans to do something collectively.
And to be fully trustworthy, I actually wish to focus on my new album. To be given a likelihood to do it once more… I simply wish to focus everything I’ve received into it.
- Jo’s new album With Love is out now.
Jo has slowly rebuilt her life and is worked up to launch her new solo albumFrankie Bridge displays on her S Club Junior days and the potential of a reunion
- Hair & make-up: Julia Bowden
- Additional pictures: PA, Shutterstock Editorial
- Styling: Kate Barbour
- Jo wears: Shirt, Lipsy