There’s no doubt in our minds that Nadine Coyle will be spoilt rotten this Mother’s Day. The former Girls Aloud singer’s six-year-old daughter Anaíya clearly idolises her, running to sit on her knee as soon as she arrives on our shoot, then quickly changing into a flowing lilac dress that matches her mum’s.
“Being a mum is the most important role in my life,” the Irish popstar, 34, tells OK!, adding, “Anaíya is just like me when I was her age.”
It’s obvious Nadine dotes on her daughter, whose father is former NFL star Jason Bell, and she’s equally close to her own mum Lillian, who also joins us for some photos.
“I have such a solid family,” Nadine shares. “I think that’s how I’ve managed to stay normal in this industry – they always keep me grounded.”
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Nadine’s whole family moved to Los Angeles with her over a decade ago, where they ran an Irish bar and restaurant, but are now back on UK soil.
“We were all just a bit over it in the end,” Nadine says of her life in California. “I still pop back there all the time but I like living in London again.”
Nadine has since completed a successful stint on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!, where she finished in fifth place, and released new single, All That I Know.
Here, Nadine fills us in on everything from her relationship with her former bandmates, to her secret battle with crippling anxiety…
It’s Mother’s Day this weekend. What are your plans?
I always take my mum out for lunch, and I’ve bought her a big collection of candles. Anaíya will make a fuss of me too, she always makes me something. She’s a real mummy’s girl and still likes being babied, so I have to carry her around the house. She’s more than half my size now so that’s tricky!
Can you believe she’s six already?
It freaks me out. Where did the time go? I feel like the first couple of years dragged because I was so worried when she was young. It was like, “Is she eating enough? Is she okay?” I worried about everything. But I’m more relaxed now she’s a bit older.
Are you a worrier in general?
Yes, and I definitely found that my anxiety went through the roof after having Anaíya. There is no time to switch off. Even when I’m working, I’m worrying about whether I’m working too much. I think working mums always give themselves a hard time because you want to be there to do every breakfast, lunch, dinner and school pick-up.
Do you feel like you were always meant to be a mum?
Definitely. Before I was in Girls Aloud, I wanted to be a nanny. But then Girls Aloud started and that ruined that dream [laughs]!
Does Anaíya understand what you do for work?
She knows I’m a singer. She doesn’t like watching my old Girls Aloud videos because she doesn’t like it when I throw my hair around with loads of make-up on. She doesn’t recognise me. She says she’d like to be a singer when she’s older and I can see her being an opera singer as she has an operatic voice.
You and Jason [Bell] split last year but you seem to have a great relationship…
It’s really good. Co-parenting is working really well for us as we always put Anaíya first. Jason moved over here too when I moved back from LA, and he lives up the road. We still do lots of things together, we even go away together. Our relationship evolved into a friendship, but he’s definitely part of the family and always will be.
Are you currently dating again?
I’d rather keep that private, but I have been on Tinder in the past. I was trying to get some of my single girlfriends to go on it and they were like, “Why don’t you do it?” So I did and it was quite fun. I ended up arranging to meet this guy who was a model. I thought I was being catfished and he couldn’t possibly be the guy in his pictures, but it was him. We went on one date but nothing came of it.
What kind of guy do you go for?
I like somebody who makes me do things that I wouldn’t do myself and takes me out of my comfort zone. They don’t have to be in the industry either. I like a guy who does a nine-to-five job.
Do you hope to get married one day?
I have never really been into marriage, I just don’t want to do it. I find it really cheesy and cringe, so I’d have to be forced into it! I have been engaged, but the thought of planning a wedding or walking down an aisle [pulls a face].
Would you like to have any more children?
Right after I had Anaíya, I definitely wanted more kids. I was like, “I think I could do this professionally,” because I loved being pregnant so much. I used to love watching that programme 19 Kids And Counting and I thought I might just keep going and have 19 kids myself [laughs]. I had these big plans to home-school them all and I even wanted to be a surrogate as well. But then the reality set in after being up all night, and I was like, “Okay, maybe not 19.”
Does Anaíya want a sibling?
No, she is quite happy that it’s just her. She says to me, “If you had another baby, would you love it more than me?”
Your former bandmate Cheryl said she would use a sperm donor for her next child. Would you ever consider that?
I think it’s great that those things exist but I wouldn’t be thinking about that right now. I would possibly adopt but I’m really quite content right now.
Did you know that Nicola Roberts was performing on The Masked Singer before she was unmasked?
I didn’t see the show but I recognised her voice on an advert, so I knew it was her. They did ask me to be on the show but I said no. It felt a bit too close to what I already do for a living. But it’s such a fun and great concept!
What’s your relationship like with the girls now?
It’s been seven years since the last reunion tour and it feels like seven years! Cheryl emailed me recently and I bumped into Kimberley [Walsh] a few weeks ago as well, which was lovely. I haven’t seen Sarah [Harding] or Nicola in a long time, but everything remains very cordial. We’re not best mates, it’s just the way it’s always been. I’m very close to a lot of people from my time in the band, like our hair and make-up people and the dancers, but you gravitate towards the people that you have stuff in common with.
So what’s the score with a Girls Aloud reunion?
It’s always been really fun and we’ve always had a really good time but there would have to be a lot of organising to get us all back together. It would take a lot of work.
Mel C recently opened up about her mental health struggles in the Spice Girls. Can you relate?
Having no real time off was the hard thing. It was a bit like being on a weird school trip that you can’t get off. It was claustrophobic. We were so famous here, I didn’t know if people wanted to talk to me for me, or if it was because I was that girl from that band. I used to avoid petrol stations because I didn’t want to see what was written about me in the papers.
What’s the most ridiculous thing you ever saw written about you?
That I weighed my food at [restaurant] The Ivy. They said I ordered something and then asked for scales because I was on some extreme diet. Me moving to LA was me running away from all that. In LA, I could go shopping by myself and it was the first time I had ever done anything by myself.
How is your anxiety these days?
I spent a lot of years feeling fearful. I saw danger everywhere. I was fearful of driving my car, and I couldn’t get on a plane without thinking I was going to die. I don’t know where the anxiety came from, but I think it got worse after becoming a mum. It became such an ordeal to go anywhere and I stopped driving in the end. I was also anxious about my house being riddled with mice, so I had builders in for months ripping out the walls. I was afraid to go to bed at night in case I saw a mouse. It was awful.
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Did you have therapy?
No. I spoke to my friends a lot. I also think going into the jungle was like therapy for me. It made me more fearless; doing that show put me in a situation where I didn’t know anybody and had to sleep outdoors. I’m less stressed out now.
Who are you still in touch with?
Caitlyn [Jenner] is in London this week and I’m doing some shows, so she wants to come to one of them. I would say I’m closest to Ian Wright out of everyone because he took my dad to an Arsenal game. It was during one of the storms, so he sent me pictures of them wrapped up in blankets because it was so cold!
You’ve been in the industry for nearly 20 years. Are you proud of that achievement?
Yes, I am. I hope I will always sing. I’ll keep doing it until I don’t enjoy it any more – or until Anaíya is like, “Mum, I’m going to sing now, take off those PVC trousers!”
All That I Know is available now on iTunes and Spotify.
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