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‘Singing will always make me feel happy’: Life according to… former Girls Aloud star Kimberley Walsh

© PA Photo/John NguyenKimberley Walsh
Kimberley Walsh

The former Girls Aloud singer on the joys of singing in the car, growing up in a ‘von Trapp family’, and how looking after three young sons keeps her fit

What makes you happy?

Singing is something that will always make me feel happy, even if it’s just me singing to myself in the car, that can be quite a powerful way of having a bit of me-time and resetting.

Have you always loved to perform?

I’m usually getting told to shut up by the rest of my family members and it was no different as a child, growing up with my brother and sisters. Now it’s just changed to my kids. I get so much enjoyment out of it, and I don’t think that’s ever going to change. I was one of four siblings, and all four of us were into the arts – there was a lot of putting on shows before school, and we all went to stage school. It was very much a von Trapp set-up.

What were you like as a child?

I was actually quite a shy child and quite reserved. I think when I was singing, dancing or performing, that was the only time I really wasn’t shy at all. As I grew up, that confidence helped me become a bit more outspoken in general life, too. It helped me massively – I can’t really imagine my upbringing without it.

You entered Popstars: The Rivals in your early 20s. How did you cope being so young when you found fame?

I think I took it in my stride, and was able to take it for what it was and enjoy the experience. I was the right character for that type of thing.

You are a mum now to Bobby, seven, Cole, five, and one-year-old Nate. What’s it like being a parent?

It’s actually been really nice, because I’ve got a bigger age gap between my second and third, it’s been helpful because the older two help entertain him. They’re so excited by every little milestone, which is lovely to see. I think it was harder going from one to two, because there was a small gap between them, only two years. So I felt like I had two babies for a while. Also, I’m not planning to have any more, so I think I’m just enjoying every stage – you want to soak it all up.

Are the kids showing signs of being musical?

You feel relieved when you realise they can sing in tune and they can dance – I was hoping for that!

How do you look after your mental health?

Exercise massively helps. If I can incorporate some kind of dance, I think it has a really positive effect on me. Dancing is quite uplifting – it’s definitely a good one for the mind.

How do you keep fit?

I do weights rather than full-on, high intensity training or cardio. I feel like I get that already from running around after the three boys.

What’s next?

I feel like I’ve got a bit of balance now. I’m able to get back to work, and also be around for the boys.

Kimberley Walsh is working with Sky Arts to promote the Access All Arts programme for school children