IN her high heels and leotard, a beaming Louise Redknapp radiated total confidence on Strictly Come Dancing in 2016.
But behind the scenes the singer was experiencing such turmoil in her 18-year marriage that it would lead her to contemplate throwing herself in front of a bus.
Now, Louise says she wishes she had tried to save the relationship instead of acting so rashly.
And in a new autobiography, You’ve Got This, the 46-year-old mother of two talks about the pain of the break-up that led her to consider taking her own life.
The star of 90s girl group Eternal does not blame former Liverpool midfielder Jamie, 47, for the destruction of their 20-year romance.
The star was all smiles when she appeared on Strictly in 2016[/caption]
Instead Louise now believes she should have talked more openly with him about her desire to push on with her career following that invigorating spell on the BBC dance show.
In the book she writes of the effect of the divorce: “I sank to my knees, crouched down by the radiator and sobbed and sobbed. That was the first time I ever wondered whether I would be better off not being here.”
Louise continued: “I would be standing in Central London, watching the buses whizz past and I would wonder whether it would be easier for a bus to take me out.
“All it would take was for me to step out at the wrong moment and it would all be over.”
But things weren’t good for Louise and Jamie behind the scenes[/caption]
Only her love for her sons Charley, 16, and Beau, 12, prevented her from acting on those dark thoughts.
As she was watching the bus outside Selfridges in London’s West End she said to herself: “God, I’ve got two people that need me, and they’re the loves of my life, so?”
Yesterday Jamie looked haunted when he went on TV after Louise had made her revelation, with some viewers saying he looked bleary-eyed.
He does not often discuss his private life and did not give his account of the divorce in his own autobiography, Me, Family And The Making Of A Footballer, published last year.
While Jamie has found fresh romance with Swedish model Frida Andersson Lourie, Louise is only just beginning to think about serious dating again, according to pals.
She says she regrets not having a proper talk with “best friend” Jamie on ending the marriage, and she explores what she now thinks would have been a better approach in her book, which is subtitled: And Other Things I Wish I Had Known.
Louise’s love for their two sons Charley and Beau got her through the dark times[/caption]
She writes: “Before anyone could stop me, I just ran, as fast as the wind would take me. I never once looked behind, until maybe too late.
“I should have paused and thought about other people and had just a bit more time to work out why I felt I couldn’t do it any more.
“I wish I’d tried. I want to say to anyone thinking of running: Just slow down. Don’t run. Because once you run too fast, you can’t make up the ground you’ve lost.
“Stop, say what you need, say what you think, don’t be afraid to say what’s really going on. You don’t have to be quiet.”
Jamie is now dating Swedish model Frida Andersson Lourie[/caption]
South Londoner Louise’s desperately low state three years ago will come as a surprise to fans, as outwardly she appeared to have it all.
She had been talent-spotted while out clubbing aged 15 and chosen to be in the four-strong group Eternal.
Their first album, 1993’s Always & Forever, sold more than a million copies in the UK alone, but Louise quit in 1995 to start her own hugely successful solo career.
Having overcome health problems to become a mum, she was determined to spend time with her sons and stepped away from making new music in 2004, even though she had signed a £1.5million record deal.
Louise wishes she had been more open with Jamie when she was struggling[/caption]
Louise said: “For a long time, I ticked all the boxes of being the ‘picture-perfect’ wife. I smiled and said the right things at the right times.”
In reality she was tired of being the one doing the cooking and waiting for Jamie to return from filming TV shows as his post-football career as a pundit took off.
Even so, she emphasises that it had been her choice to put her children and husband before her own desires.
Louise, who often topped “sexiest woman” polls, also felt undermined by young women lusting after Jamie.
Her stint on Strictly made her regret putting her own career on the backburner[/caption]
In the book she writes: “Everywhere we went, glamorous and gorgeous women tried to get Jamie’s attention,” even though they knew he was married to her.
After an episode of obsessing over her body image in the 2000s, after turning 40 in 2014 Louise suffered a loss of confidence that she would never return to performing on stage again.
Then, reaching the finals of Strictly Come Dancing with pro-dancer Kevin Clifton in 2016 gave her a renewed sense of self-belief.
She said: “For the first time in a really long time, I loved myself.”
However Louise admits it was her choice to put her children and husband before her own desires[/caption]
When Louise and Jamie started to drift apart during the show, rumours started to swirl that their marriage was another victim of the so-called Strictly Curse.
“The circus around it is something that I would never want to put my family through again,” Louise said in a recent podcast.
She is keen to point out it was never anything more than a professional friendship with Kevin, who later waltzed off with another dance partner, Stacey Dooley.
Louise insists no third party was involved in her and Jamie’s problems, and says she did not leave Jamie because he told her she must stick to being a stay-at-home mum.
She says the truth is that a fear of being stifled by marriage led her to strike out on her own.
Shortly after Strictly finished she started recording new music and in December that year she performed her first live show in 15 years.
Louise then signed a record deal and last year released her fourth solo album, Heavy Love.
She has also taken to live theatre, touring with Cabaret and joining the Dolly Parton musical 9 To 5 just before the pandemic struck.
While Louise is still pals with Jamie, she has not formed a long-term relationship since her divorce, though she has been linked with models including 27-year-old hunk James Yates.
Jamie is now getting serious with Frida, who is ten years his junior and looks remarkably like his former wife.
Louise’s friends say she is only just beginning to think about serious dating again[/caption]
In the podcast, Louise said: “I don’t know if someone ever gets over a divorce after 20 years.”
But a source told The Sun: “Louise isn’t in a rush to find a boyfriend and lockdown has made it practically impossible.
“Before it never felt like the right time but now she feels ready to share her life with somebody again, especially as her kids are growing up.”
The end of the couple’s marriage was tough on the boys and they have tried to shield them. Jamie lives not far from Louise, so he is able to see his sons often.
<!--googleoff: all--> <blockquote class="article__quote"> <div class="article__quote-copy theme__before-color theme__after-color"> I don’t know if someone ever gets over a divorce after 20 years. <cite class="article__quote-credit theme__copy-color"> <span class="quote-credit">Louise Redknapp</span> </cite> </div> </blockquote> <!--googleon: all-->
In the aftermath, friends of the couple tended to side with Jamie and it has left Louise feeling lonely at times.
The book might help others to see why she took the very tough decision to leave a man who appeared to be the ultimate Mr Right.
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