WHEN she was dropped by her record label just months after her husband cheated, ending their marriage, Alesha Dixon thought her life was over.
The singer, 40, feared she would never bounce back from that “terrible year” only to then land a job on prime-time TV, giving her another shot at fame.
A decade on, Alesha is one of our best-loved talent show judges alongside her Britain’s Got Talent boss Simon Cowell and co-stars Amanda Holden and David Walliams — and admits she is the happiest she has ever been.
She said: “I’m proud of the fact I feel fearless now. I spent such a long time feeling afraid of everything. Now I feel everything is possible.
“That period taught me that karma exists. I had been dropped from my old label and gone through that terrible year when I thought my life was over.
“But then my career took a life-changing turn.”
Alesha, who is back on our screens at the moment for the new series of BGT, told how she has come a long way from auditioning for a Pot Noodle advert, is “less reckless” since becoming a mum and often stays up until 2am watching box sets.
Last week, Alesha — worth an estimated £2.8million — was at the centre of controversy on the ITV show after it was revealed comedian Kojo Anim, who Simon pressed his Golden Buzzer for, knew the singer.
Kojo, who got straight through to the semi-finals, admitted he was friends with Alesha through her second husband Azuka Ononye, 38.
His confession prompted furious Twitter users to brand it a fix.
Alesha is now happily married to former backing dancer Azuka Ononye[/caption]
But not so long ago it was Alesha — who has five-year-old daughter Azura Sienna with dancer Azuka — looking for a hand up into showbiz.
The former singer with girlband Mis-Teeq, who grew up in Welwyn Garden City, Herts, told how one of her earliest memories was trying to land roles in TV adverts.
She said: “I was five and caught the train to London with my mum. It was to attend an audition for Pot Noodles. I completely messed it up because when they asked me questions, I said nothing.”
She added: “I have been very determined from a young age. Growing up, I didn’t have nice clothes. My friends would have new clothes, while I wore the same jeans for months.
Alesha had planned on becoming a PE teacher before she was approached by a record producer[/caption]
“I couldn’t afford to go to dance classes. The only time I would get to dance was at school, doing the choreography for school plays.
“I planned to become a PE teacher but after I was approached by a record producer on a train, my life took a different turn, and I eventually ended up being in Mis-Teeq.”
The three-piece had seven top ten singles before splitting in 2005, when Alesha landed a £500,000, three-album solo deal.
But the following year was to be the worst of her life.
Mis-Teeq had seven top ten singles before they split in 2005[/caption]
Before their first wedding anniversary, Alesha’s rapper husband MC Harvey was caught cheating with Alesha’s former friend, singer Javine Hylton.
The marriage ended, and Javine went on to have daughter Angel with Harvey in 2008, but the pair split the next year when he was unfaithful again.
On finding out about her then-husband’s affair, Alesha said: “I didn’t eat for a few days. I just remember sitting on the floor in my house.
“You ask those questions, ‘Why?’ ‘What have I done wrong?’ ”
Alesha’s first husband, rapper MC Harvey, was caught cheating before their first wedding anniversary[/caption]
She even contemplated harming herself, saying: “I just remember having a feeling when I was driving. I felt so low in myself that I thought I wouldn’t care if the car crashed.”
Alesha was dealt a further blow later that year when her first two solo singles, Lipstick and Knockdown, only charted at No 14 and No 45, respectively — and she was dropped by her record label.
She recalled: “I had a lot of pressure on me to see what I was going to do next.
“That was heartbreaking, and I was going through a lot personally at the time. My marriage broke down and I lost my record deal. I essentially had to start again.”
Alesha was dropped by her record label after her first two solo singles, Lipstick and Knockdown only charted at No 14 and No 45[/caption]
But in 2007, Alesha was handed a lifeline when she signed as a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing.
She danced her way to the Glitterball trophy with the help of professional Matthew Cutler and is still regarded as one of the BBC1 show’s best competitors.
She said: “It was like I had empowered myself and I almost took the control back again. Because prior to winning the show I felt at a loss and was not happy in myself.
“There were so many other things going on underneath the surface.
In 2007 Alesha won Strictly Come Dancing with her professional partner Matthew Cutler[/caption]
“But I got through. When I won the show, I had this feeling that everything was going to be OK.
“The experience was a form of escapism for me — it was like turning a corner, entering a new chapter.
“What did I learn from Strictly? I learned that I never want to be a victim.”
Such was her ability on the dancefloor, Alesha landed a job on the Strictly judging panel in 2009.
Alesha now sits on the BGT judging panel alongside David Walliams, Amanda Holden and Simon Cowell[/caption]
She stayed for two series before moving to BGT, where she now sits alongside Simon, 59, Amanda, 48, and 47-year-old David.
Alesha — who reportedly pocketed £7,000-a-second for recording a short voiceover for Marks & Spencer’s self-checkouts as well as a bonus of £100,000 for taking part in the ad campaign — says filming can be gruelling and she often does not make it home until after midnight.
To unwind after a long day she watches telly or writes children’s stories.
She said: “On days with heavy filming commitments I’ll get home around half twelve. I’ll make some food and relax with a box set. If I’m feeling inspired, I can write until 2am.”
Alesha reportedly pocketed £7,000-a-second for recording a short voiceover for Marks & Spencer’s self-checkouts this month[/caption]
Earlier this year, Alesha also found time to present the Beeb’s new talent contest, The Greatest Dancer.
She credits part of her success to husband Azuka, who she knew for more than a decade before they married in 2017, and their daughter.
Following her “embarrassment” at the very public breakdown of her first marriage, Alesha decided to keep the pregnancy a secret until she was six months gone — even while filming BGT.
She later explained: “My partner and mum knew but I didn’t tell anyone else in the family.
“No one at Britain’s Got Talent knew, although they must have suspected because my dresses had to be altered every week.”
Alesha, who wakes at 7am to get Azura ready for school before BGT filming, said: “I’m definitely a more sensible human being since becoming a mother.
“I’m not as reckless. But the most important thing Azura’s done is re-motivate me.
“After she was born, I suddenly felt this wave of, ‘Now you’ve got to up your game even more’.
Alesha knew husband Azuka for more than a decade before they married in 2017[/caption]
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“I want her to see me doing all these amazing things, opening up the world for her so she can see what is possible.
“I have had many ups and downs over the past ten years but I don’t dream or worry about the past.
“The past no longer has any power over me. I have come to terms with it and I focus on the now.”
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