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22.11.02

TV ENTERTAINMENT


Michael Parkinson meets Charlotte Church, BBC ONE, Saturday 23 November at 10.45pm


International singing sensation Charlotte Church talks exclusively to Michael Parkinson about her relationship with her mother, secret smoking, being a millionaire and falling in love.


In a frank and honest interview with Michael Parkinson, 16 year old Welsh vocalist Charlotte Church puts the record straight on a number of recent 'sensational' stories about her.


Dressed in a sophisticated white suit with black bustier and ornate cross-necklace, Charlotte also sings a beautiful rendition of Bridge Over Troubled Water.


Michael asks Charlotte about the negative publicity she has received in the last few months, in particular, the story that she has 'fired' her mother as her manager.


Charlotte answers, "That's not true. My mum was never my manager. She's still involved in my career but just at a lesser level because that's what my whole family decided."


She continues, "I was growing more independent and [my family] wanted to give me a bit more freedom."


Charlotte describes her relationship with her mother when she says, "Mum's more like my sister because she's so young and so gorgeous - and she borrows all my clothes."


Michael then asks Charlotte how she felt about being caught smoking by a photographer.


Charlotte states, "I got a lot of hassle for it. I don't smoke and as soon as my mother found out, she went mad. My whole family just went (in very shrill voice) 'what are you doing, you're a singer.' So I stopped straightaway because I knew my life was in danger - from my family that is!"


She continues, "I was trying it because that's what 16 year olds do. At least I'm not doing the whole showbiz star thing and all that kind of stuff… it's hard, it's confusing being a teenager."


This leads the interview to the subject of Charlotte's boyfriend, who has been labelled a 'bad-boy' by the press.


Michael asks Charlotte what she thinks about the stories. She answers, "The press couldn't print 'Charlotte's going out with a nice boy.' He's really, really lovely and we get on really well. And the stories that he's a bad boy, and he does this and he does that are just not true."


Michael then asks the singer if it's true that he tried to sell his story about their relationship. Charlotte replies, "I don't believe he did that."


She continues, "Nobody else knows him. I know him well and I just think the press can say things to make someone react. I was in LA and it was really distressful for me at the time. I was freaking out, but I really don't think he did that. I know all his family and they seem like really nice people. I've asked him, and he's said 'I just wouldn't do that to you, blah blah blah.'"


She pauses and then says, "Maybe I'm just young, and being naive, being in love and all that good stuff but I don't believe it. But maybe it will come back and bite me on my bum."


Michael then asks her if she is in love with her boyfriend. Charlotte giggles and says, "I don't know! I'm only little. I think so, I think so. It's the strongest I've ever felt but then I’ve only had 16 years of experience."


Michael jokes back, "I think you'll get over it," and then says "But that's a terribly patronising thing to say." Charlotte replies, "No, it's OK. You're older than me, you're allowed to be!"

Michael asks Charlotte if her mother approves of the singer's relationship. She replies, "No not really. But there are so many parents who don't agree with their daughter's boyfriends. And I accept it because there are fantastic sides of fame and downsides of fame so I do accept it … the pressures sort of blow up my situation, so they make it much more than it is. When it's not really anything bad - I've got a boyfriend."


She continues, "My mum's worried for me. She’s really protective."


Charlotte then explains that she won't allow her fame to 'dictate' the way she lives.


She tells Michael, "I always said that when I became famous that whatever the press said that I would live my life the way I wanted to live my life, and not let them dictate how I had to live [it] and having to keep my nose clean the whole way through. I wasn't going to be like that. Even if it means my career forfeits, I still want to live my life as a person, and not just as a singer."


She continues, "[Singing] does mean the world to me, I love singing, but there are so many things I still want to do. I want to travel, I want to meet loads of people and I don't want fame to dictate how I live."


Michael then asks Charlotte about her wealth. He says he has heard stories that she is worth £15 million.


Charlotte laughs, "Oh no, that's just paper money! It's all in a trust fund."


She continues, "Even when I reach 21, I want to keep it in a trust fund so if I had a boyfriend and I wanted to give my boyfriend a million quid, the trust wouldn't let me. I would have to justify why I want to do that and how it would be beneficial for me so there's always someone who's looking after it so I don't screw it up."


And if she had the money now, what would she spend it on? "Lots and lots of clothes, make up and shoes!"


Charlotte then tells Michael how the rumours about her buying her boyfriend a £40,000 car are untrue. She says, "It's a lie. I don't get my money until I'm 21. My mum doesn't approve of this boy and so she's going to let me buy a £40,000 car? I don't think so! It's his father's car and it's been sitting outside his house for eight years."


Michael then asks Charlotte if she gets more privacy when she is working in the USA. The singer replies, "The American press report news rather than gossip - you only have the National Enquirer or things like that. There's more privacy, because there are 250 million people and not many people recognise you. But in Cardiff where there's 250,000 people, everybody recognises me. I have quite a lot of privacy in America."


Michael then congratulates Charlotte on the success of her GCSEs and asks her if she has considered further education.


The singer tells him, "I do really want to go to university. I'm not sure whether I want to go to it in America or here, because I love Britain."


She continues, "I like America, but I love Britain because it's home and I'm not sure if I could move from here. But I am seriously considering going to university to study clinical psychology or philosophy."


Having spent much of her career travelling to the US, Charlotte has sung in front of two Presidents.


Michael asks her what she thought of Presidents Clinton and Bush. Charlotte says of Clinton, "He was really cool. Really talkative, really warm and easy to get along with."


She continues, "Sometimes when you meet really important people, you just freeze up. What am I supposed to say to the Pope? 'Nice day isn’t it?' You just don't know what to say to these people.


"They have no interest in me whatsoever - they're looking after what Russia's doing or your Afghanistan and they just don't want to meet me. But Clinton was really easy to get along with."


She says of President Bush, "He was really nice, but he just wasn't as comfortable as President Clinton, so President Clinton was my favourite."


Charlotte also jokes with Michael about one of the times she met Prime Minister Tony Blair.


She tells the host, "I've met him quite a few times and he's always been really, really nice to me. I'm 16, I haven’t got any right to vote, and I have to pay 40% tax.


"I know loads of people in the audience will say 'oh so you should' but I don't even have the right to vote. So I just said to him 'I think it's really wrong that people under 18 who don't have the right to vote and don't have the right to do a lot of things have to pay tax' and he just kind of went 'haha'."


Michael Parkinson's other guests in the studio are veteran broadcaster Michael Aspel and legendary singer Lionel Richie, who also performs a medley of his greatest hits including Hello, Easy and All Night Long.


Parkinson, BBC ONE, Saturday 23 November at 10.45pm


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