Singer Rebecca Ferguson has not had an easy couple of years, but she has come back stronger – with an album and tour to boot.
The 30-year-old Liverpudlian moved to Paris earlier this year after falling in love with the city over several visits over the years – and is settling in a treat.
“I’ve got all artistic since I moved here, galleries and all that,” says Rebecca, who shot to fame after finishing as runner-up on the 2010 series of hit TV talent show The X Factor.
“I came over with my mate and felt really happy. I’ve never felt like that about anywhere else, so I knew it was the right thing to do.”
After what she has been through over the past few years, no-one could begrudge Ferguson a bit of happiness.
“I was pregnant with my daughter, and I was rejected. He said he didn’t want me or the baby,” she says, recalling the catalyst to a challenging period in her life.
Rebecca, who already had two children, Lillie May and Karl, from a previous relationship , has never named the father of her daughter, Arabella, now almost two. He also broke the news he had another girlfriend at the same time as abandoning her.
While she is matter-of-fact talking about it today, she is not afraid to admit it was very hard at the time.
“I’d never been through anything like that before,” she says. “My hormones were all over the place. I was a mess and had a nervous breakdown.”
While this was happening, Ferguson was in the middle of recording, and later promoting, her album of Billie Holiday covers, Lady Sings The Blues.
“No-one knew what I was going through,” she says, “and I was dragging myself to work every day. It was a proper chore.”
After the covers album, Ferguson says she was itching to write some songs of her own, and doing so also proved hugely cathartic; she thinks getting her thoughts down in lyrics helped set her on her road to recovery.
“Just being honest and getting those feelings down was important,” she says. “It felt empowering to talk about it, and to carry on talking about it. I think it can give people hope too, if they’re going through similar, and I like the thought of that.
“There are so many children born and rejected, and no-one talks about it. It’s brushed under the carpet so often, but I don’t think that issue should be forgotten – no matter how a child has come into the world, they should be celebrated.
“It can be uncomfortable, admitting that someone has been abandoned, or someone has left, but honesty is always the best way.”
And there was no way she was going to cover up things, and sugar-coat what was happening in her personal life, by saying the album was merely about female empowerment.
“It’s not pretty,” she says, “but I’m here to say you will get through it if it happens to you.”
Superwoman, the album’s title track, sums up how Ferguson feels, and how proud she is that she managed to get through it all, and turn the experience into a positive.
Another track, Don’t Want You Back, is a defiant jibe at the nameless abandoner.
“There was so much I didn’t understand about the business when I came into it,” she says, referring to her X Factor experience.
“I was a sweet girl who thought everyone was nice and out to help her. I didn’t think people viewed me as a business, but once I got on to that, I took control of it and now I understand it all, and more than anything I want to maintain my dignity.”
As for her children, they definitely keep her feet on the ground.
“They’ll tell me if they don’t like something,” Ferguson says, happily. “And it doesn’t matter what I’m singing or how well I’m doing, if they want their tea, then I’m not a singer and album sales don’t count - I’m just their mum.”
Rebecca’s new album, Superwoman, is out now.
She plays Sheffield City Hall tomorrow, Friday November 11. For tickets, priced from £22.50, visit www.sheffieldcityhall.co.uk