Who Is Katherine Jenkins? Meet The ‘Dancing With The Stars’ Frontrunner
First Published: April 4, 2012 3:18 PM EDT Credit: WireImage
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- Katherine Jenkins has quickly become the belle of the “Dancing with the Stars” Season 14 ballroom.
With just three weeks’ worth of routines under her belt, Katherine has shown off a natural affinity for dance, topping the leaderboard with moving and highly musical routines. And with the Welsh beauty coming back week after week, alongside professional Mark Ballas, fans of the show are eager to know more about the classical darling.
While it’s true not many people in America know her very well just yet, in Britain, the 31- year-old is a huge superstar, who has sold over 7 million albums and has performed for both the British Queen and the Pope.
But before she was a classical sensation abroad, the beauty from a small Welsh village called Neath, had a host of smaller profile gigs to pay the bills, including teaching singing, modeling part-time and — to several lucky tourists in the UK’s capitol (check those holiday photos) — serving as a tour guide on the London Eye .
“I used to know it by heart and tried to remember what I said recently, but I’ve forgotten a lot of it,” she previously told UK paper the East Anglian Daily Times, referring to her tour speech. “I did [advanced] history [in high school] and I’m interested in the history of London so I can give you a little bit of why the monuments are there and stuff like that.”
The mezzo-soprano signed what was — at the time — reported to be as the biggest record deal in the history of classical recording, at just 23, worth a reported $1.3 million.
While she’s performed all over the world, showing off her talents, she’s also highly proud of her heritage and even sings a few songs in the Welsh language, including “Dafydd y Garreg Wen,” which means “David, of the White Rock.”
Based in London, the singer is a British tabloid fixture, no doubt in part to her good looks, and her former high profile romance with Welsh TV host Gethin Jones.
“We were engaged,” she told Access Hollywood of her former relationship with the TV presenter. “It’s a big thing. So, I need to take a little bit of time and I think that’s probably why this whole experience has been brilliant so far because I’m having so much fun and laughing a lot with Mark. That’s probably the best way to be dealing with it all.”
The open and revealing star also took America inside her personal pain on Monday’s “Dancing,” when she shared the heartbreak of losing her father, Selwyn, when she was just 15 (he was 70), due to cancer. And during a recent visit to Access Hollywood Live, Katherine said she keeps her beloved father close at all times.
“Every time I sing, and even before I went out and danced [two weeks ago], I always have a little word with him and say, ‘Dad, make me go out and do my best,’” she said.
Katherine is also open about her past, which includes using drugs when she was a student at Royal Academy of Music in London.
She has admitted to using cocaine, ecstasy and marijuana, something she told Piers Morgan (who wrote about it in a 2008 Daily Mail article), was her biggest regret.
And she addressed the topic with Access recently.
“I definitely did my student days and went out and partied and did all of that,” she told Access. “I’m kind of glad I got that out of the way and that feels like such a long time ago, because I got my record contract and everything changed and I work really hard now.”
Katherine said she has maintained focus on her career since it became a real reality with the signing of that contract.
“These are the things you learn from and they make you better and… now I appreciate everything I do. To sing like I do now, I have to be really disciplined and focused and I can do that now because I’ve had that time,” she said.
Copyright 2013 by NBC Universal, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.