FRENCH REVELATION; Rebecca Ferguson is saying au revoir to Britain and moving to France. MARION MCMULLEN finds out about her love affair with Paris.
TYLISH singer Rebecca Ferguson will soon be adding some French dressing to her wardrobe.
SThe former X Factor favourite is busy packing up everything at her London home and putting boxes into storage as she prepares to move across the Channel with her three children.
She even celebrated her 30th birthday last month by tucking into an Eiffel Tower cake.
"I think, turning 30, you know more what you want and I want to challenge myself," explains Rebecca, "new people, new culture. It's all good.
"I want my children to have a really good education and to know different languages and cultures as well. It's bonkers, but I'm very excited. I'm open to the experience."
She laughingly admits she didn't really get to grips with French during her school days in Liverpool, but says she is not fretting too much about the language barrier.
"I can ask for a drink and food and say 'thank Rebecca's voice wowed X Factor judge Simon Cowell you,'" she smiles, "and Paris is just somewhere I have fallen in love with. I have been over several times already this year and I fall more in love with it every time.
"I'm not saying goodbye for good. I don't know how long I'll be there maybe a year or two or maybe longer, but I just love it there."
She says her children Lillie-May and Karl, from her relationship with Karl Dures are very excited about the move and baby Arabella, who turns two later this year, is likely to be talking French before any of them.
Rebecca will not be away from British shores for too long though. She has a new album coming out soon and her rescheduled UK tour dates will kick off in October and see her perform all over the country.
"I can't wait," she says excitedly, "we're going to reveal the title of the album shortly and I've got about another three hours of work to go.
"The studio is about half an hour from home and I normally start work at noon and finish at six so I can spend the morning with the children.
"I've got a mad house at the moment with the school holidays and packing and everything. But I can't wait for people to hear the album and to perform it live as well."
Rebecca was forced to cancel her original concert dates due to recording commitments, but she says she hopes people will think it has been worth the wait.
The X Factor in 2010 first brought the mild-mannered singer to public attention, with her sultry voice stunning Simon Cowell and the other judges.
Rebecca was the series runner-up behind winner Matt Cardle and sang a duet of hit song Beautiful with American star Christina Aguilera.
Since then there have been album successes with Heaven, Freedom and Lady Sings The Blues, but there have also been low points.
She found herself in court last year after a fraud by a woman she considered a family friend saw her lose PS43,000. Rachel Taylor pretended to be a qualified accountant and stole the money from the singer over a period of time. Taylor was sentenced to six months in prison after admitting two counts of fraud.
But the singer, who once dated One Direction's Zayn Malik, is putting the past behind her and planning a brighter future for herself and her family.
She has also been given a royal seal of approval with Prince William telling her he listens to her music while running.
"I'm not sure how big a fan he is," she says modestly, "but I've performed for Prince William twice now. My mum is made up about it all."
So how does the single mum find time to do everything? "Caffeine," she admits with a guilty giggle. "Do they have good coffee in Paris? They do? I can't wait to try it. I'm also writing a Paris journal and I write books and film scripts in my spare time.
"That's my thing. I'd also like to do films and acting. Maybe further down the line. At the moment I need to focus on the album."
Rebecca is certainly full of joie de vivre and says she feels in a much better place these days.
"I'm happy now," she reveals.
"I didn't really enjoy my 20s. I was a bit all over the place.
"Now I'm 30 I feel like I'm more settled and I know what I want and I'm not scared of speaking out and making it happen. "I'm ready for the new challenge of moving to Paris." | Go to rebeccaoficial.com for tour dates.
I can't wait for people to hear the album and to perform it live as well... Rebecca Ferguson on her as-yet- untitled fourth studio album
Rebecca's voice wowed X Factor judge Simon Cowell
Rebecca Ferguson says turning 30 made her keen to take on new challenges
Rebecca on stage