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BONNIE, 50, is the gravel-voiced, Welsh singer best known for songs like It's A Heartache and Total Eclipse Of The Heart. Her new Greatest Hits album is now available on Sanctuary Records. Bonnie and her husband, Robert Sullivan, split their time between Wales and Portugal. She spoke to PETER ROBERTSON...

WHERE are you from originally?

From a village outside Swansea called Skewen. The house is still there.

Does it have a plaque on the wall now?

No. Don't give them any ideas! Actually, I wouldn't mind as I had a great childhood there.

Do you believe the old adage that every Welsh person can sing?

No. You haven't heard my sister-in-law! She loves singing, but she's terrible! But it was inevitable I was going to be able to sing in tune, because there was always music in our house when I was growing up. My Mum had a beautiful opera voice, and you couldn't tell the difference between her and Maria Callas.

Tell us about your present home in Wales?

It's at Mumbles, Swansea, on the Gower Peninsula. We got it on my birthday in 1988. It's a very large house, and we spent two and a half years renovating it. It's beautiful. It's an eight-bedroom house in about four and a half acres and overlooks the sea with gorgeous views. If this house was in London, it would cost about pounds 8million - but it would probably only cost around pounds 4 down here.

Do you need eight bedrooms?

Sometimes every room is full. I've got such a big family that, if I have a big party, everybody tends to stay over. It's like The Waltons here!

Do you have a recording studio at home?

No, but I'm thinking of putting one in the gate-house.

Where do you keep your gold discs?

I don't believe in putting them up everywhere - I think that's a bit naff. But, tucked away in a small alcove in the music-room, I've got the discs on the walls. But it's not like some people's houses where their discs ruin the wood-panelled walls - I think they're mad.

Do you get any fans turning up at your home unexpectedly?

I do, yes. Normally they're from Scandinavia or Germany or Austria. A lot of them come to Wales for holidays hoping to see me.

When and why did you buy your home in Portugal?

In 1978, just after the revolution. I made an album over there, and fell in love with the place. Our home overlooks the sea there as well. I normally spend about six months of the year there.

How well do you speak Portuguese?

I don't! I've been in Portugal all those years, so that's terrible, but everybody speaks English in Portugal. My secretary speaks fluent Portuguese, so he deals with all the bills!

What is it about the sea for you?

It's just wonderful. You wake up in the morning and all you can see is the sea and the sand in front of you. Often the sun is glistening on the sea. When people think of Wales, they think of the mountains and the valleys, but the area around the Gower is absolutely gorgeous.

Do you have any other homes elsewhere?

I have 17 houses in Royal Berkshire. We also have stables and paddocks which we rent out. We've got land for a farm in Portugal, and we've got a home and a farm in New Zealand, although I've never been there. We invest in property all the time.

So when the next Rich Lists are published, you'll be near the top?

Hey, do me a favour... I think the people who go on those lists are mental!
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 14, 2001
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