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MY PAP PICS: NICKI CHAPMAN; `I don't know if I'll ever have any children' The music manager and Pop Idol judge on the notorious Simon Cowell, tea with Tony Blair and starting a family.

Byline: Words: Louise Burke.

With my judge pals

Working on the Pop Idol panel with Simon Cowell, Pete Waterman and Dr Fox was like working with three naughty school boys. I had my hands full, that's for sure. Simon and Foxy would scribble notes to each other if a girl came on who they thought was sexy. Whereas me and Pete would write notes saying, `She's got potential', or `Bit too overbearing'. We were the serious ones. But honestly, the show was great fun to do. We laughed the whole time.

Giggling with Gareth

What a lovely photo. But it was so difficult for me to get into that basque - I had to be shoe-horned in. It's a leather basque by Alexander McQueen and had lots of fancy netting inside. But it did wonders for the cleavage - it went down very well with the husband, I'll tell you that much. Gareth Gates sang on Pop Idol 2 - you wouldn't believe the screams, they were deafening. We were laughing because he couldn't hear me over the noise, we had our own sign language for each other. The screams just took his - and my - breath away.

Being a good auntie

A family outing - I'm holding hands with my nephew Christopher and, you can't see him, but his twin brother, Dougal, is on his other side holding hands with my mum, dressed in the red leather jacket. She looks good doesn't she? We're at the premiere of Ice Age. We're a close family and do lots of things together. I don't have kids of my own, so I like to take my nephews, who are now seven, whenever I can. They both love the camera - you can see how ecstatic Christopher is to be photographed. I think they were born for showbiz. I'm not sure when or if I'll ever have children - it's a decision me and my husband still have to make.

A proper Pop Idol

Look at the cheesy grins on our faces. It was not long after Will Young won Pop Idol, so the fame thing was still pretty new to him. He looks so young there doesn't he? We got ourselves glammed up for the music industry's Ivor Novello Awards, even though it's raining. We are both with the same management company, so we see each other a lot. Will is also doing his own stuff on the side now - like writing, and he's also going to appear in a film. I have a healthy relationship with all of my artists - though I never cross the line and become `friends' with them. I have looked after some of the biggest names in the business like David Bowie, Eric Clapton and Van Morrison, none of whom I speak to now. I think it's best to keep it professional.

Cutting Simon up

Can I just say how fantastic it was to saw Simon Cowell in half? We performed the magic trick for BBC's Children In Need. It was funny, but poor Simon was petrified. I don't think I've ever seen him so nervous. Pete took the trick seriously, and he managed to pull it off without any scrapes. My costume was great. I was wearing the whole shebang - fishnets, heels, frilly short skirt and head dress. When Simon saw me, he couldn't keep his eyes off my boobs. He was like, `Where did they come from?'. I've known Simon since the early 90s from working together. I've learnt you should never take him seriously, as he loves a tongue lashing. And he really plays up to the cameras. Though I think his spats with Paula Abdul on American Idol could be genuine. He found her a bit difficult to work with as she can be a bit too sensitive. Then again, knowing Simon, he probably likes the challenge...

Those spicy girls

It's typical of Mel B and Geri to be squeezing their boobs. They were right trouble makers - and never ones to miss a photo opportunity. I've known the Spice Girls since day one. We were in Japan in this picture doing a performance for Top Of The Pops. It was crazy. Next to these five gorgeous girls, I felt a bit of a heifer. I have short hair too, which I don't really think was a good look. At the time, the girls were really easy to work with. I ran quite a tight ship. Some bands today make so many demands and have huge entourages, but not back then.

Baby face

This was taken when I was three. The pigtails are pretty sweet, but I have the shortest fringe in the world. It looks about an inch long. My mum used to cut my hair herself at home - I had one of those bowl haircuts like everyone else. I hated it. My paisley blue shirt is pretty trendy though, I was ahead of my time obviously. I wasn't an outgoing child - I wasn't ever singing or dancing in front of a camera. But I'm making up for it now. I had a happy childhood growing up in Herne Bay, Kent. I loved horse riding and playing by the sea. I couldn't have asked for better really.

Running with the PM

This was great fun. After I did a mile-run in Birmingham for charity, I was asked whether I'd run near Chequers with Tony Blair. I'm always up for charity events - I've been to Uganda and Ghana with Comic Relief in the past. Tony Blair was pretty damn quick in the race - compared to me. Steve Redgrave was a gentleman. While all the other men dashed off from the starting line as the male competitiveness set in, he held back and kept me company which I thought was nice of him. Afterwards, I had a tour of Chequers, the Prime Minister's home. It was amazing. Tony was a good sport. While he was signing T-shirts, the kids were shouting, `Oi Tone, let me sign yours'. And he did. Tony went way beyond the call of duty that day, and good on him.

The man in my life

Dave, my husband, and I were freezing in this picture. It was during a cold week in January this year, and we'd arrived for a performance of Cirque de Soleil, which was brilliant. I don't get many nights out with Dave, as he travels a lot and I'm busy too. But I don't go to everything I'm invited to. Dave and I have been married for six years, but have known each other for ages. We met at RCA Records where we both used to work and now he's the Vice President at Sony/BMG International. He was after me for two years, before we got together, but I always said no - so he definitely earned points for effort. Dave's a Yorkshire man, really grounded, so he never tolerates any diva-behaviour from me. He's always the first to put me in my place.
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Copyright 2005 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 6, 2005
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