Susan Boyle’s turbulent life as she turns 60 – family tragedy to secret romance

Britain’s Got Talent star Susan Boyle is one of the most iconic reality show contestants of all time, having wowed audiences around the world with her incredible singing voice when she appeared on the show back in 2009.

The I Dreamed A Dream singer turns 60 years old today, and it's been almost 12 years since she left Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden and Piers Morgan in a state of shock on the ITV show with her vocal skills.

She's since gone on to become a global superstar and has performed at numerous venues around the world.

However, the Scottish native has firmly kept her feet on the ground despite being worth a reported £22million.

Daily Star has taken a look back into Susan's life after finishing second to dance troupe Diversity on the ITV talent show.

Singing sensation

Scottish native Susan touched millions of people across the world with her heart-wrenching rendition of Les Miserables ballad I Dream A Dream back in 2009.

Britain's Got Talent Judges Simon, Piers and Amanda were all gobsmacked when they first heard her sing for the first time 12 years ago.

Despite not winning the competition, she went on to have a successful singing career with her debut album becoming the UK's best selling album of all time.

Her second, The Gift, also headed straight to the top of the charts due to her popularity from the show.

From 2011 to 2014 she continued to quietly release an album each year but largely retreated from the spotlight.

Susan took an official break in 2015, announcing that she wanted to "take a little me time and spend time at home with family and friends."

Since then, apart from an appearance on America’s Got Talent: The Champions in 2019, the rarely-seen star has continued to live under the radar.

Council house glow up

Despite selling more than 25 million records worldwide, Susan still lives in her childhood home in West Lothian and has remained largely out of the limelight.

She paid £111,000 to own the semi-detached ex-council house next door too, to create her dream home.

Her attachment to the property was too strong to part with, and she prefers the familiar surroundings to a posh mega mansion.

She once paid £300,000 for a brand-new five-bedroom house but found it hard to settle in so moved her niece in and moved back to her original home.

She previously told OK! magazine: "It’s to do with the memories of your house and your upbringing, you need to take stock of things and maybe see where you come from and where your roots lie."

"It’s best to be grounded and with your roots. It keeps you grounded and prevents you from saying things maybe you shouldn't say."

The singer remains an active member of her local church and is often seen wandering around the streets of her hometown.

Sister's tragic death

Susan's older sister Bridig 'Bridie' McCaw suddenly passed away in 2015 after a short battle with cancer.

The 73-year-old was close to Susan, who is the youngest of nine siblings.

The singing superstar was forced to take time out of her busy schedule to allow time to grieve following the bereavement.

Bridie was named after their doting mother Bridget, who passed away in 2007.

She was said to have encouraged SuBo to follow her dreams of becoming a singer after watching her sway along in time to records as a baby.

When Susan met singing icon Neil Diamond at the Glasgow Hydro, she made sure to get a signed programme for Bridie, who was also a huge fan.

He wrote: "To Bridie, sorry to hear you are sick – I still love you though."

Healed rift with brother

Susan went two-and-a-half years without speaking to her brother Gerry after rumours emerged that he'd threatened to take his own life if she didn't give him £50,000.

It has been reported that she's given her sibling £400,000 over the years but he became unhappy when she refused to cut ties with the family members who had made the claims.

Susan and Gerry have been on good terms since 2016 when Gerry rushed to her side when she found herself embroiled in a row with staff at Heathrow Airport.

Gerry said at the time: "I’d never heard her sound so down on the phone. I was really concerned. She didn’t sound like she was in a good place.

"We hadn’t spoken for two and a half years but when all is said and done I am her brother. I realised how sad it was that we didn’t speak – and that it shouldn’t be that way."

Gerry and Susan now speak every day and reports suggest that she often has dinner with him and his wife Lesley at their home in Musselburgh, East Lothian.

The reconciliation was complete when she met Gerry’s seven-month-old grandson Alfie, the son of his only child, Darren, 27.

Secret romance with handsome doctor

Susan's first romantic relationship was with American doctor who she met in a hotel while on tour.

However, things didn't develop and the singer has previously hinted that marriage is off the cards.

In a chat with The Lady magazine, Susan said: "I did have a gentleman friend, a doctor.

"We went for lunch but I didn't tell anyone.

"But if I had a man friend it would be purely platonic – I've been on my own too long now to get married."

Susan has never married and previously opened up to The Sun about the regret she feels over not having any children of her own.

She has revealed in the past that she'd love to one day foster children and share her "lovely” home.

“When things quieten down a bit I would like to get into fostering," she told the publication.

"I love kids. I’ve never had any of my own, that’s my biggest regret, but I love kids. They’re good fun to be with."

Body transformation

In 2016, Susan revealed she'd dropped two stone after being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

She looked fit and healthy after shedding the pounds, proudly showing off her old trousers.

The Scottish star told The Mirror at the time: "I needed to stop eating sweeties and cakes. It’s the bane of my life.”

Doctors told Susan that diabetes could prevent her from performing live again.

Speaking on Lorraine in 2019, she said: "I’m feeling a lot better now.

"I had moments where I needed help, and I reached out and I got the help I needed.”

Shy millionaire

Susan, affectionally known as SuBo, has reportedly made over £22million over her career but she's not one to flash her cash.

She previously told Piers Morgan that she lives off a humble £300-500 weekly allowance.

The Sun revealed last year that her four companies made a whopping £2million in 2019.

Her main company Duil Limited generated over £1.2million, while two other firms Speur Business banked £463,000 and Speur Ltd cashed in £127,000, up from £22,500 the year before.

A fourth company, Speur Films, which was set up to deal with funds from a Hollywood film about her life banked £91,000, amid news a TV company picked up the rights to her biography at the end of last year.

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However, it appears that the money has brought problems to the Boyle family.

Susan's lawyer niece Kirsty ran her financial affairs for two years.

The singer reportedly gave £30,000 to a nephew for a fashion business venture, despite Gerry and other siblings claiming some nieces and nephews had not spoken to Susan for years before she found fame and did not have her best interests at heart.

  • Britains Got Talent

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