"No, a year ago I didn't feel too good about things anymore. My career didn't go too well, I went through a personal crisis and I'd become very fat. I didn't care. I felt very lonely in London, surrounded by fake people. After ten years in the business I'd started to believe the stupid myth. I didn't understand well enough that there was a life beside one in showbizz." The English singer Kim Wilde talks about a deep personal crisis she went through and how she survived.
For a moment, Kim Wilde (31) was destined to become a Mae-West-ish diva, looking back on her golden days as a love blonde for many years to come.
She was only twenty-one when she made her international breakthrough with the American number one hit "Kids in America". After that she scored hit after hit, toured with Michael Jackson and on the highest point of her fame Kim was burdened with a diva-like image which didn't have much to do with her own self.
After ten heavy years at the pop forefront, Kim has reached a turning point in her career, even her life. When we speak with her during the promotion of 'Love is' in a hotel in Hilversum, she has lost quite a bit of weight in comparison with a little over a year ago. Despite the fact that she's passed the age of 30 now, Kim has a girlish attractiveness, of which she is apparently not conscious herself. Some eight years ago a couple of bodyguards protected her from the 'normal' artists at NCRV's "Los Vast" concert in de Kuip, now the beautiful singer sits across the table, eating tomato soup.
"I have been crazy", she says. "Last year I was totally stressed out. My record had bombed, I'd made a mess of my private life, and no-one dared to tell me I wasn't 21 anymore and I had to watch out what I was eating and drinking. Man, I ate so much, it's unbelievable. I became as fat as a pig and I didn't care anymore.
I seriously considered calling it a day. I wondered if there was any sense in releasing yet another record. I just didn't care anymore. I lived in London. I don't believe I've ever been any lonelier than that. A strange scene. I don't enjoy pubs, don't go clubbing. I hate it when people behave differently under the influence of alcohol. So I sat alone at home, surrounded by people who weren't really my friends. The turning point was my move to the countryside. I now live in a cottage, only minutes away from my family."
"I still live alone, I do have a boyfriend, but we prefer to live apart. I feel reborn. I have worked very hard on my mind and body. I was unhappy because I didn't realise that there is a life beside showbizz. I pushed that away from me for ten years. It's almost like a religious experience now that I rediscovered real life. I enjoy every second of the day again. I discovered I have two right hands, I work around the house, I even have my own toolbox - which I use regularly. And then there's the garden...
No, I've got no problems with living alone anymore. The house is well protected and I'm not a scared person generally.
"One time I went through something bad. I left the studio and for twenty minutes my car was followed by a couple of people. I really told them off. I can get very, very mad if people think they can claim you just because you're a star. When I close the gate behind me, I want to distance myself from showbizz. Then I'm alone with my cat.
"During the past year I've also worked hard on my body. No, I don't follow a strict diet. I eat whatever I like and I drink every now and again, but I have taken on a strict fitness program. Besides that, I have stopped bleaching my hair with peroxyde. It's turning into my own colour now and I feel better because of that. I used to agressively comb the lot with lots of gel, but now that it falls more naturally, I generally feel more relaxed. I led a very 'safe' existance during the past few months.
"We worked on this record in peace and quiet, and wanted to wait with recording until we felt that we had reached an artistic peak. I wanted to do the best of the best for this record. That is why I went to Los Angeles to record it. Love is a recurring them on the album, which is why the first single is called "Love is holy". You must take that in the broadest sense possible. It's related to my feelings which I only now discovered. I don't mind that I'm thirty-one now that I did. The early Kim Wilde was a real stupid girl, a little pitiful too. Do I wonder if I can reach new fans of fourteen, fifteen years old? Why not? Madonna and Michael Jackson succeed in that too. If I don't, that's no problem as well. I feel stronger than ever.
The reality of this job is that I didn't speak with Michael Jackosn once when I was touring with him. I only met him during a press conference. I won't say I don't care if I never score a top ten hit anymore, but I know that there's more to life than my career. I have only just become "human".