She was the blonde bombshell who strutted on stage in tight jeans and a man's dinner jacket and opened shows for Michael Jackson at some of the biggest music venues in the world. A decade later she was mowing the lawn in wellies and a pair of gardening gloves - and enjoying every minute of it.
Kim Wilde will be singing her best-known songs again on stage in Birmingham next month for a 1980s pop tour but the green-fingered pop star is at her happiest when she is in the garden of her Herefordshire home. As the first child of 1950s rock & roller Marty Wilde and Joyce Baker from the Vernons Girls, Wilde grew up with music but, family apart, gardening is now her first love.
"If I had to choose between singing and gardening it would have to be gardening. For me a life without working with flowers and plants wouldn't be a life worth living," she said. "I used to worry about what happened to unemployed pop stars but that fear went out of the widow when I took up horticulture. Gardening is the future for me and it's an area in which I'm still learning. But I'm delighted to be a part of Here and Now. I can't quite believe I'm still doing it in the 21st Century when I'm 44, and at first it felt odd to be singing Kids in America, but it still brings the house down."
Wilde, whose first single, Kids in America was an instant success reaching number 2 in the UK singles chart in 1981, recorded ten albums, had a string of international hits and sold more than seven million albums and 12 million singles worldwide. She took a break from the music scene to have a family after she married Hal Fowler in 1996, and they now have two children, Harry, six, and Rose, four.
During her first pregnancy, an old interest in gardening resurfaced and she attended the famous Capel Manor college to learn how to create a garden for her children. A year later she started recording Garden Invaders with the BBC. She has written a book, due out next spring, called Gardening for Children, based on her experiences of working in her garden with her children.
She said: "My first priority is always my children. Juggling work and family can sometimes be difficult and I never seem to have enough hours in the day because I'm finding socks, washing the school uniforms and cleaning football boots. I've had to get the Christmas shopping done and wrapped early because I'm busy with the Here and Now tour until December 18 and then my husband and kids all have birthdays in January. It'll be a whole month of festivities but I love it."
Wilde plans to divide 2005 between family commitments, gardening and music. "I've had a garden design accepted for the Chelsea Flower Show next year so that will take up a lot of time, and I will be performing at some music festivals in Europe during the summer. I haven't had time to write any music in the last few years so I'd like to fit in some time for that this year too."
Kim Wilde will be at the National Exhibition Centre with the Here and Now Tour on December 11.