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In 2009, Susan Boyle took the stage on Britain’s Got Talent in front of judges Piers Morgan, Amanda Holden, and, of course, legendary hard-nose Simon Cowell, and introduced herself to the world as an unlikely musical legend. "I’m trying to be a professional singer," she said matter-of-factly, amidst laughter and jeers, before launching into a stunning rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Miserables. Everyone in the house about fell over themselves trying give her a standing O. History, as they say, had been made.
After stunning the world and gob-smacking all three judges, Boyle’s career was launched — and heading for the stars. The Scottish daughter of a miner and a shorthand typist was a multi-millionaire within the year, according to the International Business Times. So why, then, have we heard so little about what the vocal powerhouse is up to these days? Here’s the real reason we don’t hear about Susan Boyle anymore.
Susan Boyle’s Asperger’s diagnosis
Throughout Susan Boyle‘s entire life, she was told she was "brain damaged," according to The Guardian — not an easy burden to shoulder, especially for a child. "I always knew it was an unfair label," she revealed. We definitely agree!
So what finally helped her ditch the moniker "Simple Susie," which people had called her since she was a kid? Turns out all she needed was proper therapeutic attention. "I went to seek a diagnosis from a Scottish specialist," she continued. He told her that she has Asperger’s Syndrome — not brain damage. So not only did she finally get some real answers, but also some needed validation: tests confirmed that her IQ was above average.
Boyle is hopeful that the diagnosis will help others comprehend her in a more meaningful fashion. "I think people will treat me better because they will have a much greater understanding of who I am and why I do the things I do," she added. Way to pave the way for others, too!
Susan Boyle struggled with the loss of her sister, father, and mother
Susan Boyle’s mega-famous now, but that doesn’t diminish the fact that she was struggling long before she knocked Piers Morgan’s socks off. By then she’d endured some serious losses. For one, her father passed away in 1999, followed by her sister Kathleen in 2000, according to People magazine. So the singer is no stranger to grief. But one of Boyle’s biggest losses was the death of her mother in 2007, who she both cared for and adored. "I felt a part of me had died with her," she revealed in an interview with The Guardian.
Compound that with the fact that she was unemployed at her debut (as the caption on Britain’s Got Talent blatantly broadcast) and she was facing some real hardships. "I was also in danger of losing our family home because I wasn’t working," she continued. Despite the losses Boyle endured, she still feels the support of her loved ones, especially her mother. "I truly believe that she was the angel on my shoulder that day," she said of her groundbreaking audition.
Susan Boyle’s older sister died from cancer
In 2015, Susan Boyle dealt with yet another painful passing — her older sister, who was called Birdie by her loved ones, succumbed to cancer, according to The Mirror. And even though Birdie was 73 at the time of her passing, it was still unexpected. Boyle, who was devastated, said that it was an extremely low point for her.
But Boyle continues to remember the impact her sister had on her, including the fact that Birdie kept her humble. "She was honest and helped me throughout my life and during my career," she shared. "She wasn’t afraid to tell me I was getting too big for my boots." That’s some legit big sister advice. No wonder she misses her so much! After that, Boyle took a bit of a break, putting the album she was working on hold so she could take some time to breathe.
Susan Boyle had a public feud with her brother over money
Back in 2016, Susan Boyle caused a bit of a stir when she had a very public meltdown at Heathrow airport, according to The Telegraph. That’s when officers were dispatched to the scene, responding to reports of a woman in distress. While her outburst was due to her Asperger’s syndrome, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise: During that meltdown she left a distressing voicemail for her brother, Gerry, who she hadn’t spoken to in over two years.
He frantically called her back, and left a message with her aides, according to The Mirror. The brother and sister previously had a falling out over money, as family members claimed he threatened to kill himself if she didn’t give him approximately $60,000. Talk about family drama. But there was a happy ending, as Boyle returned the call the next day, and hopped into a taxi to go see him. The pair were then reunited at his home, where she was able to reconnect with him — and eventually meet Gerry’s baby grandson. "It has been great to pick up the pieces," he shared.
Susan Boyle got her first real boyfriend at the age of 53
They say it’s never too late to find love, right? That’s certainly true for Susan Boyle, who at age 53 entered her first real romantic relationship, according to The Daily Mail. And while she briefly had a boyfriend back in her 20s, that relationship pretty much stopped before it began. Turns out her dad didn’t think she was ready for romance, so he ended it. And while it hurt at the time, Boyle isn’t mad about it anymore. "He didn’t think I was mature enough to have a relationship, and I don’t think I was either," she revealed. Sometimes papa really does know best, huh?
Boyle finally got a second chance at romance in 2014, when she became smitten with an American doctor who was "the perfect gentleman," according to The Sun (via People). And while everyone was hopeful for her, it didn’t work out in the end, according to The Daily Mail, as Boyle felt "it just wasn’t practical." Someday, SuBo!
Susan Boyle wanted to adopt a child
Susan Boyle comes from a large, Roman Catholic family — according to The Guardian, she’s the youngest of nine siblings! Can you imagine what it was like clamoring for the bathroom in the morning before school growing up at their house? Given that, it’s not surprising that the rumors are true: she wants to create a family of her own. Specifically, she wants to adopt.
"I want to adopt a child who doesn’t have much, who I can really give something to," she told the Scottish Sunday Mail (via The Daily Mail). That’s because, while she says she can’t have children, she has a lot of love to give, and wants to truly give back. "I want to give a youngster what I didn’t have," she continued. That’s truly noble of her. And while Boyle faces some obstacles, her intentions are pure. "We’ll have to see what social services say, but it would make me so happy," she added.
Susan Boyle still lives in her family’s modest home, out of the public eye
Despite Susan Boyle’s impressive wealth, she’s not in the market for Maseratis and mansions. Instead, Boyle opted to remain in her family home with her cat, according to Forbes magazine. If there has ever been anything more wholesome in this world, we’re not aware of it.
And just when you think it can’t get better, it does. In 2015, Boyle did decide to expand her property empire, but not in the way that you might think. Rather, she purchased the property next door, with the intention of combining the two plots together to create her legit dream home, according to The Daily Mail. Our money’s on the kitty having the sunniest spot in the house.
The singer did own a nearly $400,000 villa that her friends dubbed the "posh house" for a while, according to The Daily Mail, but she preferred her childhood home.
Susan Boyle has a tough time off stage
Susan Boyle handles herself beautifully on stage — remember the way she sassed back at Simon Cowell’s eye roll? Total legend right there. But despite her confident stage presence, Boyle has a tough time staying composed when she’s out of spotlight due to her Asperger’s Syndrome. "Off stage, [my bad behavior] happens lots," she confessed in an interview with The Daily Mail. In fact, sometimes it’s so bad that she says she’s "the only artist who needs a leash," and has described herself as "King Kong’s mother." Sounds like she can really be a handful!
Fortunately, Boyle is getting better at learning how to deal with her negative emotions. "I’m getting better at dealing with it because I know what it is," she continued. "Since the diagnosis I’ve learned strategies for coping with it and the best one is always to just walk away." That’s some wisdom we all could use from time to time.
Susan Boyle’s so successful, she doesn’t actually need to work
Just how lucrative is Susan Boyle’s musical empire? For one, her debut album I Dreamed A Dream, named for the song that made her a legend, earned the top spot on the Billboard charts in 2009, according to The New York Times. It was also the most popular album worldwide that year, with over 8 million sales. Way to go, SuBo!
Boyle dropped her second album in 2010, entitled The Gift, which generated nearly $4 million in sales and went platinum, according to The Guardian. The album was number one in both the UK and the US at the same time that year — the same thing happened with Boyle’s debut album, making it the second time she unlocked this achievement in the same year. This is huge because it’s something only The Beatles and The Monkees have done before her, and she’s the first woman to have ever attained that accomplishment. Talk about shattering the glass ceiling! Numerous albums have followed, too.
Altogether, Boyle’s total net worth has been estimated to be around $33 million, which means she’ll likely never have to work for money again. That’s well deserved, given where she started.
Susan Boyle has lost weight for her health
Like nearly everyone these days, Susan Boyle has struggled with her weight and health, according to The Sun. In fact, back in 2014, her doctors gave her a new diagnosis that meant she had to focus on losing weight: type 2 diabetes. Boyle had to get serious about her wellness after that, even though it wouldn’t be fun. "I needed to stop eating sweeties and cakes," she admitted to the magazine. "It’s the bane of my life." We’re definitely not judging as this is an entirely relatable predicament!
Rather than run from the problem, Boyle listened to her doctors and put in the hard work needed to improve her prognosis. That’s how she was able to lose nearly 30 pounds — no doubt that pleased her doctors. Boyle added that she had considered sending a picture of her slimmer figure to the American doctor when they were a thing "if he’s a good boy." Hubba hubba!
Susan Boyle’s working to stay relevant
Susan Boyle has continued to put her perfect pipes to work over the years. Her seventh album, A Wonderful World, was released in 2016 — impressive!
The record features a variety of tunes such as classics like "When You Wish Upon A Star." Additionally, there are two duets: she paired up with singer-songwriter Michael Bolton for a contemporary rendition of "Somewhere Out There," and sang with legend Nat King Cole’s vocals on "When I Fall In Love" — and the latter was something truly special. "As the first British artist to have been able to perform a duet with Nat King Cole’s vocals, it’s a real honor," she gushed in a press statement (via Vents magazine).
On top of that, she covered another top song by a longtime fave of hers: Madonna. "Anyone who knows me knows I’m a huge Madonna fan and to be able to perform ‘Like A Prayer’ was a real highlight," she continued.
In 2019, Boyle released the album TEN, marking the tenth anniversary of her debut album, I Dreamed a Dream. The record included previously released music along with a few new songs.
Susan Boyle hired a tutor to learn how to play the piano
Although Susan Boyle is obviously most well-known for her stunning mezzo soprano voice, she decided to diversify a bit when it came to her musical endeavors. That’s why she started taking piano lessons in 2012, according to The Scottish Sun magazine. And she didn’t hire a pianist to the stars, or import a maestro from across the pond, either. Rather, she hired a local piano tutor in her native Blackburn, West Lothian, and started practicing.
Boyle debuted her new skills at a 2014 show in Leicester, according to the Edinburgh Evening News. She tickled the ivories while performing her favorite song, "Who I Was Born to Be" — on her 53rd birthday, no less! And according to her spokesperson, the audience loved seeing her showcase her new skills. "The reaction from her fans has been incredible," he gushed. That’s one more dream realized!
Susan Boyle still fears one day not being able to pay her bills
Despite Susan Boyle’s overwhelming success, she hasn’t forgotten where she came from — and how difficult it was. "I’ve been there, sitting in the dark, unable to pay the bills after my mother died and before I went on Britain’s Got Talent," the star recalled in an interview with The Sunday Post. "My biggest fear is going back to that." That’s totally understandable.
The memories of her more impoverished days are what inspire her to spend only modestly and live a relatively humble lifestyle. "My goals are simple now," she continued. "To have good friends and family around me and enjoy some of the money I have earned within reason and ensure I never have to worry about paying my gas and electric again." Girl has it together! Something tells us that SuBo doesn’t need to stress about keeping the lights on ever again.
Susan Boyle has been a victim of bullying
In 2017, Susan Boyle opened up about another personal matter that has been the cause of great pain for her: she’s been the victim of bullying. A small pack of teenagers has been terrorizing her where she lives, in the neighborhood where she grew up. "They have been shouting at me, taunting, saying vile things, swearing," she lamented to The Daily Mail. "And on one occasion they were throwing things at the bus I was sitting on." How horrible!
This isn’t a new phenomenon, either, as Boyle said that it’s been going on for years. "There have been generations through the years who have done similar things to me and said similar things," she continued. But despite the renewed attacks, Boyle is hopeful for the future, as the bullies always end up apologizing when they grow up and realize what they’ve done is wrong. That seems like a truly mature way to handle it.
Susan Boyle wants to live up to her fans’ expectations
Unlike some celebs who don’t think much about their fans’ expectations, Susan Boyle is committed to her fan base and cares deeply what they think, even when she’s keeping a low profile. "Like any artist, I worry about people still liking me, I worry about going stale," she confessed in an interview with The Daily Mail. Additionally, Boyle acknowledges that she has a role to play, as people have expectations of her. "They see me as a pillar of society and I don’t want to let them down." No pressure, right?
Even though Boyle sees herself "’sitting in a rocking chair with a coal fire and a cat" in several years (#goals), she has no plans to stop singing. "In my book, retirement is a dirty word," she affirmed, showing fans that they have nothing to fear. Indeed we definitely haven’t heard the last from the mezzo soprano yet!
Susan Boyle is behind the scenes
Even though Susan Boyle shines like the star she is on stage, she’s actually quite busy behind the scenes as well. That’s because she’s the boss in charge of the not one, not two, but three companies who manage her millions, according to The Daily Mail. That would certainly eat up a large chunk of her time, given all the work it takes running an empire of that size! Who runs the world? Girls!
Boyle, along with her trusted manager Andy Stephens, took control of her brand in 2011. Initially the companies were being run by her niece Kirsty Foy, along with Ossie Kilkenny, the celeb accountant who helped make the Irish rock band U2 into seriously wealthy men. But that arrangement was terminated when Boyle took the reins and put herself in charge of her own destiny. It’s always nice to see a woman taking control of her money.
Susan Boyle had an impressive run on America’s Got Talent: The Champions
After a years-long radio silence, it was announced that Susan Boyle would be returning to the stage in America’s Got Talent: The Champions, according to an article in The Scottish Sun in September 2018. That gave Boyle the chance to reunite with shade king Simon Cowell, who apparently has zero shade for the Scottish singer. "Simon was delighted Susan agreed to come back," a source told the magazine. In addition to Cowell, Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum, and Mel B also judged the competition.
While Boyle indeed had an impressive run, making it all the way into the final rounds, she was eliminated before she could be crowned champion, according to an article in the Independent. And in the end, it was magician Shin Lim who won the competition on the heels of winning the regular version of the show just six months prior.
But Boyle and all of Camp SuBo have a lot to be proud of, as she bested the vast majority of the other 49 competitors. That’s a huge honor!
Susan Boyle pulled out of Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions
After her moderately successful run on America’s Got Talent: The Champions, Susan Boyle was slated to appear on Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions back across the pond. But in the late summer of 2019, Boyle announced that she was withdrawing from the competition due to time constraints. "I couldn’t fit everything in just scheduling," she explained in an interview with the Lorraine Show. "I would have done it but it’s just the way things were." That’s understandable, given all of the things that Boyle has planned.
While fans of Boyle might be disappointed that she won’t be gracing the stage once again in front of the judges in 2019, Simon Cowell doesn’t think it’s a bad thing that she’s not going to appear. "I don’t think she should have done it this year," he revealed on the Lorraine Show (via Express). "She did AGT Champions and … if this does well, we’ll do it again next year and it will be an annual event. So you’ve got to save something." Sounds like we’ll be seeing more of Boyle in the future!