Former Blue bandmember Duncan James has said he's "proud to be gay" after posting an adorable picture of himself cosying up to his Brazilian boyfriend Rodrigo Reis.
The singer explained that he has hidden his sexuality for decades after confirming his new relationship, saying; "Finally, I'm happy in my skin."
The 41-year-old emotionally showed gratitude to his fans for "amazing" support and "love" since he came out.
I posted this pic on my Insta yesterday & couldn’t get over the amazing response, comments and love from people. I didn’t identify as a gay man for many years because of my own issues with coming out, but finally im happy in my skin & this guy next 2 me makes me proud 2 be gay. pic.twitter.com/pXOQjBknFe
Amy made her time in the villa sound extremely positive, noting that it was time to put her mental health first;
"Taking myself out of the villa has made the bad stuff go away and now I only have fond memories of the show," Amy said at the time. "Curtis would not rub anything in my face. We spent 720 hours together, we spent all that amount of time together."
The former air hostess left the villa during dramatic scenes last week, saying to Curtis; "I’m leaving today but it’s a positive thing because I’m going to go and start the rest of my life today."
“This child would be born into the double-barrel club,” the mum added.
Stacey joked that her child will be called "Vinegar Swash-Solomon" as she is currently craving vinegar.
The soon-to-be mum-of-three admitted they’ve thrown a few name suggestions around but they won’t know ‘the one’ until their son or daughter is born.
“We have had some name discussions, but I always think they’re pointless. Unless you’ve got a name that you definitely want to carry down then I’d rather just wait and see what they look like and then decide,” the mum explained.
“We’ve floated some names, but we don’t want to put anything in stone. We just want to wait and see!” she added.
We've all got more than fond memories of tunes such as Gotta Tell You and Always Come Back To Your Love, and soon we'll be hearing brand new music from the versatile singer.
We sat down for a chat with the woman herself, and once our starstruck fever calmed down, we managed to ask her a few questions.
There have been whispers of musical comebacks for many years now, considering her first album Gotta Tell You was released back in 2000 when she was only sixteen-years-old.
While the rest of us were figuring out creative ways to abandon school for a few hours and day-dreaming of Zack Morris from Saved By The Bell, Samantha was making CHUNES.
So why choose now to release her long-awaited album number two? Samantha is a woman of many talents, trying her hand at Masterchef in 2017, as well as appearances in Dancing On Ice and on ITV's Loose Women.
“It’s been in the works for a couple of months, so for me I did Manchester Pride last summer, and I was so blown away by the response. As I was onstage I was literally like, why don’t I have any new music to perform? This is stupid, like it’s ridiculous. I’m one of those people who gets in their own way all the time. Even if I think of doing something, I’ll think of 20 reasons not to do it. I thought, ‘No, enough it enough’. I was afraid to do it again. The timing just feels good, and now I’m seeing that everyone is coming back, I thought, ‘What is going on?’ Hang on a second, I was coming back first!”
Damn right she was. Samantha's popularity with a range of audiences and people of all ages has to be noted, but why do so many listeners seem to relate to her?
“That’s a great question, and I don’t really know the answer. It’s just one of those things, a nostalgia thing. I also think because I was so young when I started, a lot of people literally feel, and they have, like they’ve grown up with me. People have even stopped me in the street to say, ‘Oh hey, how are you?’ as if they know me. I’ve been around for a while, I think there’s that kind of connection where people have really gotten behind me, it’s like I’m a cousin of theirs. It’s that kind of thing, it’s brilliant.”
Samantha still returns home to Dublin fairly regularly, and her little daughter Sage calls it her home too. We wondered if she had stayed up to date on Ireland's current homelessness crisis?
“It’s scandalous, it’s absolutely shocking. That’s why I thought this Just Eat campaign was just such a no-brainer. I’d love if they could double what they did last year, which in itself was incredible. Even especially being home at the minute, and it’s so cold, you just think, ‘Oh my God’, it’s not right. There’s a lot of young kids that are homeless, and it’s heartbreaking. Being a mother now myself, it’s just awful. You never know what goes on in someone’s life, it can happen to anybody, you just never know what kind of bad things could come somebody’s way. It can happen to everybody, and everybody should chip in," she says.
She's partnered up with Just Eat this year for their annual National Takeaway Tuesday to raise funds for the Peter McVerry Trust, who do vital work for the homeless. To date, Just Eat customers have generated over €50,000 for the Peter McVerry Trust, enough to move five people out of homelessness and into better futures.
Samantha comments; "This takeaway campaign is perfect, because you can order food on a Tuesday, get a 10 percent discount and chip in 10 percent to 2019’s Just Eat charity of choice, the Peter McVerry Trust. So you’re doing something good."
Does she notice the homelessness which is also prevalent in Los Angeles too, while she's spending her down-time there?
“Again, who am I to talk about anything, but there are definite areas. Santa Monica area and Downtown area, what I find is that a lot of the problems there are mental health. These people should be in facilities, in LA for me I notice, it’s a lot more of that. Whereas here, it’s more people who are getting a bad run of things. It just seems to be different circumstances, I suppose," she emphasises.
Her daughter Sage was born in 2015, with her husband Torray Scales. We're immediately jealous of Sage, because she's already heard some of her mum's new material;
‘Nightmare before Christmas is her thing. We listen to that soundtrack, and I love it as well, so it’s great. Sometimes she said, ‘I wanna hear mummy’s songs’, she approves of the new songs, thankfully. She’s very sweet, but other times she’s like, ‘Ok, back to Disney’, she laughs.
“She says she lives in LA and lives in Dublin, she loves being home. She gets totally spoilt rotten at home. The back and forth is her norm, she doesn’t know any different.”
We couldn't let Samantha go without trying to get the dates for her new music to be released, it had to be done. For the good of mankind. Luckily, she was ready for the question;
“I was hoping to have a date already. I have to have it within the next two weeks, because I want my first release to be latest end of March, early April. So we’re working on it. I’d love to have two singles out by the summer, and the album definitely will be later on in the year, but I’m on it.”
Me: “Calm down, Shane. It’s only January 4th.”
Also me: “Okay, Samantha Mumba and Madonna, it’s 2019–where are the new albums?!?”
One core difference between now and when Samantha started is, of course, the power of social media. She's aware of it as a tool, and this time it's going to connect her even more to her fans;
“That’s what I’m enjoying the most, there’s no random people telling me what I have to do, I’m fully in control of everything. That’s kind of the most exciting part for me. The people I’ve been working with in the States are so creative, they’re really pushing me out of my comfort zone.”
In terms of teasing some collaborations in the pipeline, she's revealed a song with MNEK has been created, and we are SO HERE for it. The artist is known for working with some of pop's biggest names, among them are Dua Lipa and Zara Larsson.
“MNEK I have done work with, yes, I adore him. He’s incredible, he’s so talented. I have done one song with him, and I have my core group of people to work with. I think he’ll actually be in LA again in another couple of weeks, so we’ll do another session there as well. I’d love to bring him in with my people, because I think they’d all mesh really well. I’m excited for what that will bring. He’s such a talent and a joy to work with.”
Is there anyone she's especially got her eye on, in terms of new female talent?
“I just discovered her and I’m obsessed, it’s Donna Missal from the US. She’s incredible, I love her."
Samantha is 36-years-old, and time has only given her even more glamour, wisdom and thick-skin for the tough music industry.
Her new album is set to encompass that sense of maturity;
My new music is pop R’N’B, it’s current to where I am, I’m a grown woman who’s lived a life. I have a lot of things to say. I’m just expressing them, and hopefully other women will relate to it."
Samantha is the newest 2019 mood; let her reign begin anew.
There's no gym, self-help or crazy diet plan in sight.
Revealing her plans, she captioned a picture of Joe and herself chilling out and tucking into some good drink and food.
"Start as you mean to go on… I’ll be spending most of 2019… In my pj’s, eating my favourite things, staring at the love of my life. So that’s what I’m doing tonight to bring in the New Year," she wrote – YAS, gal.
Now they are plans we can certainly stick to in 2019.
Stacey also added: "HAPPY NEW YEAR to you and yours. May 2019 bring you health and happiness and all that you desire. Thank you 2018, it’s been incredible. Here we go 2019 can’t wait!"
In her Instagram stories, like always the TV presenter was bloody hilarious.
The champagne was clearly not to everyone's taste, as she posted a picture of her boyfriend, Joe Swash looking less than impressed.
Trolling him, she wrote: "When your champagne tells you what's in store for 2019 @realjoeswashy."
Stacey wrote: “Well that was a crazy Christmas. It was like real life ‘Meet The Parents’. Luckily no one got hurt and everyone is still talking no matter how heated Family Fortunes got.”
The mum-of-two continued: “Feeling extremely privileged this morning to have been able to share a special day with my family and my extended family I adore each and every one of them. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.”
Stacey Solomon has revealed that a music producer once asked her for some 'alone time' in exchange for help with her music career.
Speaking on ITV's Loose Women, the 28-year-old explained how the unnamed man told her that sleeping with him would make a 'huge difference' to her professional life.
“I remember going out to a different country to work on a record and hopefully distribute it and that country," she told panel.
“And I met somebody who was really big – a music producer– who could help me distribute it and get on board and make a huge difference.”
The former X Factor contestant then went on to say how she laughed off the invitation, but eventually came to realise the detrimental impact her refusal would have on her career.
“At first I just laughed it off but then I realised it was a real invitation of ‘if you come with me then maybe I can help you,” she said
“At that point I was like Ok I am going to go home and definitely not further my career in this.”
And while she expressed disappointment that women are subjected to these types of situations, she maintained that she would not judge anyone for going along with it.
“It’s disheartening more than anything because you look and think I definitely had the credentials to do that just as well as the other person, so there’s no reason I shouldn't have got the job, but it is disheartening.”
However, fellow panellist, Janet Street-Porter, was no so forgiving.
“You say you’re not judging, but I judge them, I hate them. There could be two people qualified for the job and one get the job because they put out.”
Stacey finished the discussion by condemning those who use their power to take advantage of vulnerable young women.
“Ultimately those people in power shouldn't be putting women in that position in the first place.
'If you're drunk, if you've had a few drinks, you're so vulnerable, your guard is down, you just want to get home, and I think lots of young girls put themselves in that situation, and I just think if you are in that situation, just call somebody,' she said.
'Don't get in a cab, don't get on a train – you could get attacked on a train, walking home.'
When asked if Kelly herself would get a taxi home after a night out (as her brother is studying to be a taxi driver), Brook replied: 'Well, I wouldn't go out and get silly drunk.'
Kelly Brook might as well have said those women deserved to be sexually assaulted! Victim blaming of the highest order going on on a program by women for women. Absolutely disgusting #LOOSEWOMEN
If the Loose Women team had set out to offend their viewers, they did a pretty good job of it yesterday.
Using their Facebook page to initiate debate on a variety of topics, the team yesterday decided to dedicate one post to 'gay best friends'.
And suffice to say, their approach to the matter did not go down well with thousands of their followers.
"Should every woman have a gay best friend?" they asked. "A new study has found that becoming friends with gay men may be a key part of women's ‘mating strategies’ by making them less threatening to other women – and more appealing to straight men."
"Do you think every woman should have a male gay best friend? Why do you think a friendship between a woman and a gay man is so special?" they asked in a move which resulted in serious backlash online.
Accusing the team of reducing gay men to little more than accessories, one Facebook user wrote: "Always love a good bit of casual homophobia from you lot."
"Belive it or not we are people and not just an "accessory", he continued. "How would you like it if it was "a menopausal best friend'? Absolute jokes."
"Please delete this question. This is disgusting and should not be endorsed by a national TV programme," added another.
"You should be ashamed of yourself. I'm no woman's 'gay best friend'. My sexuality has nothing to do with my freindship with anyone," he finished. (sic)
"Do you think every woman should have a male best friend?" Were they for REAL with that one?
The 30-year-old mother-of-three revealed: "I've never said this – this is really weird," before adding: "I've never spoken about it. I told one friend, but – as I've launched a website – this is the perfect place to speak about it.
"That is what I'm trying to do, make a safe place where women can speak about their problems."