Getting noticed . . .

Category: Phantom of the Opera News | Posted by: admin
Article Date: August 11, 2004 | Publication: ic.Essex | Author: Wil Marlow
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It's been a rollercoaster year for Jennifer Ellison. There have been plenty of ups - her debut single, Baby I Don't Care, went Top 10 on its first week of release, she landed a role in Joel Schumacher's lavish film version of The Phantom Of The Opera, and, of course, she won Hell's Kitchen.

But there have been plenty of downs. Last autumn she hit the headlines when her house in Liverpool was shot at and then, a month later, bombs were set off outside.

The papers were filled with tales of her fiancÚ Tony Richardson's alleged crime links which had supposedly sparked gangland revenge attacks.

"A lot of it is sensationalised," says Jennifer, playing down the subject.

"There's been no stress with me and Tony or anything like that. We've just bought a new house in Liverpool.

"It kind of makes us laugh. It hasn't made us stronger or closer or anything like that because nothing actually happened."

Not long before she went on to Hell's Kitchen, there were reports a death threat was posted on her official website threatening both Jennifer and Tony. For many it was another dramatic twist in the tale of Tony's supposedly dodgy background.

"There were no death threats," Jennifer sighs.

"The police said to me that if there was any sort of death threat I would be in police custody whether I liked it or not."

Jennifer says she's used to reading rubbish about herself. Ever since she first made her mark playing Brookside's rebellious teenager Emily Shadwick and began to show up at awards ceremonies wearing revealing outfits, she's rarely spent long out of the papers. The singer is philosophical about that side of her career.

"At first a lot of the stories were upsetting but it's just part of the job," she says.

"There's got to be some downsides I guess so I just accept that and get on with things.

"You just have to take it with a pinch of salt and make sure your family and friends know the truth. That's all that matters really."

What does seem to be true is that Jennifer and Tony, 25, are very happy after four years together.

"I've been out with guys and then found out stuff I didn't like about them after we started dating," says Jennifer.

"With Tony, I already knew his family so it was much easier."

Despite the reports of their blazing rows in public, Jennifer is obviously head over heels in love with her fiancÚ. She mentions him often and her voice softens.

He seems very supportive, finding no problem with Jennifer's notoriously sexy image.

"Tony's brilliant," grins Jennifer.

"He was with me from the beginning when I was in Brookside and as things have got more mad for me they've got more mad for him. It's been a gradual slope upwards so he's used to the way things are."

She showed a very different side to her character in Hell's Kitchen. Free of make-up and the usual pop star soundbites, her down-to-earth personality eventually nabbed her the winner's title. But her sexy image is back in the video for Bye Bye Boy.

With a stunning figure that she's not afraid to show off, Jennifer claims she's done nothing to keep in shape.

"I'm going to start going to the gym now, though," she says.

"I'm an absolute pig. I've just had a Bueno and a packet of M&Ms and it's only 11 o'clock.

"The whole sex symbol thing is funny really because when I'm at home I'm just me.

"I don't wear any make-up and I have my hair in a bobble and I walk around the house in tracksuit bottoms. I think it's hysterical when people say I'm sexy."

We'll see another side to Jennifer in the film The Phantom Of The Opera. An enthusiastic performer from a young age who has always loved singing, dancing and acting, she couldn't believe her luck when she landed a part alongside Gerard Butler and Minnie Driver.

Once again the role has seen Jennifer hit the headlines with stories about her part in the film being cut back because they couldn't understand her accent.

"That was speculation," says Jennifer.

"I wasn't speaking in a Scouse accent in the film so it's a load of rubbish.

"Gordon Ramsay told me he was coming home on the plane back from LA and saw Joel Schumacher. He'd finished the film and said to Gordon, 'Pass this message on to Jennifer - I'm absolutely delighted with her performance'.

"Incidentally, the part's a lot meatier than in the stage show."