Britain’s Got Talent is back on our screens in less than two weeks.
For many, of the best performers to appear on the show was Scots singer Susan Boyle.
Susan was born on April 1, 1961 and grew up in Blackburn, West Lothian, in Scotland.
The 61-year-old singer shot to fame after singing a stunning rendition of I Dreamed A Dream on Britain’s Got Talent in 2009.
However, this almost didn’t happen after Susan abandoned an audition for the X Factor because she believed people were only being chosen for their looks and thinking she was ‘too old’ for BGT.
Susan’s rise to fame wasn’t always easy to deal with, as she previously admitted her television experience was “suffocating” and “difficult to come to terms with”.
In honor of BGT returning to our screens, let’s revisit the lives of one of the most amazing contestants..
Rise to fame and musical career
Before the show Susan was unemployed, but did charity volunteering and lived alone with her cat Pebbles. She was also a church volunteer and amateur singer.
Prior to her appearance on Britain’s Got Talent, Susan had lessons from a vocal coach, attended Edinburgh Acting School and sang with her local church choir.
The singer went on to win several local singing competitions and her mum encouraged her to enter the TV competition.
Although it was her dream to become a professional singer, she wanted to care for her elderly mother.
After her mother’s passing at the age of 91, she stopped singing for two years but entered the show to fulfill a wish to her.
She auditioned for the third season of BGT in 2009 and became an overnight sensation following her amazing rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” in front of the show’s judges Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, and Piers Morgan.
Susan became a hit with viewers during her time on the ITV competition show and reached the final.
However, she came in second place behind the UK dance group Diversity.
The loss didn’t impact her success at all as her debut album went onto become one of the UK’s best-selling albums of all time.
Her success continued as her second album, The Gift, went on to top the charts, and the singer has gone on to sell more than 20 million records worldwide (via Edinburgh Evening News).
Since her rise to fame and fortune, Susan has endured quite a bit of tragedy and loss.
The singer was left utterly devastated in 2015 when her older sister Brigid ‘Bridie’ McCaw sadly passed away after a short battle with cancer.
Susan, who is the youngest of nine children, was hit hard by the loss of her dear sister, who died at the age of 73.
After Brigid’s death, Susan was forced to take some time away from the spotlight to allow herself to grieve after an incredibly difficult year.
Susan took a break from her career, putting a new album on hold, later saying: “She was honest and helped me throughout my life and during my career. Ella she wasn’t afraid to tell me I was getting too big for my boots.
Just eight years before her sister’s passing, Susan also faced tragedy when her dear mum Bridget died in 2007.
Subo’s mother was said to have encouraged the star to follow her dreams and often insisted that her daughter was ‘born to be a star’.
While she enjoyed a close bond with her other siblings, Susan fell out with her older brother Gerry in 2013 after rumors emerged that he’d threatened to take his own life if she didn’t give him £50,000.
The pair went two-and-a-half years without speaking before they finally made up in 2016 when Gerry rushed to Susan’s side when she found herself in a spot of bother with a security guard at Heathrow Airport.
Putting their rift behind her, Susan called on her brother at the time for some immediate assistance.
Opening up about the ‘concerning’ experience, Gerry previously explained: “I’d never heard her sound so down on the phone.
“I was really concerned. She didn’t sound like she was in a good place.
“We hadn’t spoken for two and a half years but when all is said and done, I am her brother.
“I realized how sad it was that we didn’t speak – and that it shouldn’t be that way.”
Gerry and Susan now speak every day and Subo often ventures to her brother’s house for a family dinner with him and his wife.
In her first year of fame, she made £6.8 million to release I Dreamed a Dream.
Today, Susan is reportedly worth an estimated £40 million.
Glammed up council house
Susan has raked in a vast fortune and could live in some of the world’s swankiest locations.
But when she was feeling flush a few years back, she bought the semi detached house next door for £111,000 and put them together to create her dream home.
Susan told OK!: “It’s to do with the memories of your house and your upbringing, you need to take stock of things and maybe see where you come from and where your roots lie.”
She added: “It’s best to be grounded and with your roots. It keeps you grounded and prevents you from saying things maybe you shouldn’t say.”
Although the house looks somewhat modest at first glance, inside it boasts of a modern design and each room features a different color palette.
Keeping with the religious theme, Susan displayed photos and paintings of her late parents and a meeting with the Pope.
After her major revamp of the house, the singer opted for a large gray and checked sofa to adorn her similar-colored living room and kitchen area.
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The kitchen was fitted with the latest appliances and a shiny cream-coloured floor which perfectly complemented the gray theme of the room.
The singer also kitted out her house with new wallpaper and even a gray carpet as she completed the transformation.
When showing her dressing room, she recalled: “There’s a bit of history attached to this house there used to be nine of us in it.
“Three sisters used to sleep in what is now my dressing room. Bridie, Cathy and myself. Mary had gotten married and left the nest long ago. So when they all left I was left with this room. This used to be my room. “
Although she’s worth millions and has sold 25 million records worldwide, Susan has continued to live an incredibly humble life.
Susan is said to have made over £22million during her career, but she’s not one to flash the cash.
She previously told Piers Morgan that she lives off a humble £300-500 weekly allowance to keep her going.
Unlike other celebrities who have splashed out on lavish mansions and flashy sports cars, Susan still lives in her childhood home in West Lothian, and has been rather frugal with her fortune.
A number of years ago, the Scottish star forked out £111,000 on the semi-detached ex-council house next door to her childhood home in a bid to turn the properties into her ‘dream home’.
Although she could definitely afford to splash the cash on a mansion, Susan has found it too hard to part with the home she has always known due to sentimental value.
The singer remains an active member of her community, with the locals describing her as ‘just one of us’, despite her celebrity status.
She previously opened up about some of the things she had spent her fortune on, and it may surprise you.
The singer told OK! Magazine : “I bought a fur coat, a piano and a bike, which I haven’t been on yet.
“I’ve spent a bit on driving lessons, but I haven’t managed to pass yet.”
The star explained she’s been busy trying to obtain her full license once and for all.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.