TV Quick interview
Sorry girls, there's only one woman for me....
Sexy singer Michael Ball is back on the box this week in a new series of his own show, and here he gives TV Quick a rare interview. But he has some bad news for his army of female fans...
A curtain of curly hair falls through the TV studio's canteen doors. Then the head goes back with a throaty laugh, revelaing the golden tonsils of Michael Ball. Michael may be totally unaware of the effect he's having, but you can sense the tea-supping girls struggling to get a grip on their hormones.
'Hello darlin', how are you?' he asks, running his hands through his hair - the first of many times. 'I've just come from rehearsals with James Brown - what a thrill!" he says, sounding more like a fan than the star he is. 'sometimes I stop and think: "Good grief! Just look at me singing with these people!"
Wearing a silk polka-dot shirt and jeans, with a tiny diamond stud in his left ear, and those smiling blue eyes, he looks like a designer angel. It's not hard to see why Michael was voted one of the men women would most like to marry in a TVQuick survey last year.
Blushing, he says: 'That was brilliant. Who wouldn't be flattered? It's not something I've cultivated, although I suppose I am a flirt. I think the appeal is just that I have such a good time doing what I do, and that's infectuous.'
Born and bred in Mountain Ash, South Wales, he trained to be an actor in Guildford, Surrey. It was there he discovered the powerful voice that won him starring roles in the West End musicals Aspects of Love and Les Misérables.
Still only 32, now he's belting out ballads with Shirley Bassey, jamming with soul legend James Brown and crooning love songs with raunchy rocker Cher in another series of his own show, swhich kicks off on ITV this week. he's also been recording a new album, One Careful Owner, due out in August. But Michael reveals he couldn't go on if it wasn't for the woman he lives with in South London, TV presenter Catyh McGowan.
They met five years ago, after Cathy's sister-in-law Angela heard him singing Love Changes Everything from Aspects Of Love , and said: 'You just have to interview him!" They've been together ever since and, despite Mciahel being some 15 yers Cahty's junior, he says: 'The bond between us is stronger than ever.'
Sadly, Angela died two years ago from cancer, and the couple set up the charity Research into Ovarian Cancer, at the Royal London Hospital.
There was a time when the tabloids circulated rumours that Michael was having some 'relationship' with Prince Edward. 'that was ludicrous,' he laughs, 'although it hurt my family, I just shrugged it off and said: "well, the story's bullshit, but at least they spell my name right."'
Earnestly, he adds: 'You have to realise that TV is a fantasy world I go home to Cathy and we shut the door and leave it behind.
'Cath is so rock solid in my life, there's just no way I could carry on without her. No matter how big a star you become, you have to have an anchor, and my Cath is mine.'
So will they ever make it legal? Michael gives a cheeky grin. 'We haven't thought any more about marriage, because we don't need to. We're ecstatically happy and have a great way of life.'
he does have one other love: his native Wales. So it's no surprise when he says his most exciting moment in the series was singing with Tom.
Fellow Welshman Tom Jones...?
'oh no,' he smiles. 'My uncle Tom. he's an exminer and sings in a male choir. He has the most beautiful tenor voice you've ever heard, and I've got him and the boys doing a number in one of the shows. My only regret is that my gran, Agnes, isn't alive to see it. Shje used to sing in a choir and was so proud of me.'
Written by Ruth Huntman