Leona Lewis, the X Factor winner of 2006, has had quite a journey since her days as a Pizza Hut waitress.
After winning the show, the singing sensation was signed to Simon Cowell's Syco record label and went on to sell over 25 million records, earning nominations for six Brit Awards and three Grammys, and winning two MOBO awards.
Now, the Bleeding Love singer is living a new life in Los Angeles with her husband Dennis Jauch and their one year old baby. We take a look back at Leona's successes and her latest business venture, which she describes as 'disruptive'…
X Factor and number ones
Her debut studio album Spirit became the fourth-best-selling of the 2000s and her lead single Bleeding Love spent seven weeks at UK number one. However, Leona decided to part ways with Syco in 2014, stating to The Independent at the time: "Simon Cowell has been incredible but at the end of a day it's a huge label now".
She added that "There was no love in it" and she felt "in limbo". She later signed with Universal and clarified there was no bad blood between her and Simon, saying: "Simon sent me a really lovely note the other week saying they miss me at the label.
"There's nothing but love there. He knew I had to leave. He was upset about it but it was time for something new so I'm excited about moving on and doing something different."
In December 2021, the singer squashed feud rumours, insisting her and Simon's relationship remains "good" and describing the music mogul as a "big supporter". Speaking on The Jonathan Ross Show, Leona said: "It was [an amicable split] we're still good, we keep in contact, he checks in on me, I check in on him."
Meanwhile, Leona admitted that she believed it was the best decision to axe the X Factor, revealing that she'd struggled with self-doubt after being catapulted into the limelight.
Leona said: "It was bound to happen at some point and I feel like it was the right time. We are in a different day and age now, with streaming and all the different platforms that we are on – there is so much out there. Everything has to evolve and move on and we can't stay static. We have to go with it and embrace it, it was time."
Despite all the success she's had in her career – away from showbiz, she began suffering from an array of health issues that led to her being diagnosed with Hashimoto's disease in 2017. Hashimoto's is an autoimmune condition that affects the thyroid gland and causes chronic fatigue, nausea and pain, which left Leona struggling with day-to-day life.
Leona Lewis shared her health struggles in an essay for Glamour, saying: "I was feeling very sick and had chronic fatigue and these really bad pains in my neck and throat. I didn't know what was going on. It was a pretty hard time". She thought it might be due to her busy lifestyle and exposure to beauty product chemicals.
"When I was first diagnosed, I was absolutely devastated; I felt very scared and alone," she admitted. "I could hear my body telling me that I needed to slow down. I also started to feel tired during performances. I began taking medication but also turned to Ayurveda (my mum is a master herbalist) to help heal my body naturally. I just got to a point where I wanted to start over physically and emotionally. I started eating better and I stopped straightening my hair."
£2 million mansion
In her personal life, Leona split from her childhood sweetheart Lou Al-Chamaa in 2010 and later met Dennis Jauch on her Labyrinth tour. The pair got married in July 2019.
Before the big day, Leona spoke to OK! and said Dennis is her "rock" and added: "We're so ready to do this. Dennis is the most kind, considerate person I've ever met".
Leona and her husband Dennis have lived in a number of pricey homes, including a £1.8million ranch in Glendale, California which they sold to move into a £2.9 million home in Los Angeles's Hidden Hills. The X Factor winner has a strong bond with Simon Cowell, so much so that she sold her house to the music mogul in 2020, she now lives in a £2 million mansion in Studio City.
Family of three
In the past, Leona has spoken about her desire to start a family. She once said: "I do want children, but Dennis and I have also talked about adopting. My mum grew up in a children's home. No one adopted her as a child and I would very much like to adopt. But I'm still figuring things out. If it was up to my husband, we would have had kids yesterday."
Her fans were overjoyed when she announced that she and Dennis were expecting their first child. In August, Leona shared the news of the birth of their daughter, Carmel Allegra.
She posted a sweet picture on social media, giving a glimpse of the newborn's face. The baby girl was dressed in a cute light pink onesie and was holding her dad's hand.
Leona captioned the post: "And then there were three. Our little Carmel Allegra arrived 22.7.22."
Vegan coffee shop
These days, Leona owns a vegan coffee shop in LA called 'Coffee and Plants in Pasadena', which she started three years ago. The singer has plans to grow her successful side business by opening another location in the Studio City neighbourhood.
Leona shared earlier this year: "What I tend to do is focus on what we can do. My husband and I actually opened a coffee shop with sustainability at its heart – so for every few cups that we sell, we plant a tree – we're partnered with the National Forest Association. And all of our stuff is recyclable".
The singer, who has been a vegetarian since she was 12, and vegan for the last seven years, wants to "lead by example" for her child. She also said: "For me as a mum now, obviously, I am conscious and aware and trying to do my part as best I can".
She continued: "As parents now, everything is amplified and we think to ourselves, OK, what are we passing down to Coco? When she's older, is she going to look at us and be like, what did you guys do? What has happened? It definitely makes you more aware, for sure."
* This article was crafted with the help of an AI engine, which speeds up OK!'s editorial research and applies it to article templates created by journalists in our newsrooms. An OK! editor reviewed this content before it was published. You can report any errors to [email protected]
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