Liberty X will take centre stage again tonight, on new ITV2 series The Big Reunion.
Tony Lundon, Kevin Simm, Michelle Heaton, Kelli Young and Jessica Taylor will relive some of the high points and low points of their career in the music industry and plan their first performance together for years.
The road to success began bumpily for the former BRIT Award winners. Having failed to land a place in Hear’Say, the band were often referred to as ‘Flopstars’. Signed to Richard Branson Virgin label, it was the release of hit single ‘Just A Little’ which won them a BRIT and brought critical acclaim.
Mum of two, Kelli says: “We’d worked so hard to get to that point, and come from losing the Popstars programme and being called Flopstars and rejects. When we finally won that BRIT it really felt like we’d arrived and deserved to be there.”
Michelle says: “I loved being a pop star, some people take it for granted and I really didn’t. I really enjoyed every minute of it. I enjoyed going to parties, I was young.”
Tony adds: “Every very pop band needs somebody who’ll go out and get column inches. Michelle did everything that every self-respecting popstar should do and I think we benefited hugely from the attention that she got.“
Whilst she was relishing her popstar lifestyle, unbeknown to fans Michelle was battling weight issues and on a night out her heart stopped beating and she was rushed to hospital.
Michelle reveals: “I was in this vicious circle of taking more diet pills, trying to lose weight but nothing was losing weight because I was so immune to the diet pills they wasn’t doing their job any more. I was just taking them because I was addicted them. I didn’t look healthy.”
With Michelle battling her demons, Kevin and Tony also confess that they had turned to alcohol to help them deal with the pressures of fame.
Tony says: “Myself and Kevin tended to booze an awful a lot. You have this high from performing and your choice is to try and allow yourself to crash straight away to suspend that high.”
Kevin adds: “I’m not ashamed to say that there were times at 7am in the morning I’d be on triple vodka red bulls. The time all went into one so it didn’t really matter when I drank. I’m pretty laid back so when I’m tired it’s hard for me to hide it. So I just need a bit of something to take the edge off and get me ready to perform and do all these silly things you do on Saturday morning TV.”
Five years after being signed, the band decided to call it day. They were no longer signed to Virgin and instead were with a smaller independent record label. With their budgets slashed and unhappy with the change of direction their music was heading in, the band mates described their last performance as an ‘unremarkable’ gig.
Michelle says: “There was no massive big break up, we didn’t announce it to the world in a dramatic form. There was no press conference or children crying through helplines. It was quite simply we just weren’t there anymore.“
Film maker, Tony adds: “It was a bit of an anti climax and I remember thinking that is not the way to go out. “
As the band prepare to reunite for The Big Reunion, they reveal their excitement and trepidation about being thrust back into the limelight.
Married to cricketer Kevin Pietersen, mum of one, Jessica Taylor says: “I don’t do anything in the spotlight and I haven’t done for a really long time, It took me a lot of time to decide whether or not to do it. I’m in a very safe place with my life, I’m in a happy little bubble and to step outside of that is really scary. I thought I owed it to the guys to make sure I was sure and I am but I’m petrified.”
Whilst an excited Michelle admits: “I can’t wait for fun times to look forward to. I can’t wait to get back on stage.”