X Factor 2012: Tulisa’s dad Plato on the bullying that made her life a living hell
As we reported earlier, X Factor judge Tulisa’s new book ‘Honest’ is being serialized in The Sun this week, but in the Daily Mirror Sunday, her dad Plato Contostavlos – who was formerly in seventies band Mungo Jerry – has revealed that her childhood was dogged by bullies who made her life hell.
However, Plato also revealed that Tulisa’s life changed when, one day, she plucked up the courage to stand up to her tormentors.
He explained, “My daughter was horribly bullied. It was awful. Children would scream, ‘Your mum’s a loony’.
“Tulisa was about five years old when it first started. She would come home crying all the time.
“In the end I had to tell her, ‘I can’t go and sort this problem out for you. This is the kind of thing you are going to face in life and you have to stand up for yourself’.
“Then one day when she was about seven, after I had trained her for about six months, she came back from school and said, ‘Dad I knocked one of them out. You were right Dad, I did it’…
“It had to be done, the misery that child went through at school was unbelievable. Every time she went in she was terrified.”
However, Tulisa’s bravery in confronting the bullies didn’t put a total stop to it, so she moved to a new school.
Plato added, “She went through a lot, that’s why she has become who she is, it made her the success she is.
“It’s incredible that she has achieved what she has considering everything. Her childhood was unbelievably tough.”
And while talking about his former wife Ann’s mental health issues – Ann is of course Tulisa’s mum – Plato said, “Ann’s a lovely lady and a beautiful mother, one of the best in the world, but unfortunately she had this awful problem.
“It was very, very sad. She was the love of my life, the only woman I’ve ever loved, but it is so difficult to live with someone when they are in that condition.
“I tried my best, but maybe it wasn’t good enough. Sometimes I had to be the mother and the father for eight or nine months at a time because Ann just couldn’t cope.
“She’d be fine for a while, then she would get ill. We’d cope for as long as we could, but then she’d have to go into care. When she got better we’d take her back.
“She had the condition from a very young age. I didn’t know about it, but after Tulisa was born I got the shock of my life.
“She would be such a lovely person but then it would kick in. It was horrible, really crazy stuff.
“It was so painful for Tulisa and I to see mothers walking happily down the street with their children without a care in the world.
“But I remember when she was 13 tulisa came to me and said, ‘I understand now, Dad’. She had grown up and she could see with her own eyes what was going on.
“When she was a little girl she just didn’t understand and it badly affected her.”
He said, “It was all Tulisa wanted to do, she was so focused. She knew she wanted to be a singer and that was that.
“I think she thought she would become a huge star overnight, but it didn’t happen like that and I think it got to her. She definitely started getting depressed.
“I said to my brother, who died five years ago, ‘We need to watch this situation, it could all go horribly wrong’.
“We would go to record labels and get rejected and she took it hard. I used to tell her, ‘Don’t worry about life so much, just enjoy your teens’, but she was a deep thinker.
“She was a mature head in a young body. I was very worried about her at one time.”
And of course, as we reported earlier, it transpired that he was right to be worried, given that not only had Tulisa begun smoking pot and drinking regularly, she was also the victim of a so-called date rape.
Plato remarked, “It was a difficult time for her and for me. I used to have to go out and look for her.
“I would walk the streets looking for her, find her with some of her friends and bring her home.
“I know she tried cannabis a couple of times, but luckily she couldn’t handle it and it was the best news she could possibly have given me.
“She came and told me about it.”
Of the horrific sex attack on his daughter, Plato said, “I would kill that person. I would go to prison for her in a heartbeat.”
Tulisa’s book ‘Honest’ is available online to pre-order.