Opera star Russell Watson, 54, says beating two brain tumours has left him looking younger

RUSSELL Watson’s youthful good looks belie the fact he turns 54 next month.

But unlike many celebs, the opera superstar has insisted he’s never been one for a quick nip tuck.

In an exclusive interview to celebrate the release of his new album 20, this Friday [October 23] Russell revealed it was his beating of two brain tumours, in 2006 and 2007 which left him looking younger than his years.

Speaking from his home in Cheshire, Russell said: “I am lucky, I’ve got my mum’s skin – she looks about 50. I’ve been lucky with that.

“And as well, because of what I had, the hormonal imbalances that I have had have affected.

“The type of illness I had is known for making you look like you have a younger looking face because I wasn’t producing certain hormones and not producing certain other ones. So I am actually 3373 years old.

I am lucky, I’ve got my mum’s skin – she looks about 50. I’ve been lucky with that.

“I have been asked about having Botox before but I’ve never had it.

“In the middle of last year, someone Tweeted me and said: “’Oh my God, look at Russell Watson’s face – he can’t move it with all the Botox he’s had.’

”I thought, ‘I haven’t had any! But thanks mate!’”

It’s not just his skin which is helping Russell look in such good nick.

During lockdown Russell revealed that along with recording the 13 tracks for 20 at his home recording studio, he became a total fitness addict and has shed a serious amount of weight.

Russell explained: “I don’t know how much weight I’ve lost but I’ve dropped two suit sizes and I’m back in clothes I never thought I’d get in again.

“I was watching TV last year when I did my stuff with Aled Jones and I saw myself, and I thought, ‘Jesus – I look huge.’

“The telly adds 14lbs anyway so I asked my wife Louise and she said: ‘You look a bit bigger than you do in real life’ and I thought, ‘That’s it, I’m off to the gym.’

“The only good thing to come out of lockdown and all of this is the opportunity to get fit. I’m constantly on the road touring. So instead of a Caesar salad with some ham on the side it’s a Double Decker and a packet of Hula Hoops.

“Now I’ve been training every day but I’ve not set a goal. Last weekend I did 23 miles on my pushbike, when I first got on I did about seven minutes and it felt like my quads would explode, I was walking like Elvis Presley.

“And I play tennis and do a lot of boxing – and I’ve got a Peloton which is really good.”

Along with shifting some excess pounds, spending more time with Louise – who he wed in August 2015 – has been an added bonus.

But while they celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary in lockdown, Russell said he’s given up serenading her.

He joked: “She’s heard it all now – there’s only so many times you can blow someone away with Nessun Dorma isn’t there?

“But Louise is just great. She’s my business manager, she tells me what to do and not to be late – so it’s like a wife but better.

“It’s 11 years we’ve been together now. But this year has been a real test, I’ve never spent so much time at home apart from when I was ill and I wasn’t living with anybody then.

“I was worried I’d be grouchy because I wasn’t doing what I love. But we’ve really enjoyed it. We’re both easy going. It’s difficult in the music industry to find someone who understands what you do, you’re never at home, you’re away a lot.

“Jealousy isn’t the right word, but it’s not easy to have someone constantly away from home. They have to trust in you and what you are doing. And Louise does just that.”

While he’s thrown himself into changing his life for the better, Russell has also enjoyed being able to take some time out from social media after admitting he regularly gets trolled.s

He added: “I do get s**t on Twitter.

“It is the cesspool of the internet. All the bile and vitriol and spite that goes on in there. I get s**t.

“I block people immediately if they troll me, I see my name and the F-word and I just block them straight away. I get the feeling that Twitter is starting to slowly diminish in numbers and it’s because people go on there to spout off. I wouldn’t go near it if I didn’t have to have it to promote concerts

“I’ve seen things written about people I know, awful things, and I think, you’ve not even got a picture of your face on the screen. You’re screaming at someone you don’t even know. It gets on my nerves.

“My missus joined Instagram and TikTok for me. She controls it. I have no idea how to use it!”

Along with running his social accounts, Louise acted as Russell’s sounding board when he recorded 20 at home.

He added: “I’m lucky I have a studio at home and my producer, who is based in New Zealand, produced the record over Skype. So bringing out the album has been great.

“But I’m just really missing the live aspect of my job. I would get back on stage tomorrow if I could.

“A lot of my friends in the industry haven’t worked for the best part of ten months because of Covid and as it stands, it’s not going to get any better. It’s going to be really tough the next few months.

“The industry really needs support and help before it's too late.”  

READ ON FOR MORE OF SIMON BOYLE'S BIZARRE COLUMN

Adele's comeback

ADELE is to make her showbiz comeback, five years since her last album.

The superstar said tonight that she will be hosting Saturday Night Live on US TV this weekend, the show which helped make her a household name on both sides of the Atlantic.

She wrote on Instagram: “Bloooooody hellllll I’m so excited about this!! And also absolutely terrified! My first ever hosting gig and for SNL of all things!!!!”

Adele said she expects to “laugh my a**e off” and become “a flaming hot mess” during the show.

Sounds like must-watch TV.

Gary's Humans

FANS of Gary Barlow and Michael Buble are in for a treat tomorrow as the pair drop the video for their new track Elita.

The Take That frontman enlisted Michael and Latin pop star Sebastian Yatra for the single from his upcoming solo album, Music Played By Humans, out on November 27.

Sharing snaps of the video with me ahead of this evening’s release, Gary said: “We all went off with the track and came back with our own versions then we melded them together.

“It’s been a long process to try to get everyone’s personality on there but I think it’s worked really well.”

I agree, Gary.

JEZ Kerr from A Certain Ratio has set up label Small Moves Records to help launch new talent. He said: “It is born out of a collective love of independent labels and great records, made by great musicians.”

Model mask-wearer

HAILEY Bieber has nailed the art of making face masks look chic.

The model matched hers to this mid-length leather dress as she headed to TV’s Saturday Night Live studios in New York to support hubby Justin.

It was an emotional night for the pop star, who broke down after singing new song Holy.

The Canadian also gave a stripped-back rendition of Lonely, which he dropped on Thursday last week.

Justin recruited rising child star Jacob Tremblay, from 2015 film Room, to play him in the video to Lonely, where he reveals the darker side to childhood fame.

Following the SNL performance, Hailey and Justin, in a bright orange beanie hat and yellow tracksuit, joined his Holy collaborator Chance The Rapper for a meal out in the Big Apple.

Jack Kops red card

JACK Whitehall is used to sending people up on the telly.

But the comic has revealed how one gag resulted in a very physical reaction from the person he used to get a laugh.

He made the joke on Sky One comedy panel show A League Of Their Own about the now Liverpool captain and Kop hero Jordan Henderson.

In a new interview, Jack explained: “We were at this event in Manchester and, in the middle of the room, Jordan came up to me. 

“He was like, ‘Mate, I heard what you said about me’.

“The joke was that there was a hotel called Steven Gerrard in Thailand, and I said I’d tried to book in but couldn’t and there was a much worse, two-star hotel down the road called Jordan Henderson. He called me up on it.”

When asked how he reacted, Jack replied: “I just completely froze. I was like, ‘I’m really sorry, mate’.”

You might have thought Jack had learned his lesson when it came to picking his targets.

But it turns out that Jordan is not the only Liverpool player who has had the hump over one of Jack’s wise-cracks.

His former team-mate Daniel Sturridge is another top player to have confronted the comic over being the subject of a routine.

Jack recalled: “I was in LA, in Catch (restaurant). 

“He came up to me and called me out because I made a joke about him, at the Brits, for being injured all the time. 

“He alluded to the fact he was maybe ribbing me a bit, but I felt there was some anger in there as well. 

“We went our ways separate, he sat back down – and a leg broke on his chair.”

Amanda’s on a roll with debut album

AMANDA Holden can put her feet up after her record-breaking Songs From My Heart album charted for a second week in the Top Ten.

Having already scored the biggest-charting debut by a female solo act this year, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Britain’s Got Talent judge wins Best British Female at next year’s Brit Awards.

Her covers collection includes her NHS single take on Over The Rainbow and a duet of I Know Him So Well with new best friend Sheridan Smith.

Is there anything she can’t do?

AFTER hitting No1 with debut album Edna, Headie One is on course for his first No1 single on Friday. Ain’t It Different, with AJ Tracey and Stormzy, is beating Internet Money in the race for the top spot.

Ariana makes her Position clear

ARIANA Grande has dropped a very big hint about the name of her next record, four months after I revealed she was working on new music.

On Saturday night the pint-sized pop star heavily suggested the album will be called Positions – and appeared to confirm she would be releasing a single of the same name on Friday this week.

Ariana dropped the mega hints on her official website, which now appears all black apart from the word “Positions” and two countdown timers for the new track and album.

The record, the follow-up to Ari’s 2019 offering, Thank U, Next, will be out on October 30 – the same day as Sam Smith’s third studio album, Love Goes.

Over the weekend fans also fuelled speculation about possible collaborations she might have done, with one account saying she had worked with TY Dolla $ign, Doja Cat and The Weeknd.

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