Susan Boyle Opens Her Doors To Give Cameras A Tour Of Her Newly Renovated House

Susan Boyle became an instant sensation throughout the world after she appeared on the third series of “Britain’s Got Talent” (BGT). Although that introduction aired over a decade ago, Boyle has managed a level of staying power rarely seen by TV stars. That performance of the Les Mis classic I Dreamed a Dream has been watched millions of times, including the scowling and then shocked face of Simon Cowell. But even with her seemingly-instant shoot to stardom, Boyle has remained humble as ever – even still living in the house she was in before first appearing on BGT.

Susan Magdalene Boyle was born on April 1, 1961, in Blackburn, West Lothian. Her father, Patrick Boyle, was a WWII veteran and miner who also sang at Bishop Blaize. His wife, Bridget, worked as a shorthand typist. The couple had nine children; four sons and five daughters, with Boyle being their very last. As a child, she was told that she had developed a learning disability as a result of oxygen deprivation during birth. In an interview with the Guardian in 2013, the singer got candid about how she got bullied by her peers because she was “different.”

Throughout her life, Boyle has suffered from emotional outbursts and struggled with social interaction and communication, which has often interfered with her ability to form relationships and act appropriately. Singing would be the only activity she could do that would bring her solace.

“I come from a musical family,” Boyle said. “It has always been there, from my father down. Singing is always something I have done. It has been in my blood since I was 12 and took part in school productions and shows.”

Then finally, in her 50s, she was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome.

She had visited a doctor to speak about anxiety, which she boiled down to something being wrong with her.

“I went to seek a diagnosis from a Scottish specialist,” Boyle explained to The Scotsman. “Nobody told me to. I thought I had a more serious illness and couldn’t function properly.”

Her doctor prescribed various tests for her, which eventually showed her “IQ was above average.”

Boyle admitted in the same interview that she was grateful to have received the diagnosis, but stressed that she would not let it define her.

“It will not make any difference to my life. It’s just a condition that I have to live with and work through,” she said, adding that she only hoped it would help others understand her better and show empathy.

“I think people will treat me better because they will have a much greater understanding of who I am and why I do the things I do.”

She left school with few qualifications and entered a governmental vocational training program to find employment. Boyle also pursued singing professionally, occasionally taking up gigs performing in local venues. She became a member of her church’s choir, where she also volunteered. Eventually, the songstress was accepted at the Edinburgh Acting School and appeared at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – an annual city-wide event that features local performers. In 1999, Boyle recorded an album for charity, titled “Cry Me a River,” which was pressed around 1,000 times. The star even had a small stint on British television, having appeared on Michael Barrymore’s show “My Kind of People.”

Boyle told The Guardian:

“I did My Kind of People for fun,” she said. “I also sang locally but things had quietened down.”

But when her mother, Brigitte, began too frail to care for herself, Boyle took a break from singing to be there for her. After her mother passed away in 2007, she was inspired to take a chance and audition for “Britain’s Got Talent.” She said in the same interview with The Guardian:

“I had a bit of a rest after my mum died, but I had seen Britain’s Got Talent on TV and thought I would have a go,” Boyle recalled. “Paul Potts was really good. He was an inspiration to a lot of people and I thought I would take my chances.”

She attended her first audition in Glasgow that October, which was then followed by a second in front of Simon Cowell and his co-judges. “I was very nervous,” she said.

At the time, Boyle differed greatly from the contestants we were used to seeing on the show. She was a simple, middle-aged woman from rural Scotland in a lacy beige dress and a warm smile. Both the viewers and the judges alike were unsure of what to expect. But when she belted out “I Dreamed A Dream,” the whole room was instantly bewildered by her immensely beautiful voice. She told The Guardian in the same interview:

“I expected people to be a wee bit cynical,” Boyle said. “But I decided to win them round. That is what you do. They didn’t know what to expect. Before Britain’s Got Talent, I had never had a proper chance. It’s as simple as that. You just have to keep going and take one step at a time and one day you will make it. You just don’t give up.”

That night shot Boyle to international fame. She represented a different kind of role model; one that didn’t fit into the traditional narrative of successful celebrities. She was just an ordinary person just past her 40s, worlds away from the movie-star and model-worthy good looks we normally see on the covers of glossy magazines. But she could sing – and sing well, in fact. Boyle was proof that anyone could go after their dreams, no matter their background, or how they looked, and even go as far as to achieve them. She came second in the 2009 series of “Britain’s Got Talent,” but that only marked the beginning of her rise to international stardom.

Only two years after her successful audition, Susan Boyle came out with her own book that told the story of her less-than-glamorous upbringing. “The Woman I was Born to Be: My Story” is Boyle’s memoir that was published by Atria Books of Simon & Schuster in the summer of 2011. The publisher’s website on the book pegs Boyle as “a modest middle-aged woman from a village in Scotland.” The spot-on description alludes to the rather normal life Susan had before being on television, such as “singing karaoke in local pubs.” The book shot Susan to another level of common household inquiry, as readers were given access to the insights on how “this astonishing transformation has not always been easy for her, faced with all the trappings of celebrity, but in the whirlwind of attention and expectation, she has always found calm and clarity in music. Susan was born to sing.”

The singer’s instantaneous fame changed her life overnight and over the years. However, for some celebrities, these changes are often disastrous. A life of excess and rampant spending is often the mark of quick-found fame. However, Boyle has not fallen into the trap. Despite her incredible success, the Scottish singer has retained a modest life that harkens back to her humble beginnings.

With such humble beginnings, it’s understandable that Boyle kept a humble lifestyle. According to OK! UK, she even still lives in her childhood home. She told the Sunday Post in a 2019 interview:

“I’ve spent most of my life in this house and I won’t move now, because I feel it’s part of my history.”

While she did initially buy herself a nice piece of property when the cash first started rolling in, she realized that she truly did not want to move out of her place. She even decided to gift her new home to one of her family members instead of moving into it herself.

“I bought the posh house, but my niece lives in that now – I share it among the family!” she revealed.

Despite the appearance of Boyle loving comfort and not necessarily wanting to move, that didn’t mean her home couldn’t use a makeover! In early 2020, the traditionally-media-shy songstress stepped out of her comfort zone to show her fans just what she had done to her childhood home. According to OK! UK, Boyle lives in a former council flat – which is government-sponsored housing in Britain. She eventually bought the home and renovated it to her liking.

She explained to OK! UK that despite the fact that she is worth around $31 million, leaving her home for an opulent mansion would mean leaving behind precious memories – something Boyle was not willing to do.

“It’s to do with the memories of your house and your upbringing, you need to take stock of things and maybe see where you come from and where your roots lie,” she explained.

“It’s best to be grounded and with your roots. It keeps you grounded and prevents you from saying things maybe you shouldn’t say.”

That will to stay grounded has also meant that Boyle isn’t a big spender. The most luxurious splurge, she said, was remodeling her father’s old garage – which was previously filled with old cars – into a vacation home to spend her summers. She told OK! UK in the same interview:

“I couldn’t do anything too extravagant or over the top because I have got my parents,” Boyle said. “My parents will probably come back and haunt me. It’s good to stay grounded. You get the glamorous side and then you’ve got the more natural side.”

This isn’t the first time Boyle has mentioned her parents. When asked about her rise to fame, she told the Sunday post back in 2019:

“I just wish my mum and dad had been here to see it all. I think they would have been very proud and very happy. But no doubt they are looking down on me.”

When walking into Boyle’s home, one immediately realizes that the humble Scot is a woman of faith. The entrance to her abode greets guests with a plethora of Jesus Christ ornaments. That then leads to her piano room, which features many more religious figurines on display. Boyle has a room with the grand piano because she is now learning to play. However, she let the interviewer at OK! UK know that she is certainly still a work in progress when it comes to learning to play the piano.

“That’s a giggle for a start because I can’t even do scales! I’m only learning at the moment,” the singer humorously admitted.

Boyle is also one to reminisce about the past. Her living room features many photos and memorabilia from various important times in her life.

She kept a souvenir from her Comic Relief single with Peter Kay, right next to a framed record which marked the one-millionth sale of two albums; “I Dreamed a Dream” and “The Gift.” She also keeps many photographs of her late parents, and one when she met the Pope. Boyle is also a cat-lover, with one windowsill completely adorned in cat figurines, including a Cheshire cat, looking exactly like the one in the 1951 Disney film, ‘Alice in Wonderland.’

Regarding the homage to her first audition song, Boyle told OK! UK about how it continues to inspires her and serves as a memory of her success and hard work. She said:

“That’s always my motto to keep to your dreams, follow your dreams.”

Her kitchen, just like the rest of her home, is relatively small and modest. As part of the makeover, Boyle fitted in a simple yet modern grey-and-white kitchen, with generous counter space and storage room for her collection of kitschy crockery. She joked that prior to the renovation, she barely had enough space “to swing a cat” in the room.

She further elaborated to OK! UK on the almost six-decades worth of memories she’s collected in the home.

“There’s a bit of history attached to this house there used to be nine of us in it,” Boyle said. “Three sisters used to sleep in what is now my dressing room. Bridie, Cathy and myself. Mary had gotten married and left the nest long ago. So when they all left I was left with this room. This used to be my room.”

The down-to-earth songstress also looked back at her style bloopers as a newbie in showbiz. She even looked back at the infamous dress she wore on the BGT finale, which Boyle boiled down to not having a stylist to help her make better choices. “I have a stylist now who helps me!” she assured. While she might have not been making the fashion statement she would have liked to, she stressed that she wouldn’t have it any other way.

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