WHETHER you know her as a former pop star, an ice skating queen, or a bra model for Asda, it’s likely you’ll remember Bury-born Suzanne Shaw as an upbeat, chatty kind of character.
But on the day I called for our interview she is suffering from a bad cold and feeling run down.
“It’s typical isn’t it?” She moaned, “You have a day off and it all catches up on you.”
But to her credit, she battled on, yawning and sniffling in between answers, but coming to life when talking about her four-year-old son Corey, whose father is performer Darren Day, who she fell for during a tour of one of the first musicals she starred in, Summer Holiday.
After a stormy relationship the couple split, and Suzanne is now married to Jason King, one half of former Radio 1 duo JK and Joel.
And Suzanne is focussed on her family and happy being a mum.
“Of course, I’m his mother. I’m biased but Corey is the most perfect child ever in the world,” she gushed proudly.
“I love him so much. He’s just getting to the age where he understands Christmas and he’s already excited. He’s writing his list for Father Christmas today actually. It’s a long list!”
Married life is going well for Suzanne . . . she just wishes she got more time with her husband.
“The wedding day was fantastic,” said the former Oldham College student, who tied the knot in June, in a lavish ceremony featured in OK Magazine.
“Being married is brilliant, it makes you feel very secure — I just don’t see my husband at all! He’s in Argentina this week and I don’t see him until Saturday, then he’ll go back on Sunday and I won’t see him until I don’t know when.
“It’s hard but we’ve just got used to it. You have to I suppose. It would be a lot harder to be married to someone outside the industry I think. It’s lucky because we’re both really understanding of each other’s careers.”
Suzanne is performing in The Lowry’s Christmas production of White Christmas — a musical based on the classic 1954 Bing Crosby film.
The show boasts a cast of more than 30 and a dynamic 17-piece orchestra and is full of tap dancing, laughter and some of the greatest songs ever written.
Suzanne will star alongside Aled Jones and Royal Ballet principal Adam Cooper, and she reckons families will fall in love with the production.
“It’s the most beautiful show and people are going to absolutely adore it,” she said. “It makes everybody cry at the end. It really is a lovely show.”
Suzanne, who now lives in Buckinghamshire, is thrilled to be back on her home turf for the Christmas period.
“I’ve rented an apartment for six weeks in Manchester but I probably won’t even be there that much because I’ll go and stay with my nan and brother and dad. They all live around Bury and Radcliffe,” she said.
“I’m so excited about being back home and I can’t wait to go to the German Christmas markets. It’s going to be brilliant.”
Suzanne’s big break came in 2001 when the ITV show Popstars launched a competition for contestants to become part of a newly formed pop band. Suzanne, who had just turned 18, beat 4,000 other hopefuls to make it into Hear’Say. Thee band’s debut single was the fastest selling non-charitable record ever in the UK, selling 1.3million copies.
The band split in 2002 in a media storm and Suzanne’s career veered off into many different directions — first the West End stage, then on reality TV show Dancing on Ice (which she won in 2008), with lucrative modelling contracts and deals to create her own perfume along the way. She is still in touch with bandmates Danny and Noel, and occasionally Mylene Klass, but is no longer speaks to Kym Marsh.
“I never thought I’d be a pop star,” said Suzanne.
“My Hear’Say days were such exciting times. But these days the sort of show we were on has changed. I don’t like the massive circus it has become and I don’t really watch X Factor because I just feel sorry for the contestants who should’ve been put through but weren’t because Simon Cowell - the absolute idiot that he is - decided not to put them through so he could boost his viewing figures.”
Suzanne’s ambition now is to act in comedy sitcoms — but she’s no longer willing to accept jobs she doesn’t want to do.
“Being a mum has changed the way I look at life,” she said.
“I think of Corey before accepting any job, If it’s something I really want to do that benefits us financially then I’ll do it, but I’ve learnt that I don’t have to take on jobs I don’t want to do any more just for the sake of having extra pennies. We’ve survived on nothing before and we can do it again.
“For me it’s a case of spending time just being a mum as well as my career. If I can be in a position to take a couple of months out then I will do.”
l See White Christmas at The Lowry, Salford Quays to Saturday, January 9. For tickets call box office on 0870 787 5793 or visit www.thelowry.com.