What has singer Duffy been up to since her breakthrough in 2009?

Albertina Lloyd
Entertainment reporter, Yahoo UK
LONDON - FEBRUARY 18: Singer Duffy arrives at the Brit Awards 2009 at Earls Court on February 18, 2009 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

When Duffy stepped away from the spotlight her fans assumed it was her own decision.

But the Mercy singer has now revealed that she has been recovering from the trauma of being drugged, raped and held captive.

The 35-year-old Welsh star had the world at her feet after the global success of her debut album Rockferry. But since her chart success and string of award-wins in the late noughties, Duffy seemed to disappear from the public eye. So what has she been up to all this time? More than you might remember.

Read more: Duffy reveals she was drugged, raped and held captive

Duffy released her second album Endlessly in 2010, but it did not match the success of her debut record.

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 07: *EXCLUSIVE* Kelly Clarkson, Katy Perry, Duffy, Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus attends the 2009 GRAMMY Salute To Industry Icons honoring Clive Davis at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on February 7, 2009 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

That same year she made her acting debut in Patagonia, set in the region of Argentina where the Welsh language is spoken due to the settlement of Welsh emigrants in the 19th Century. The singer played Welsh student Sissy opposite The Americans star Matthew Rhys.

Speaking at the film’s premiere in London she said: “I feel as though Sissy's character was very close to who I used to be. I'm not saying I've changed dramatically, but there are elements of her that I think I've left behind so that's also what made me feel compelled to do the film.

"This little girl lost in time looking slightly out of place, I remember being that person. She resembled something that I had experienced growing up in Nefyn."

Duffy grew up in Nefyn, a remote village in North Wales. She was briefly put in a police safe house in 1998, aged just 14, when it was discovered her stepfather's ex-wife had plotted to pay a hitman to kill her stepfather, Philip Smith.

She was discovered after appearing on Wawffactor, the Welsh version of The X Factor.

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 07: Paul McCartney and Duffy attend the 2009 GRAMMY Salute To Industry Icons honoring Clive Davis at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on February 7, 2009 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Larry Busacca/WireImage)

Following the release of her debut album Rockferry in 2007 she had a Number One hit with single Mercy in 2008, and in 2009 triumphed at both the Brit awards and the Grammys.

But in 2011 she stepped back, cancelling several scheduled performances and disappearing from the pubic eye.

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 08: (L-R) Music recording artist Duffy and singer Cheryl Cole attend the Island/Def Jam Grammy Awards after-party at Wolfgang's Steakhouse on February 8, 2009 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Chris Weeks/WireImage)

In July 2011 the singer was sued by her former manager, Angela Becker, who she had hired in March 2010 to replace her previous manager Jeanette Lee. Becker - who had also managed Madonna and the Pet Shop Boys - sued Duffy in the High Court claiming a breach of a management agreement, and demanding demanding 20 per cent of the star's gross earnings from the launch of Endlessly.

That same year Duffy split from her boyfriend of three years, Wales international player Mike Phillips. During their relationship she was often seen in stands at matches supporting him.

LONDON - FEBRUARY 18: Duffy poses backstage after winning Best British Female, Breakthrough Act and Best Album during the Brit Awards 2009 at Earls Court on February 18, 2009 in London, England. (Photo by Eamonn McCormack/WireImage)

Duffy hit the headlines in October 2012 - when her rented London penthouse caught fire. The singer fled the blaze, along with her dog and two cats, and was reported to have banged on her neighbour’s doors to warn them.

Neighbour Maria McLeod told the Evening Standard: “I gave her a cup of coffee and she said her cleaner was there and needed some too. She was lovely, just in shock."

Duffy and boyfriend Mike Phillips attend the 'Twilight Saga Eclipse' premiere in London in 2010 (PA)

More than 60 firefighters tackled the blaze at the apartment in Kensington, West London, which had its own pool and cinema. London Fire and Rescue said at the time it had started an investigation into the cause of the fire.

In September 2013 Duffy made a rare public appearance, performing at New York's Beacon Theatre in September 2013, at a tribute concert to French singer Edith Piaf.

Duffy performing during Francofolies New York: A Tribute To Edith Piaf at Beacon Theatre in New York in 2013 (Getty Images)

She told Esquire magazine that same year: “I took a step back... I was losing sight of what all this was about. It all got so complex, such responsibility. I was serenading people to sleep, not running NASA. Suddenly I was a product, an enterprise, a businesswoman. But mostly I wanted to be human.”

In 2015 Duffy appeared alongside Tom Hardy in Kray brothers film Legend in 2015, playing American singer Timi Yuro performing in a Soho nightclub. Director Brian Helgeland told NME:I had seen Duffy’s video for Mercy - which was very classy, with her up on stage as a nightclub singer. So one of the casting directors just got a hold of her. She thought it sounded like a fun thing to do.”

In October 2017, in a since deleted post, the singer wrote on Instagram:  “I will not be online now until the other side of the year. Other news is - I will see you, with something new, at some point soon. Love Duffy.”

But the public did not see Duffy again, until her dramatic revelation on February 25 2020 when she revealed she had been the drugged, raped and held captive.

The singer has promised to reveal more in an interview when she is ready. And so her fans must wait to find out the truth - what really did happen to Duffy?