Stacey Solomon's career as star reveals dream to be stay at home mum

The star was first in the public eye when she auditioned for The X Factor at 19

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 12: Stacey Solomon attends the ITV Palooza 2019 at The Royal Festival Hall on November 12, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Joe Maher/WireImage)
Stacey Solomon wants to spend more time with her family. (WireImage)

Stacey Solomon has come a long way since she worked at a fish and chip shop as a teenager in Essex.

Fifteen years after first finding fame, she is now a TV star, an author, an influencer, a children's clothes designer and a singer. But she has admitted she still pinches herself when she thinks of all she's accomplished.

"I'm waiting for someone to be like, 'Oh, it's all over now. It was just a big joke'," OK! quoted her as saying earlier this year. "I laugh with my mum all the time. I've been in scenarios that neither of us could ever imagine... Every opportunity I get, we can't believe it."

However, while she may be a big celebrity, Solomon is also a mum of five - she has two children from former relationships and three with her husband Joe Swash. And during a recent chat on the Glad We Had This Chat podcast, she hinted her busy career might not be forever. Sharing that her "ultimate dream" was to be a stay at home mum, she said: "I just want to be with my kids."

We have a look at Solomon's rise to fame.

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 03:  Stacey Solomon performs at the secret gig for the X Factor semi-finalists sponsored by TalkTalk in Soho on December 3, 2009 in London, England.  (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)
Stacey Solomon was on The X Factor in 2009. (Getty Images)

Solomon's first taste of the public eye was in 2009, when she auditioned for The X Factor as a 19-year-old. She sang What A Wonderful World and wowed judge Simon Cowell, who said he impressive vocal "completely took me by surprise".

She made it through the audition stages and got all the way to the final stage of the competition, coming third behind runner up Olly Murs and winner Joe McElderry.

While Solomon didn't win, she was popular with viewers and after the dust had settled on The X Factor she started working on music - and fielding TV invites. Now Solomon saves her singing voice for her gran. She said on This Morning that she sings "only for my grandma at the care home, at her request, she loves a sing song".

She went on: "Do you know what, Ben? I love singing, but I love singing with no pressure with no sort of like worry or fear that if someone's going to like it or not. I just love doing it for me.

"So I sing for my family and whenever they wheel me out, I'm like one of them, you know when dad goes 'My daughter can sing! She'll sing.' They wheel me out on special occasions and I'll do it."

X Factor finalist Stacey Solomon arriving at a studio for rehearsals London, England - 09.10.09
Stacey Solomon won I'm A Celebrity. (PA Images/Alamy)

In 2010 there were whisperings about the rising star being offered The Only Way Is Essex and turning it down. But reality TV did beckon, and that year Solomon was one of the campers on I'm A Celebrity.

She shared the jungle camp in Australia with the likes of Alison Hammond and Gillian McKeith, and charmed viewers with her humour and light-hearted approach. She was involved in many memorable moments in camp, like eating kangaroo penis and time she threw a stone at Dom Joly and accidentally hit him in the face.

Solomon ended up being crowned Queen of the Jungle, but the real win might have been meeting now husband Swash, who was a presenter on the spin-off show Extra Camp.

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Pictured: Stacey Solomon
'Loose Women' TV Show, London, UK - 23 Apr 2021

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Stacey Solomon joined Loose Women in 2016. (ITV)

Solomon went on to appear in several TV shows, including Celebrity Juice, 8 Out Of 10 Cats and A League Of Their Own.

In 2016, she landed a spot on the Loose Women judging panel. The position gave the star a platform to share her views on topical issues and she fast became a favourite with viewers.

Solomon's candid confessions also won her fans, with viewers relating to her honest discussions about raising children and embracing real bodies.

In 2018 Solomon teamed up with Primark to work on a line of clothes for children. She is still working with the brand and just recently told fans on Instagram that she doesn't know how she got so lucky.

"I don’t know why I feel so emotional," she said as she unveiled one of the collections. "Even after 5 years & 8 collections I still don’t know how I got so lucky. This is collection number 8!! HOW?!? 4 years I’ve had my dream job of designer children’s wear with @primark AD and I genuinely can not believe it. Each time they ask me to do it again I pinch myself because nothing is ever guaranteed and I just feel so damn lucky & privileged to get to do it."

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 21: Stacey Solomon launches the Nationwide 'Sing' Karaoke bus tour in aid of Chickenshed at Westfield London on May 21, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Joe Maher/Getty Images)
Stacey Solomon shares craft ideas with fans. (Getty Images)

Tidying up and decorating have become quite the side hustle for Solomon, who these days is as well known for her crafts and DIY skills as she is for singing or TV. The star is a huge fan of making her own bits and bobs for the home and is always giving her Instagram followers a peek at a freshly painted bench or a reupholstered chair she's been working on for her Pickle Cottage.

In 2021 she unveiled a book called Tap To Tidy, which shared lots of her top tips and hacks. It flew off the shelves, shifting thousands of copies in its first few days and becoming a best-seller. Solomon has gone on to have shows like Renovation Rescue, Craft Christmas and Sort Your Life Out, which sees the star helping families get rid of unwanted and unused to simplify their homes and lives.

The star has said many times that nothing is as important to her as family. Solomon is mum to sons Zachary, 16, and Leighton, 12, from previous relationships. She and EastEnders star Swash tied the knot in 2022 and they share son Rex, five, and daughters Rose, two, and Belle, one.

Speaking on the Glad We Had This Chat podcast, she revealed she had "conflicting" thoughts because while she wanted to fulfil her goals, her "ultimate dream" was to be with her children.

"I definitely feel like I’m at a pivotal moment in my life where Zachary is about to leave school and become an adult," she said. "I think I’m at a point in my life where I recognise that I’ve been really busy for his life, and his life is at a really important point, and my second son will get to that point before I know it. And then I've got these three babies. I don’t want to miss what I potentially feel like I missed with my older children.

“And I want to be there for my older children, who I think need me now more than ever. I've been battling with that in my head.”

The star said each year she meets with her team to discuss her five-year goals and that this time her goal was "to be a stay at home mum". “That is like my dream, my ultimate dream... I just want to be with my kids," she added.