The female Boss hasn’t had the easiest few years. A leaked sex tape, trouble with the law, a drug sting, alleged fisticuffs at festivals and some fairly unusual cosmetic surgery choices.
But she’s back with a bang and a new single, all previous drama seemingly put to bed. Yahoo Celeb caught up with her just a few hours after her grilling from Piers Morgan live on GMB, and despite what was quite toe-curling viewing, 28-year-old Tulisa was surprisingly relaxed.
The trout pout is gone, she’s confident, warm and funny but as she assured me: ‘I may have gotten softer but I’m still a tough cookie.’
One of the biggest challenges she’s faced since her comeback is changing the public perception of her.
For someone who was known more for scandal and misbehaving rather than for being a serious musician, how hard was it to convince her fans she was now legit?
Tulisa said: ‘The proof is in the pudding – you just have to work your butt off and let the results do the talking.
‘It doesn’t matter how many interviews you do or how much you try and convince people, they will think what they think.
‘I’m more relaxed now in my own skin, I’m less defensive… I don’t feel the need as much to constantly explain myself.’
Tulisa is also proudly single at the moment, claiming she’s too busy for love. But she hasn’t ruled out meeting someone and despite not having the best of luck in the past with people she trusted (a previous boyfriend leaked explicit footage of them both in 2012), she says she is determined not to be bitter.
Tulisa said: ‘You’d think I’d find it really hard to trust new people because of what happened but I still wear my heart on my sleeve.
‘I don’t want to let negative things make me bitter or angry – then I’d feel they were winning. I don’t want that.
‘So I actually make more effort to give people a chance, you’re innocent until proven guilty, not the other way round – I should know that better than anyone.
‘I don’t want to live in a unhealthy bubble surrounded by minders and security.’
But what is Tulisa’s ideal man? A big, hairy manly man apparently.
She told us: ‘I really fancy Rick Grimes from Walking Dead (played by Andrew Lincoln)
‘I don’t even like beards, he’s just such a man.
‘My type is definitely quite alpha male, not meterosexual. I like strong males.’
Sweet Like Chocolate video
Tulisa also confessed that she’s excited about watching this series of The X Factor with her cat - and that she sees herself as a young Sharon Osbourne.
This year’s show sees veteran judges Louis Walsh and Shazza return to the panel after a somewhat lacklustre spell last year with newcomers Rita Ora and Nick Grimshaw.
And when asked if she’s ever return to judging she said: ‘never say never’.
Tulisa added: ‘I still talk to Louis all the time. And Sharon is like me in years to come!
‘It’s not been in the forefront of my mind to return because part of the celebrity situation came from the back of that show and I became more well known – I became more of a celebrity rather than a musician.
‘So right now I’m so dead set in getting back into music again I’m not connecting the two.
‘Obviously never say never but it’s not something I’m thinking about at the moment.
‘I’ll always have a soft spot for X Factor as it catapulted my fame and I have so much respect for it and what it did for me. I love Simon and the whole team.
And finally the questions on everyone’s lips - will there be an N Dubz reunion?
Tulisa teased: ‘I would always get back to N Dubz, even at 80 with a zimmer frame. I can’t tell you the bond we have, since the age of 11.
‘So it wouldn’t be a surprise if it did happen…’
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Sweet Like Chocolate feat. Akelle is out now