Jane McDonald has said she was left with nothing after her husband took over managing her career.
The singer, who shot to fame on fly-on-the-wall TV series The Cruise, said she “should have been a multi-millionaire” after a string of albums, tours and books but did not have any money in the bank.
McDonald met engineer Henrik Brixen, who she eventually split from in 2002, while working on the cruise ship, when he came to fix the ship’s boiler.
She said she felt relief when he took over as her manager, but came to realise this was a mistake.
Writing in her autobiography Riding The Waves, serialised in The Mirror, she said: “He was so bright, but I was beginning to worry he might be out of his depth.
“I should have looked closer at the contracts I signed and the financial implications, but I was gullible and clueless.
“Your manager is your boss and tells you what to do, what to wear and who to be, so our relationship changed. I loved him with all my heart, but felt he’d stopped looking at me as a wife. I became a product.
“I couldn’t flourish in a relationship like this. Arguments were not only between manager and artist, but also husband and wife.
“The lines were too blurred. I was a slightly overweight Northern woman in her 30s but the stylists wanted me to be classier. ‘Cut your hair, lose weight, stop talking, put your arms away…’
“I lost confidence and became introverted. Henrik and I once talked about having children but there wasn’t room for babies in his plans for me.”
She became concerned when friends pointed out she should have enough money to make investments, writing: “I went into the office and scoured the accounts: there was no money anywhere. I couldn’t believe it.
“I’d never had a minute’s peace. I’d had albums out, books out, tours sold out, a top TV show… I should have been a multi-millionaire, but I didn’t have any money in the bank.
“I had left everything on the business side to Henrik, but now I took over. Eventually, I came to the devastating conclusion that I really did have nothing left.
“I told Henrik ‘I’m firing you as my manager’. My work had dried up and it felt as if the whole industry had turned their backs on us.”