Ambition, children and why Katherine Jenkins fell out of tune with her fianc
Determined: Friends of Katherine Jenkins said the singer's goal is become a star in America and 'something had to give'
The rigours of her hectic schedule being what they are, there will be precious little time over the coming days for Katherine Jenkins to sit around moping.
This is probably just as well, though few would blame the blonde mezzo-soprano if she set aside time for feeling sorry for herself given her announcement at the weekend that she and her fianc Gethin Jones have broken off their ten-month engagement.
As those who know her best will verify, however, the driven Katherine is not one to dwell on thoughts of what might have been.
Besides, there is much to distract her from her heartache, not least her latest album and a tour that starts this week in Oxford, before she ventures yet again further afield to Japan, America and Australia next month.
Indeed, her return to these shores for the festive season came hard on the heels of a dash to New York to perform at the Christmas tree lighting in Rockefeller Plaza and a four-day promotional trip to Tokyo.
This must make her all-too-brief return to her family home in Neath a welcome antidote. She joined family and a few friends for their annual Christmas Eve drink at the Cross Keys pub, close to the working-class estate where she grew up with her younger sister Laura.
The difference this year was that for the first time since they started dating four years ago, Welsh-born TV presenter Gethin was not at her side.
Instead, the couple went on Twitter last Friday to announce that their relationship, which had seemed on course for a 2012 wedding, was over.
Former Blue Peter presenter Gethin, 33, tweeted: 'Hi everybody. I'm deeply sad to tell you that Kath and I have ended our relationship as a couple. We are both heartbroken.'
Just three minutes later, Katherine, 31, wrote: 'Sorry for being quiet of late, it's just that I have some very sad news. Geth & I have decided to go our separate ways. We are both beyond broken-hearted.'
It has all come as something of a bolt from the blue, particularly for Gethin's parents, retired headmaster Goronwy and his wife Sylvia.
Family friends say they had no idea there were problems until their son told them Katherine would not be celebrating New Year's Eve with them.
Happier times: The couple had achieved the almost impossible, a scandal free celebrity relationship but friends said cracks started to show when Katherine wouldn't set a date for their wedding
So what went wrong for the golden couple who had, from the outside at least, seemed to have achieved that showbiz rarity: a rock-solid, scandal-free celebrity relationship
Speak to their circle, as I have done over the weekend, and the conversation will inevitably turn to the subject of Katherine's career and what one executive at her record company described to me as her 'all-consuming, vaulting ambition'.
Someone who works with her publicity firm puts it more diplomatically: 'Katherine has set herself very demanding goals. She desperately wants to establish herself as a bona fide international star, particularly in America.
It's over: Katherine Jenkins and Gethin Jones, pictured at Royal Ascot in June, have split up after four years together
'It requires great dedication, single-mindedness and an awful lot of time away from home. You try to keep all the balls in the air, but inevitably something has to give.'
In fact, there has been some knowing eye-rolling among friends loyal to Gethin that Katherine implied in her Twitter message that she had suspended her usually prolific bulletins on the social network site while she came to terms with the break-up.
'She was only off the air for two days!' one said. 'I know she is genuinely very upset that things haven't worked out, but she doesn't exactly give the impression of having been blubbing her heart out on the sofa.'
Central to the couple's problems, it seems, was the vexed question of when they should start a family.
Sad news: Jenkins revealed she had split from Jones on her Twitter page
Heartbreak: The TV presenter confirmed the split on his Twitter page
It had become, say members of her team, an increasingly thorny issue, with Gethin pushing in recent months for them to fix a date for their long-awaited wedding so they could begin trying for a baby.
His desire for them to get on with having children has come, they say, after a series of career hiccups for the handsome Gethin, who was deeply disappointed to be replaced by comedian Paddy McGuinness as presenter of the high-rating ITV1 series 71 Degrees North.
Meanwhile, his Sunday night game show Holding Out For A Hero, which started in September, was the victim of stinging reviews and desperately disappointing viewing figures, despite its prime-time slot.
So it was a bit of a kick in the teeth for Gethin when he was publicly taunted about being in his girlfriend's shadow by comedian Rob Brydon when the couple made their last public appearance together in the audience on Michael McIntyre's Christmas Comedy Roadshow, which was shown on BBC1 on Christmas Day.
Tennis fans: The couple together at Wimbledon in July
As a spotlight picked them out, Brydon introduced them to the crowd saying: 'She was the first person to be No.1 and No.2 in the classical charts at the same time. And Gethin . . . Gethin is her fianc.' A joke, of course, but dangerously close to home, it would appear.
Perhaps with his stuttering career in mind, Gethin — who presented his fiance with a 10,000 diamond engagement ring on holiday in Mexico last February — has been insisting recently that he is determined his career should take a back seat to his wish to become a husband and father. 'Work was my life,' he said in November. 'Now I want to be a father, but I'd like to get married first.'
At the same time, however, he hinted that his beautiful and talented fiance's ambition was a major stumbling block.
'I'm sure she's going to be massive globally soon,' he added. 'So let's hope she doesn't forget me really.'
Katherine, who has become a latter-day Forces sweetheart over recent years with her performances for British troops in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kosovo, responded by giving a tearful interview to the Mail's Weekend magazine at the beginning of last month in which she confided she longed to give up her dazzling career to have babies.
'I'm sure she's going to be massive globally soon So let's hope she doesn't forget me really'
'Growing up with my family gave me some of my best memories,' she said. 'I'd like to have a family of my own — slip away for a bit and do nothing but spend those early years with my children.'
You do rather get the impression, however, that her more pressing craving is to build on her already highly successful career.
Certainly, Katherine, who was brought up by her radiographer mother, Susan, and factory worker father, Selwyn, before his death from cancer when his daughter was 15, can afford not to work.
The former music teacher has a fortune reported to be around the 15 million mark thanks to eight hit albums in seven years.
In 2008, she signed a 5.8 million deal with Warner Bros — said to be the biggest ever classical recording contract.
Her ascent to becoming one of our most bankable — and seemingly squeaky clean — musical stars was not even derailed by her confession two years ago that she had taken cocaine, Ecstasy and baked cannabis cookies while she was a student in London
And it has won her an enviable lifestyle. In the summer of 2010, she and Jones moved into a lavish 4.7 million eight-bedroom house in leafy Richmond, South-West London, though earlier this year the couple raised eyebrows when they decided to rent it out temporarily.
Those surrounding her say Katherine has become preoccupied of late with her faltering bid to crack America. In fact, the promise of success across the Atlantic, and a new more pop-orientated approach, was, according to record company sources, a significant lure for Warner Bros executives when they signed her.
However, despite two years of trying, she has barely managed to dent the U.S. charts, despite working on her last two albums with acclaimed Canadian producer David Foster, who has written for Barbra Streisand and Whitney Houston, and American John Shanks, the man behind Celine Dion and Sting hits.
Just last month, Katherine admitted ruefully that though she has hired Madonna's famously hard-nosed publicist Liz Rosenberg, she is virtually unknown in America.
Publicly taunted: Gethin laughed at comedian Rob Brydon's joke that he was in his girlfriend's shadow when the couple made their last public appearance together in the audience on Michael McIntyre's Christmas Comedy Roadshow. But the jibe was close to home
Even so, her attempts to win over the
country (she has just performed at Disneyland's Christmas Parade), plus a
recent tour of Australia and New Zealand with Placido Domingo, means
that she and Jones had to become used to long spells apart.
Inevitably, such regular separations can lead to insecurity when it comes to the subject of members of the opposite sex.
few weeks ago, Gethin admitted Katherine was envious of his on-screen
relationship with his attractive co-presenter, zoologist Dr Charlotte
Uhlenbroek, who has been dubbed the Lara Croft of wildlife presenting.
and brunette Dr Uhlenbroek, 43, who is married, appear together in
ITV1's The Adventurer's Guide To Britain, in which they visit holiday
It has led him to
refer jokingly to his co-star as his 'other woman', and confess:
'Charlotte and I had six really amazing weekends away. I think Kath was
probably quite jealous as I was having so much fun with another woman.'
Katherine struck back last month by light-heartedly describing handsome American singer Nathan Pacheco, with whom she is performing on her upcoming tour, as 'my husband'.
And gossips being what they are, while dating Gethin two years ago, Katherine was linked to dashing Lance Corporal Ryan Idzi of military singing trio The Soldiers.
They are said to have had dinner together before spending the evening playing computer games in Katherine's suite at the Lowry Hotel in Manchester.
'Katherine is upset — they both are — but she's throwing herself into work as usual'
To add to the pressure, Katherine recently revealed that she had endured a year of online bullying and abuse at the hands of a mystery stalker.
The announcement that their engagement is off is a sad denouement to a love affair that first flickered when Katherine appeared as a guest on Blue Peter in 2005 when Gethin was a presenter.
But it was not until two years later that she and Jones became an item after she appeared as a singing guest on Strictly Come Dancing on which Gethin — who had become an instant hit with the show's female viewers — was one of the celebrity contestants.
However, despite them excitedly posting news of their engagement on Twitter ten months ago, the assertive Katherine had recently taken to quietly instructing her PRs to warn interviewers off asking about their wedding plans.
Increasingly, her reasons for why they were delaying tying the knot became all the more head-scratching. She used the Olympics, the Queen's Jubilee and even her sister's forthcoming 30th birthday as excuses for why they could not fit in getting hitched in 2012.
'I think, in the end, Gethin just got tired of asking her,' says a close friend.
'Katherine is upset — they both are — but she's throwing herself into work as usual.'
Which, it seems, is the fiercely ambitious singer's remedy for her broken heart.