With her distinctive velvet and iron voice and her vintage style glamor, she was one of the hottest singers of her generation – she won a Grammy, three Britons and an Ivor Novello prize, conquered America and earned £ 20 million for her record company .
Her debut album Rockferry was the world’s fourth best-selling album in 2008 and sold 9 million copies.
But while some contemporaries such as Adele achieved huge global successes, Duffy simply. . . disappeared.
Her second album, Endlessly, flopped in 2010 and that was it.
Duffy’s debut album Rockferry was the world’s fourth best-selling album in 2008 and sold 9 million copies. But while some contemporaries such as Adele achieved huge global successes, Duffy simply. . . disappeared, writes Alison Boshoff
Every now and then people wondered what came of the 5 ft 2in Welsh blonde bombshell that had fascinated the public imagination. Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans played her hit Mercy in 2017 and asked listeners: “What happened to Duffy? She used to lead Adele. She couldn’t have been bigger then. “
Occasionally, someone in the showbiz world reported that he had seen her or worked with her.
A friend told me that he met her a few years ago to talk about a professional association that came to nothing and described her as “Sweet but a little eccentric, a little strange.”
Another source said that there was a private situation around 2012 in which she had a very difficult time.
But otherwise her withdrawal was complete. She fell so completely out of sight that it was not even clear where she lived recently.
She moved out of a £ 12 million penthouse in Kensington in 2012, and from that moment on she was not on a list in the country.
The Welsh singer, pictured at the Grammy 2009 with Paul McCartney, won a Grammy, three Britons and an Ivor Novello award, conquered America and earned £ 20 million for her record company
It was said that she lived quietly in South London, although there were even claims that she was temporarily staying with a friend in Abersoch, Wales.
Now, after the moving statement on her Instagram account, which was released on Tuesday night, some light has been shed on the mystery of Duffy’s disappearance as she revealed that she had taken the time to deal with a huge personal trauma.
Suddenly, after years of silence, she announced: “Many of you wonder what happened to me, where did I disappear and why. . .
“The truth is and please trust me that I am OK and safe now, I have been raped and drugged and detained for several days. Of course I survived.
“The recovery took time. There is no light way to say it, but I can tell you in the last decade, the thousands and thousands of days I have dedicated to wanting to feel the sun in my heart again, the sun is shining now. “
Apparently inspired by the guilty verdicts in the Weinstein trial on Monday, Duffy (35) indicated that this had happened ten years ago and that she had revealed everything to an unnamed journalist last summer.
Now she prepared to tell her story more fully and possibly pick up the thread of her career.
So completely Duffy (pictured with her gongs at the Brit Awards in 2009) has disappeared from view that it was not even clear where she lived recently. She moved from a £ 12m penthouse in Kensington in 2012 and from that moment on she was not on a list of lands in the country
Her father John, a former bar boss who lives in a modest terraced house in Nefyn, on the Llyn peninsula, indicated that she had fought demons last summer.
In an unpublished interview, John, who is close to his famous daughter, described her long break as “a quiet period.”
At the time, he said that she might be getting ready to come back, but she would also choose not to return.
“She never stopped writing music. It is what she has always done. She has just not been in the public eye lately, “he said before adding:” She has a lot for her. It is up to her what she does and I will always support her and support her decisions. She is my flesh and blood. “
He said there had been no other boyfriend since the rugby star Mike Phillips from Wales, whom she had described as the love of her life and from whom she separated in 2011.
Duffy’s father John said that since Wales, rugby star Mike Phillips (pictured together in 2010) had not been another boyfriend, whom she had described as the love of her life and from whom she separated in 2011
“She’s not involved with anyone at the moment. I can assure you she didn’t have any children, “he said.
He said he was in contact with her and saw her regularly, but did not want to talk about where she could be.
Asked about her possible comeback – finally Duffy said that she would return “soon” in an Instagram post in 2017 – he shook his head.
He added: “No, I cannot speak. Nothing good would come of it. “
At that time, her stepfather Philip Smith, who lives with Duffy’s mother Joyce in Letterston, near Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, refused to talk about her.
Neighbor Robert Rees said, however, that her withdrawal had confused the local community. He said: “I know Duffy well, but I haven’t seen her in years – it was a long time ago.
“I think she can still get along with her parents, but I haven’t seen her at home. I think they visit her now and then, but I don’t know where she lives.
“She hasn’t made music in so long – I don’t know what happened to her.”
Nobody, it seems, knew about the secret she had.
Aimee Ann Duffy was born in June 1984 – one of the twins. She grew up as a Welsh speaker in Nefyn, a small, close-knit city without a record store or cinema.
Her mother Joyce and father John ran the social Constitutional Club. There were no instruments in the house, but young Duffy was fascinated by music.
“I focused on the classics that were played on the radio, such as Sam Cooke and Marvin Gaye. It was so lively. I could think of the idea that the sun won’t shine anymore, “she said.
“If someone had given me a guitar, who knows what could have happened? But my voice was the only instrument I had. “
When she and twin sister Katy were six and the older sister Kelly was ten, her parents announced they were getting a divorce. The sisters were crying so much that the couple stayed together for four more years.
Eventually Mother Joyce went on with agricultural trader Philip Smith and took the girls 200 miles to Pembrokeshire to be with him.
Now, after the moving statement on her Instagram account (photo), which was released on Tuesday night, some light has been shed on the mystery of Duffy’s disappearance as she revealed she had taken the time to deal with a huge personal trauma
Before she left, Duffy wrote on the wall of the family home, behind a curtain, “I love you daddy” because she didn’t want to leave him. When he later redecorated the house, he painted around the message.
It was astonishing for young Aimee to be in an English-language school and in a new house with a stepfather, his four children, and an uncle and aunt.
Duffy said, “We kept talking to Welsh, so the kids thought we were weird. We quickly learned that we would not survive if we did. “
Life was difficult – she called it “dog eats dog” in the new family. “If you had a chocolate bar that you had bought with some money that you had found, there was outrage in the house:” Why do you have one? “But small things were what we came to. We just had nothing. “
Drama came when her stepfather’s first wife, Dawn, offered a £ 3,000 acquaintance to kill him after he had won the permanent custody of their four children.
Duffy and the rest of the family had to live in a safe house for a spell. When she was 15, Duffy decided to return to Nefyn alone to be with her father again.
Duffy’s (shown on Radio 1’s Big Weekend in 2008) came out in 2003 when she entered the Welsh equivalent of The X Factor, called Wawffactor
Afterwards she mused: “It was terrible to do. Me, my two sisters and my mother were stuck together through thick and thin, and when I left it was as if I said, “F *** you.”
“But I just had to do something because it killed me.”
Her teenage years with her father were wild. “From 15 to 18 I did everything – body piercing to 48-hour beach parties, stealing someone’s boat at night and rowing from one place to another when we were drunk, jumping on a milk float for a lift to House.’
An aunt told her that she would have a single mother on benefits – but in the meantime she was fixated on her ambitions to make it as a singer and songwriter.
Duffy’s Instagram statement completely
You can only imagine how often I thought of writing this. How I would write it, how I would feel afterwards.
Well, not quite sure why is the right time now, and what it feels exciting and liberating to talk. I can not explain.
Many of you wonder what happened to me, where I disappeared and why.
A journalist contacted me, he found a way to reach me and I told him everything last summer.
He was friendly and it felt so wonderful to finally speak.
The truth is, and please trust me that it is good and safe now, I have been raped and drugged and detained for several days. Of course I survived.
The recovery took time. There is no light way to say it. But I can tell you in the last decade, the thousands and thousands of days that I have dedicated to wanting to feel the sun in my heart again, the sun is shining now.
You wonder why I chose not to use my voice to express my pain? I didn’t want to show the world the sadness in my eyes.
I wondered: how can I sing from the heart when it is broken? And it broke out slowly.
In the coming weeks I will post a spoken interview. If you have any questions, I would like to answer them in the spoken interview, if I can. I have a holy love and genuine appreciation for your kindness over the years. You have been friends. I want to thank you for that x
Respect this as a gentle move for me, for myself, and I don’t want a break-in in my family. Please support me to make this a positive experience.
Duffy did A-levels, quit the University of Chester and served himself and worked locally in clothing stores. But most of the time she wrote songs at the kitchen table and sang in various local bands.
She even spent a year in Switzerland with a music producer after answering an advertisement in a newspaper.
Her major breakthrough came in 2003 when she entered the Welsh equivalent of The X Factor called Wawffactor.
She came in second, but impressed one of the jury members, Owen Powell from rock band Catatonia. After working on her sound for three years, she signed a record deal in 2007 and her debut album Rockferry was released the following year.
The enormous success made her self-aware. She told an interviewer: “I feel pretty embarrassed and shy and pretty scared. My achievement was really to make the record and I’m not going to lie to you and say that I didn’t want everyone to buy it. I wanted the record to do everything it had to do, but I didn’t really want to be associated with it because I wasn’t proud of myself. I have never been proud of myself. There is so much more to do. “
Her twin sister Katy moved to London with her, and older sister Kelly ended up just two doors away.
She decided to take a few years to take stock.
She considered stopping – especially after being mocked for a 2009 coke light advertisement in which she sang while cycling through a store. She said: “Life had become so complicated. I found it difficult to operate as a 25-year-old woman in the music industry. I could not make a decision because I was apparently very “tired” and “emotionally exhausted.”
“And what am I doing my work for? I don’t do it to be worshiped or admired, to make money or to be successful – I do it to do something of excellence. So I thought, “Maybe I’m not doing this at all.” “
She told another interviewer: “It was a wild, exciting experience and sometimes it felt like I was falling apart at the seams.”
This interruption was a period of change. She separated herself from the producers Jeanette Lee and Bernard Butler and collaborated with the experienced producer Albert Hammond.
She also started dating Wales and British Lions scrum-half Michael Phillips, who grew up in Carmarthen. It was her first serious romance since college.
She lyrically: “He’s devilishly handsome – and cheeky – and I just enjoy him so much, as a treat.”
They broke up in the summer of 2011 and again, after trying to make it, finally in October.
In the meantime the album Endlessly, released in November 2010, had been flopped.
Bad luck followed. She dropped her manager Angela Becker – who then prosecuted her in an action that seems to have been settled out of court. Her flat was burned in a devastating fire in 2012.
Under pressure, grieving her stalled career and her failed romance, she was a no-show at various events – canceling a performance in Monaco in 2011 and in Dubai in 2012.
And somewhere, in the middle of it all, came the gripping attack. Who did it, when and why, still remains a mystery. It is not even clear whether she has reported this to the police or whether she has told her family.
Years of retreat followed. Her sister Katy, who had been her PA, left the Duffy company and started working for a charity for the environment.
Duffy recorded a few small projects – which appeared as a singer in the 2015 film Legend about the Krays. There were plans for her to appear in another film, Secret Love, which was announced at the Cannes film festival in 2014, but was never made.
She signed another management agreement that expired without the release of music. Albert Hammond claimed they were recording a new album, but again no music was released.
In a newspaper interview in 2014, Duffy’s former mentor, Bernard Butler, said: “She got off the rails and it all became pear-shaped for her. And maybe she brought all those problems to herself.
“But I have always had a lot of sympathy for her because she was young, from this small village in Wales, and she was just hurled into the fire.
“Of course she went off the rails.”
As she herself said: “I had to turn down the volume. I lost sight of what this was all about. Suddenly I was a product, a company, a businesswoman. But most of the time I wanted to be human. “
Now, after her devastating revelation, the older, stronger, healing Duffy may feel ready to try again, and the world can hear that beautiful voice again.