You’ve just released your greatest hits album. Do you ever get tired of belting out the same songs?
Bonnie Tyler: No. And that’s the truth. I do loads of live shows, so how could I when everyone’s singing along with me? The atmosphere is fantastic.
What’s your favourite?
BT: Well, it would have to be Total Eclipse Of The Heart, because it won two Grammys. Then again Lost In France was my first hit record, and the first time I heard myself on the radio, which is quite something.
Do you still get nervous?
BT: A bit, yes. About five minutes before I go on stage I’m like, ‘I gotta pee.’ I’m always glad when I feel nervous, as you give a better performance. When you get too complacent, that’s when something goes wrong.
What’s the most rock ’n’ roll thing you’ve done?
BT: Let me think. I never threw a telly out of a window, I’m too sensible for that. I don’t take drugs. I like to have a few drinks after the show – never before, as I like to be in command – but it’s nice to wind down with my band.
Is it true you serenaded a pilot in mid-air?
BT: It’s not really true. I was on a flight from Mauritius, and I saw one of the captains had a party hat on – don’t forget there’s usually three of them on a big jumbo jet. Anyway, it was his last flight and he knew I was in first class, so he asked if he could get a photo with me. Apparently, these Belgian passengers saw us through the curtain having our picture taken together and obviously thought, ‘Who the hell’s looking after the plane?’ They kicked up a fuss and the story went all over the world. I didn’t sing for him, though.
You’re still touring, do you ever plan to retire?
BT: I said I’d calm down a bit when I got to this age, but it’s not happening. I have things coming in right, left and centre, and I really love being on stage. The travelling gets me down a bit – it’s so time consuming. Right now I’m trying to be off at least a couple of weeks in a month, so I can spend more time at my house in the Algarve.
Where do you get the best reception?
BT: Germany. My German fans are amazing and know all the words to my songs. Having said that I did a gig in Swansea that was wonderful. It was a while ago, but 12,000 people packed out Singleton Park, including my mum and dad. I tried to get mum to come up on stage and sing with me, but she was always too shy. She’s dead now, bless her, but she had an incredible voice.
How do you chill out?
BT: I love food. I love good restaurants. I just went skiing in Italy actually, and the food there was marvellous. I’m not a bad skiier, I’ve been going for 25 years. I love it. My husband Robert does too. He’s a bit of a sportsman – he went to the Olympics with our Judo team in the 70s. But when it comes to skiing, he’s only as good as me. Ha ha.
You’re mates with Catherine Zeta Jones, how did you meet?
BT: I’m more friends with her parents. Her father, Dave, is my husband Robert’s cousin, so we go out with them a lot. Through him we were invited to her wedding to Michael Douglas and I sang. She’s really lovely. Very down-to-earth and a wonderful mother.
What was the wedding like?
BT: It was fantastic. The only thing is I never drink before a gig, so I missed out on so many vintage champagnes. I wanted to do a bloody good job, but I wasn’t singing until midnight, so I had to wait. I made up for it afterwards, though – I went to bed at 7am.
Who are your heroes?
BT: I will never forget meeting Paul McCartney. When I was a girl The Beatles were mega. In the 70s I had my single, It’s A Heartache, out and he had Mull Of Kintyre, and we both happened to be recording in the same studio in St John’s Wood. The girl on reception told me he was in the other studio and I was like, ‘Ooh, what’s he like?’ I spent a lot of time in the communal kitchen hoping to bump into him, but I never did. This went on for four days and the receptionist must have told him, because on the fourth day, he walked straight into my studio and said, ‘Hey, what you up to?’ I couldn’t wait to tell my mum. But when I did she said, ‘Oh, but there’s no one quite like Robert, is there?’ As if I had any bloody chance with Paul!
If you weren’t singing, what job would you be doing?
BT: I’m fascinated with make-up, so something to do with that. I never go anywhere without it. I won’t answer the front door without it. Really, I don’t. Prince Charles could be broken down outside my house, but I’d still be like, ‘Hang on, Charles, I just gotta put my eyelashes on!’
Did you ever have a crap Saturday job?
BT: My first job was for a fruit and veg man, which wasn’t glam. Every Wednesday I’d unload the lorry, but believe it or not, I kinda liked it. I’d sing at night and work in the day, because I never thought I’d make a living out of music. I never got any freebies, though. They’d only give me the bruised fruit at the end of the week.
Who was your teen crush?
BT: I used to love The Beatles. I had a big poster behind my bed, and it was of the fab four in old-fashioned bathing suits. I had it from Jackie magazine. At the bottom of each Beatle was their autograph written in pen, and me – silly sod – thought Paul McCartney’s hand had touched that very paper and I used to kiss it every night.
What were you like at school?
BT: I went to the local comprehensive, because I pretended to be ill on the day of the 11+ exam. Not because I was naughty, just because I was terrified I’d end up at grammar school with the class bully. But I was really happy to go to the comp, because my older sister went to the local school and could look after me. They called me Titch back then, because I was little. I wasn’t a member of the school choir, believe it or not. They didn’t like my husky voice.
Do you have loads of celeb mates?
BT: No. I work so much I don’t really have time to mix with lots of celebs, and I don’t live in London. I tend to commute from Portugal or Wales to wherever. All my friends have normal jobs.
Do you get lots of fan mail?
BT: Yes, most people want autographs. I have got weird stuff in past. One little girl in Australia always sent me Mothers’ Day presents. She was convinced I was her mum and I gave her away. Another girl from Germany wanted me to adopt her as she didn’t like her own mum. That’s quite sad – I had such a wonderful mother, I can’t imagine why anyone else hasn’t. My biggest fan is my husband, to be honest.
How do you stay looking youthful?
BT: I’ve had botox and fillers for 12 years now. If you start at the first sign of lines you can’t develop them. I’m marvellous compared to how I should be at 55.
Doesn’t it hurt?
BT: I’m not squeamish about it at all. I remember telling Jonathan Ross about it on his radio show and he said, ‘Doesn’t it hurt?’ and I said, ‘No, they give you two balls to squeeze,’ and he’s like, ‘Two balls? Ouch!’ I said, ‘No! Rubber balls, Jonathan!’ It really isn’t that bad. But I’d never have it without numbing cream. Actually, I’m due for some again soon, I mustn’t forget.