Yet despite all this and regardless of her past glories – 85 million albums sold, an estimated net worth of £21 million, kick-starting the girl power movement, hanging out with Prince Charles, Nelson Mandela and Madonna – this mother of two has maintained a rock-solid family and loyal set of friends. Her mum, Pauline (a karate teacher), her younger brother Paul, and her dad, Trevor (a milkman who separated from her mum when she was 11), remain the bedrock of her life, and they speak every day without fail.
Her mates are the same girls she went to Sylvia Young Theatre School with – actor Keeley Hawes, and Melanie Blatt and Nicole and Natalie Appleton, who went on to become All Saints. ‘Nothing really changes,’ she laughs. This is a girl who had a night out with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but whose mum ended up going off with them to get a tattoo. (‘She was always way cooler than me.’) She shakes her head. ‘I’ve always had a very strong sense of who I am, where I come from and what I want.’ She leans forward. ‘And I’ve been bloody lucky.’