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Leona Lewis is one of the finest talents to have ever been discovered on TV talent shows. Since winning The X Factor in 2006, she has become a hugely popular and successful star. Here are some of the most interesting facts about the singer-songwriter.
Leona was born on April 3, 1985. She turns 33 years old in 2018. She was born in Islington, London, to a Welsh mother and a father of Guyanese descent. She has an older half-brother, Bradley, and a younger brother, Kyle.
Her parents enrolled her at the Sylvia Young Theatre School, and later at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts, the Ravenscourt Theatre School and the BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology. She attended the BRIT School the same year as Adele and Jessie J, while Amy Winehouse was also a student. At 17, Leona decided to leave BRIT School to "get out there" and pursue a career in music.
For a time, she worked as a receptionist at a solicitor's office, and as a Pizza Hut waitress in order to pay for studio sessions. At 18, she secured a lead role in The Lion King in Paris. Sadly, she was forced to quit after injuring her back while she was ice-skating.
Leona recorded a demo album, called 'Twilight', but it failed to secure her an album deal. A second demo album was recorded, 'Best Kept Secret', but it was also unsuccessful. She later said: "I tried to secure a record deal by doing things my own way. I worked very hard but I never managed to land a contract. That's why I decided to audition for The X Factor. It's programmes like these which provide the best place to showcase fresh new talent."
Leona was the third winner of ITV's The X Factor, beating Ray Quinn in the final. Her winner's single 'A Moment Like This' was the Christmas number one for 2006, was the year's second best-selling single, and sold just under a million copies.
Her second single 'Bleeding Love' was co-written by Jesse McCartney and OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder. It sold over a million copies in the UK alone, and reached number one in 35 countries, including Japan, Germany and the United States. It was only the second song in history to achieve this feat, agter Elton John's 'Candle in the Wind 1997'.
Leona's debut album 'Spirit' sold over 8 million copies worldwide, and was the fourth best-selling album in the UK for the 2000s. It contained the singles 'Bleeding Love', 'Footprints in the Sand', 'Better in Time', 'Forgive Me' and her cover of Snow Patrol's 'Run'.
In August 2008, Leona performed 'Whole Lotta Love' with Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page at the 2008 Summer Olympics closing ceremony in Beijing, representing the handover to London as the host of the 2012 Games.
Leona has released five albums as of 2018: Spirit (2007), Echo (2009), Glassheart (2012), Christmas, With Love (2013) and I Am (2015).
As of 2018, Leona hasn't confirmed any upcoming album plans. In June 2016, after two years with Island Records, it was announced that she had parted ways because of "something that didn't click".
Leona Lewis has an estimated net worth of $24 million (£17.1 million).
At a book signing in October 2009, at a Waterstones book store in central London, Leona was assaulted by a 29-year-old man named Peter Kopwalczyk, who began punching her in the head. He was arrested at the scene, and sectioned under the Mental Health Act 2007, and was charged with common assault. He admitted to the incident and was hospitalised.
Leona has been dating Dennis Jauch since 2010. German choreographer and entrepreneur Dennis previously worked as a backing dancer on Leona's UK tour.
Leona has been a vegetarian since she was 12, and she has been vegan since September 2012. She won PETA's 'Sexiest Vegetarian', along with Red Hot Chili Peppers singer Anthony Kiedis, in 2008. She also was named PETA's 'Person of the Year' for 2008. Leona is also a supporter of World Animal Protection and is a patron of the Hopefield Animal Sanctuary in Brentwood, Essex.
Leona made her movie debut in the 2014 '80s musical Walking on Sunshine, playing the supporting role of Elena. In the film, she sang various '80s classics, including the title track.
In March 2016, Leona headlined Cirque du Soleil's 'One Night for One Drop' performance in Las Vegas. Later that year, she made her Broadway debut, as Grizabella, in the revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical 'Cats'. She left the role, after almost four months.
Leona has a mezzo-soprano vocal range, which spans four octaves, and has had classical training. She has stated that she practises operatic scales every week.