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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 celebrates her 34th birthday in 2019. 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.
Leona has been dating Dennis Jauch since 2010. German choreographer and entrepreneur Dennis previously worked as a backing dancer on Leona's UK tour. They announced their engagement in November 2018.
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.
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."
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.
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 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.
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.