I'm a Celebrity: Who is Russell Watson? Singer's wife, daughters, illness, career and more facts

18 November 2020, 17:58

Russell Watson
Russell Watson. Picture: Getty

By Tom Eames

Russell Watson is one of the UK's most successful tenors of his generation, and the singer is now appearing in the 2020 series of I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!

Russell Watson has built up a big fanbase over the years thanks to his singing ability, but he now stands to win a new legion of fans when he enters the 'castle' in I'm a Celeb alongside the likes of Shane Richie, Vernon Kay and Giovanna Fletcher.

But what is Russell best known for and who is his wife? Here's all the important facts:

  1. Who is Russell Watson?

    Russell Watson is an English tenor, who has recorded music in both operatic-style and pop songs.

    He started singing as a child, and first found attention after performing at a working men's club.

    He found fame in 1999 when he sang 'God Save the Queen' at the Rugby League Challenge Cup Final at Wembley Stadium, 'Barcelona' at the last match of the Premiership season at Old Trafford, and a full set of songs at the 1999 UEFA Champions League Final, which Manchester United won.

    Russell released his debut album The Voice in May 2001, followed by four more.

  2. Russell Watson illness: What was he diagnosed with?

    Russell Watson leaves hospital with daughters Rebecca and Hannah in 2007
    Russell Watson leaves hospital with daughters Rebecca and Hannah in 2007. Picture: Getty

    In 2005, Russell started having headaches, which he described as "like a knife being pressed into the bridge of my nose".

    After seeing a specialist, he was at first told he was just suffering from stress, but when his peripheral vision started to get worse in 2006, he visited another specialist. They also said he was suffering from stress.

    In September 2006, Russell flew to Los Angeles to record his next album That's Life. On the flight, he began experiencing pressure inside his skull. When they landed, his producer suggested they play a game of tennis to clear his head.

    However, he could not see the ball when playing. After having an MRI scan, he was advised that he had a developing pituitary adenoma, which was the size of two golf balls.

    He later said: "Since an early age I've had an in-built premonition, a vision that I wouldn't make 40. For the previous seven years I'd have a recurring nightmare in which my head exploded. And here I was with a brain tumour on the eve of my 40th birthday; I thought, 'This is it, I was right, I knew it'."

    Russell has said that the tumours were "like a figure of eight, one filling the frontal cavity of my skull, the other forced through into the top of my nose."

    Tests confirmed that the tumour was benign.

    Back in the UK, he had a five-hour emergency operation to remove the eight-centimetre lump. Afterwards, he could hardly walk, and the tumour also affected his pituitary gland which controls hormone levels.

    He explained: "My mood swings went from ecstatic to suicidal. I remember one night standing on the balcony, full of dark thoughts and self-pity, thinking 'God, this is f**king terrible, why me?' I went back to bed, couldn't sleep, got up again. I thought I'd had enough."

    In October 2007, Russell became suddenly incapacitated. An MRI scan showed he had a regrowth of the tumour, with bleeding into his brain.

    He underwent emergency surgery to remove the tumour in Manchester, and was in a critical condition.

    Russell later underwent an extensive rehab programme, including radiotherapy, but recovered.

  3. Russell Watson wife: Is he married and does he have children?

    Russell Watson and wife Louise
    Russell Watson and wife Louise. Picture: Getty

    In August 2015, Russell Watson married his girlfriend of five years, former receptionist Louise Harris, in Spain.

    He was previously married to his wife Helen, with whom he has two children: Rebecca and Hannah.

  4. Russell Watson age: How old is he?

    Russell Watson was born on November 24, 1966. He celebrates his 54th birthday in 2020.

    He was born in Irlam in Lancashire.