Sarah Brightman facts: Opera singer's age, husband, songs and career explained

11 July 2023, 15:09

Sarah Brightman in 1987
Sarah Brightman in 1987. Picture: Getty

By Tom Owen

Sarah Brightman is one of the most successful singers of her generation.

When she first emerged as a member of the dance troupe Hot Gossip, followed by several disco singles as a solo artist, no-one would have imagined the incredible career she would go on to have.

In 1981, she made her West End debut in Cats, meeting composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, her future husband.

Sarah Brightman went on to appear in several West End and Broadway musicals, including The Phantom of the Opera, where she originated the role of Christine Daaé.

She retired from the stage in the 1990s, and she has since resumed her music career with former Enigma producer Frank Peterson, as a classical crossover artist.

Sarah has been labelled as the creator and one of the most famous performers of the classical crossover genre, with sales of over 25 million albums and two million DVDs. She is the world's best-selling soprano.

In particular, her 1996 duet with Andrea Bocelli on 'Time to Say Goodbye', was a massive success, topping the charts across Europe, and is now one of the best-selling singles of all time.

Sarah also became the first artist to have been invited twice to perform the theme song at the Olympic Games, first in 1992 in Barcelona, and again in 2008 in Beijing.

She is also known for her charity work, and was appointed as the UNESCO Artist for Peace for 2012 to 2014.

  1. How old is Sarah Brightman and where is she from?

    Sarah Brightman in 2023
    Sarah Brightman in 2023. Picture: Getty

    Sarah Brightman was born on August 14, 1960. She celebrated her 62nd birthday in 2022.

    She is the eldest of six children of parents Grenville Geoffrey Brightman (1934–1992), a businessman, and Paula Brightman, née Hall.

    She was raised in Little Gaddesden near Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire.

  2. When did she get her start in music?

    Sarah Brightman in 2004
    Sarah Brightman in 2004. Picture: Getty

    Aged just three, Sarah Brightman began taking dance and piano classes.

    She performed in local festivals and competitions, and aged 11 she successfully auditioned for the Tring Park School for the Performing Arts.

    She had her education at Elmhurst Ballet School, Birmingham, the Arts Educational School in Chiswick, West London, and the Royal College of Music.

    In 1973, aged 13, she made her debut in the musical I and Albert at the Piccadilly Theatre, London, playing one of Queen Victoria's daughters.

    In 1976, she joined Arlene Phillips' group Hot Gossip. The group had a disco hit in 1978 with 'I Lost My Heart to a Starship Trooper'. She was also briefly with Pan's People.

    She then released a couple of her own disco songs, including a cover of the song 'My Boyfriend's Back'.

  3. Is Sarah Brightman married and does she have kids?

    Sarah Brightman and Andrew Lloyd Webber in 1983
    Sarah Brightman and Andrew Lloyd Webber in 1983. Picture: Getty

    Aged 18, Sarah Brightman married Andrew Graham-Stewart in 1979. At the time, he managed the German band Tangerine Dream.

    She later met Andrew Lloyd Webber when she performed in Cats. In 1983, she divorced Graham-Stewart and later in the year, Lloyd Webber divorced his first wife, Sarah Hugill, with whom he had two children.

    Lloyd Webber and Brightman married on in March 1984. They stayed married until their divorce in 1990.

    However, they are still friends, she has appeared in various celebrations of his work over the years since.

    Sarah also had a 10-year relationship with Frank Peterson.

    In 2006, she told Hello! that motherhood would have been "lovely", but accepted that she would never have a child.

  4. What are Sarah Brightman's most famous songs?

    Andrew Lloyd Webber, Sarah Brightman, Cliff Richard - All I Ask Of You

    Among her biggest hits include:

    • I Lost My Heart to a Starship Trooper (with Hot Gossip)
    • Pie Jesu
    • All I Ask of You (with Cliff Richard)
    • The Phantom of the Opera
    • The Music of the Night (with Michael Crawford)
    • Time To Say Goodbye (with Andrea Bocelli)
    • Who Wants to Live Forever (Queen cover)
    • A Whiter Shade of Pale (Procol Harum cover)
    • Memory