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How Charlotte Church spent £25m fortune as she faces being left ‘broke’ after £1.5m hippy retreat dream hits major snag

She was the star who found fame aged 11, spent her teenage years performing at prestigious concert halls - and racked up a £25million fortune in the process.

But now singer Charlotte Church faces going "broke" after her dream of turning a £1.5million 16th century mansion into a hippy wellness retreat has hit a major snag.

Charlotte Church, pictured performing at a festival in AugustCredit: Avalon.red
Charlotte reportedly made up to £25million during her early careerCredit: Shiver Production

The 36-year-old has sunk "pretty much" her entire life savings into the eco project at Rhydoldog House in Powys, mid-Wales - the former 47-acre home of Laura Ashley - which she'd hoped to open in June.

But Charlotte has allegedly faced backlash from Welsh environmental bigwigs over her waste disposal plans for her woodland log cabins, and has withdrawn her planning application, reports the Daily Mail.

Charlotte previously said that failing to finish the project by summer would leave her "broke", The Times reported - and she filmed a fly-on-the-wall documentary series called Dream Build to help fund it.

So where has her multimillion pound fortune gone?

Convertible and jewel-encrusted bra

It was singing Andrew Lloyd Webber’s operatic hit Pie Jesu on This Morning aged 11 that propelled Charlotte to go on to sell more than 10 million records.

Charlotte was able to access her millions when she turned 18 - after raking in a fortune from her six years performing all over the world and in front of President Bill Clinton, Pope John Paul II, the late Queen and King Charles.

In a 2004 BBC interview, when Charlotte was 18, she vowed not to get carried away by her massive fortune - which her mum said was around £7m.

The youngster with mum Maria and stepdad James - her father Stephen died from coronavirus last yearCredit: Rex Features

But the singer also claimed to be eyeing up some lavish purchases including a Mini Cooper convertible.

Charlotte also told reporters that she longed to buy a £1m ruby-encrusted bra to mark her 18th birthday.

While it’s not known whether she purchased the bejewelled item, her parents kept her grounded with modest birthday gifts including a CD player, some clothes and jewellery.

£10K girls' holidays

Charlotte with gal pals after leaving the Ibiza night club Pashia at 7.30am, in 2004Credit: News Group Newspapers Ltd
The soprano lapping up the sun on Platya DeSelinas beach in IbizaCredit: Shutterstock
The singer with ex Kyle Johnson during a romantic holiday in the Maldives, in 2004Credit: News Group Newspapers Ltd

That same year, the singer enjoyed romantic trips to Dubai and the Maldives with then boyfriend Kyle Johnson.

She also took a group of girlfriends away on a week’s holiday in Ibiza.

Hello! magazine reported she splashed more than £10,000 on the trip to Spain’s party capital where she and friends enjoyed nightlife into the early hours.

During the trip, Charlotte didn’t hold back - paying for a private villa for them all to stay in and a full-time personal chauffeur to take them around.

She said at the time: “I’m just here on a girly holiday, I’m having a really good time.”

A source told The Sun Charlotte was “very generous” during the holiday and would “buy all of the drinks” whenever pals went out.

In the years that followed, she was snapped sipping Champagne and on several occasions appeared to fall asleep in bars. 

Mansions and a yacht

Charlotte started dating Welsh rugby legend Gavin Henson in 2005 - they split five years laterCredit: Rex Features
The couple shared this home in the Vale of Glamorgan - now reportedly worth £2.5m

A year later in 2005, while dating former Welsh rugby star Gavin Henson, Charlotte bought a home in Cardiff for around £500,000, which she later sold for £900,000.

The couple then purchased a lavish manor sat on 20-acres of land in the Vale of Glamorgan - now reportedly worth £2.5m.

Charlotte and Gavin, who split up in 2010, had a bar at the bottom of their garden where they indulged in drinking sessions, according to the Daily Mail.

They were dubbed the ‘Posh and Becks’ of rugby and at one point owned a £800,000 yacht, which was moored in Swansea Marina. 

In 2013, Charlotte bought her ex a five-bedroom property so that he could live closer to their children Ruby and Dexter, Wales Online reported.

Funding the lifestyle

Charlotte shaking hands with the Queen at the 2005 Royal Variety Performance, in CardiffCredit: Corbis - Getty

After performing for presidents and royalty it seemed Charlotte hit a mid-career slump in 2014.

The Sunday Times Rich List reported that her wealth had dropped to £11m that year.

In the documentary Charlotte Church: In Her Own Voice, she explained her concerns about cash.

She said: “I will have to work for the rest of my life, not because I want to but because I have to.

“The tax man is looking at my accounts wondering where I'm hiding all my money."

However, during an interview with Stylist, Charlotte claimed it was her spending that meant she constantly needed to graft.

She said: “I haven’t got a lot of money. I've got enough to be comfortable if I was reasonable for the rest of my life.

“But I'm not reasonable, so I will have to find a way to sustain my lifestyle." 

TV work, ads and books

The singer's Channel 4 programme The Charlotte Church Show ran from 2006 until 2008Credit: Empics
Charlotte returned to fame on The Masked SingerCredit: Instagram/therealcharlottechurch

Charlotte's last album Back To Scratch came out in 2010. Since then she's diversified her revenue streams with TV appearances.

She starred in The Charlotte Church Show, which aired on Channel 4 from 2006 for two years, and guest-starred in TV shows including Hospital 24/7 and Under Milk Wood.

The singer also turned her hand to adverts including ones for Walkers crisps and Virgin Holidays.

Charlotte also wrote two autobiographies, her latest Keep Smiling came out in 2007, and a number of opinion pieces for The Guardian.

Charlotte married musician Johnny Powell in 2017, and had a daughter, Frida, on August 15, 2020.

Earlier this year Charlotte stepped back into the spotlight on The Masked Singer as Mushroom, and came second.

Hippy commune

Charlotte purchased this stunning £1.5m country house in Powys last yearCredit: WNS
The singer married Jonathan Powell, her long-term musician partner, in 2017Credit: Rex Features

Last year Charlotte bought the grand Rhydoldog House for £1.5million, and has ploughed cash into turning the home into a nature-based health and wellbeing retreat.

The seven-bedroom mansion with three storeys has a helicopter landing area and a 200-year-old barn located on its 47 acres.

Charlotte planned to offer cycling, archery, foraging, hiking and strength and conditioning lessons at the estate, according to Wales Online.

The mum-of-three also wants to introduce a hot-tub, plunge pool and outdoor cinema to the luxurious estate in the Welsh wilderness.

She described the “inspiring wellness project” as "one of the biggest, riskiest and potentially most rewarding challenges" she's ever faced.

With this latest reported set-back, it could be her most costly.

Charlotte met King Charles when she was 12 years old at the Prince's Trust Comedy Gala in 1998Credit: PA:Press Association
Her latest seven-bedroom property used to be owned by fashionista Laura AshleyCredit: SWNS