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Lisa McHugh: Rumours about me having an affair and being pregnant made me take a break

Country star more settled both musically and in personal life

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Lisa McHugh

Lisa McHugh

Lisa McHugh

Lisa McHugh

Lisa McHugh

Country singing sensation Lisa McHugh is a changed woman since taking a year off to reboot her career.

A new life has begun at 30 for the gorgeous Glasgow-born star - with a new house, new man and new path she is taking her music in.

Lisa told Sunday Life that she had to make the bold move to change things after a gruelling schedule of 200 gigs a year adversely impacted her health, not least with her meningitis scare four years ago.

But that year out wasn't easy as she stepped off the treadmill, because it sent the rumour mill into overdrive as to where she had gone.

The one positive about that, though, was that the fake news inspired her to pen her new single The Scandal.

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Lisa McHugh's new single The Scandal is out now

Lisa McHugh's new single The Scandal is out now

Lisa McHugh's new single The Scandal is out now

She said: "It's all about rumours, because over a year ago I took a deliberate step back from everything with regards to not only touring but everything in the public eye and social media.

"I just wanted a bit of a break and some 'me time', just to take a step back and re-evaluate where I wanted to go and what dreams and goals I wanted to achieve and how I was going to achieve them.

"And in order to do that I just needed a clear fresh mind really and I took a step back and I suppose I knew it was happening but to a lot of people looking on, they may have thought I'd just disappeared off the face of the earth, because I just went from one post on social media to nothing at all.

"I'm not sure what really started all these rumours but they just started and once they started then they grew arms and legs and when I first heard them I was like, 'Where are these coming from?'

"And the more I heard then the more ridiculous they were getting and I just thought it was actually funny at the time.

"Some of them were that I had an affair which I found hilarious because I have no idea where that came from.

"People were sending me messages asking me was I pregnant, did I have to go off the road because I was bankrupt, that I had to move home, that I had to give up on everything I was doing because it wasn't going well.

"I was fine because I knew exactly what was happening, I knew the truth, but some people could get very clouded by all of those rumours and those opinions and take them all personally and to heart.

"And I'm so lucky that I have the power of music and song and songwriting to give my answer back and to fight back but so many people don't and that was one of the main reasons I wanted to write a song about it."

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Lisa McHugh pictured with her father Joe and mother Sally.

Lisa McHugh pictured with her father Joe and mother Sally.

Lisa McHugh pictured with her father Joe and mother Sally.

Lisa's dad is from Co Tyrone and her mum from Co Donegal.

She was born and raised in Glasgow - but for the past nine years, she has called Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, home and is in a relationship with a local man, but wants to keep his name under wraps.

She said: "I bought a house there a year ago so I'm very much settled here.

"I call this my own home and I love Enniskillen, I love Ireland."

But after nine years of "basically living in a car" - and even though she says she had an "absolute ball" entertaining her army of fans with hits like Apple Jack - she knew she had to switch things up in order to achieve her dream of selling out arena tours.

She said: "It came to a point, where I just thought, if I don't do this now, I'm never going to do it and I'll always regret it because I'm a very determined person and I don't genuinely normally take no for an answer.

"I worked in songwriting which has now steered me in a more American country pop route than the Irish country. Now when I'm doing the new stuff it feels so fresh and so new and so exciting and it's a challenge again for me."

Her new music is influenced too by a visit to Nashville and she also revealed how her life has been transformed by self-help book The Secret.

Lisa McHugh

She said: "I look at everything differently now to be honest and I appreciate everything a lot more.

"You know, sometimes you don't appreciate what you have until it's gone or something happens and that's not the way we should look at life."

That appreciation for life was never stronger than when she had a near-death experience when she was struck down with viral meningitis.

Her work ethic and commitment to the showbiz maxim 'the show must go on' meant she kept performing despite suffering headaches - but her manager was so worried he rang her parents, who were in Donegal at the time.

Lisa (31) said: "Mum and dad were worried and they came up that night to the house and they came in and woke me up - well I wasn't even sleeping to be honest, I was lying in bed - and my mum took one look at me and said, 'Nope, you're getting up to the hospital now'.

"So that was me taken in, they did the lumbar puncture and it came back that it was viral meningitis. They just said that if you had have left it any longer, the outcome could have been so much different.

"It was a wake-up call for me to appreciate things and I suppose it was also a warning sign as well to slow down because my body just went into shutdown mode.

"After that I realised, life is too short, you can't be running yourself into the ground every week for what?"

Lisa McHugh's new single The Scandal is on sale now and she is performing live in June across Ireland

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