SinittaAt a time when it was all big hair, loose shirts, short, tight Lycra mini skirts and oversized shoulder pads, she had one of the biggest hits during the 80s. American singer, songwriter, and actress Sinitta Renay Malone, is most well known for her chart-topping hits including Toy Boy, Cross My Broken Heart, So Macho and her close relationship with Simon Cowell. In 1998, Sinitta also dated Hollywood actor Brad Pitt for two years. However, in the mid-nineties, she started focusing more on theatre and TV before becoming a mentor on ITV talent show The X-Factor in 2004. We caught up with her to discuss everything from X-Factor to working with Simon Cowell – as well as which celebrities she would snog, marry, date or avoid.

What’s your favourite memory from your pop career during the ’80s?
It has got to be appearing on Top of the Pops which, if you did back then, you knew you had made it.

Let’s talk a bit about The X-Factor. What do you think makes it so popular?
You know what it is always fascinating to watch people’s transformation from a wannabe into a superstar. So that’s why I think people
love it so much.

Who have you seen that stood out for you in this series so far?
Gamu Nhengu is extraordinary. I see her as a younger Diana Ross. I really liked her audition as well as her vibe, and her voice which is amazing. Her mum also reminds me of my mum, who also wanted the best for me.

Does it ever feel a bit weird working with Simon Cowell considering he’s your ex?
Not at all, you know what after 27 years of being together and working together, nothing feels weird anymore. What would be weird is if anything felt weird. We’ve been through so much together and that’s why I think we’re comfortable.

Simon Cowell has the notorious image as TV’s nasty guy, but knowing him personally what’s he really like?
Do you know what – he is not really a nasty person. He is actually a lover of barmy people because he is a little barmy himself. I think the nasty image was given to him because he speaks his mind. And what is different about Simon is that he says what he wants to your face when others would only say it behind your back.

Having been involved with The X-Factor live shows since 2004, how would you describe the backstage atmosphere with the contestants?
The atmosphere backstage sometimes varies, but last year was probably the calmest as the contestants spent a lot of time hanging out. However, Danyl Johnson gave us a bit of drama as he was quite dramatic.

John and Edward had loads of energy. And sometimes there is even tension between the judges, as well as everyone who are also divas – even the hair and make-up team. So working on the show you have to manage egos all the time as they are all drama queens.

What’s your most memorable X-Factor moment?
My first memorable moment was the Leona Lewis audition in boot camp, where Simon and I had a frenzied dance at the table which
they kept on camera and was very funny. My second favourite moment has got to be the Shirlena Johnson audition. A lot of people say she looks a bit like me which I take as a compliment, as I really loved seeing her dancing around and doing her thing.

Some women would consider you to be very lucky to have dated Brad Pitt. How would you describe your time with him?
I would like to say something interesting, but to be honest, we were very young, he was gorgeous and we just we did our thing.

Do you have plans to record any new material?
Yes I do, and in fact I have a few that I will be putting out on my website which people can download.

What’s your advice to anyone considering auditioning for talent shows such as X-Factor?
My advice is to take Shirlena as an example, but don’t copy her instead bring something different. I think she has actually started an X-Factor revolution.

Away from the X-Factor, how’s the family life going?
It’s all good. My babies Zac and Magdalena are now four and five. Although it feels so surreal as Magdalena will be starting school in September.

As you’ve dated two of the world’s most famous male celebrities who many women wouldn’t mind having as their husbands, we’ve put together a list of four celebrities for your consideration. Which one would you either snog, marry, date or avoid: Will Smith, Peter Crouch, Chipmunk and Sylvester Stallone?
Snog Sylvester Stallone; date Chipmunk; marry Will Smith; avoid Peter Crouch.

Follow Sinitta on Twitter at or check out her website

Words by Noel Phillips