Paula Abdul: I won't get married but I want to adopt a baby
The accident occurred back in 1992, when a plane in which she was a passenger was forced to make an emergency landing. The crash caused three discs in her back to rupture, leaving her with no feeling down her right side. The American Idol host had already been fighting chronic pain after a cheerleading accident at 17 left her with an injured neck disc. Paula reveals to NOW the battle she fought to get back into the limelight, but first we check out her love life
Are you seeing anyone?
Yes, his name is name is TJ Torregiani, hes a restaurateur and weve been together for almost a year. He came up to me at a party and introduced himself.
Would you get married again?
I dont know. Ive been there and done that and sometimes I think that relationships can last better without a paper contract. Divorce has made me more wary, but Im still a believer in true love.
Do you want children?
I do. Ill probably adopt because I think itll be in the next three to five years. I wouldnt necessarily adopt from abroad like some celebs I just want a healthy baby.
What sort of mum would you be?
A really good one. Im a mom to millions of kids from dance camps and on American Idol. I have to be Simon Cowell isnt exactly Father Christmas, now is he?
Youve admitted in the past to suffering from bulimia. Is there more pressure to stay in shape being in the public eye?
I believe thats true, but hopefully UK shows such as How To Look Good Naked are changing that. An overweight woman who loves herself is far sexier than skinny girls who are insecure.
How do you feel about your body as you get older?
Most people say I look better than I ever have. It feels good when I see young boys staring at me, saying: I wish my mom looked that hot! I can look really good in clothes, but when I take them off I can see where I could firm up. I just dont obsess about it.
Have you had surgery or would you ever consider it?
Im a little afraid of that after having had so many neck operations. If its done with a healthy mind, realistic expectations, a good GP and is just little fixes, I dont have a problem with it.
Youre about to relaunch your music career is that scary after being away for so long?
No because Im prepared for it. Its very poignant because I had to leave the business for six years after the plane crash. I needed 14 lots of spinal surgery on my neck. I was paralysed and during the 12th operation my vocal chords were accidentally cut. For nearly two years I didnt have a speaking voice and had to work with a speech pathologist and a vocal coach. It was hard going from hit records to barely croaking.
What were the lowest points during your recovery?
Not being able to do the two things I had major careers with singing and dancing was very hard to come to terms with. I felt very isolated, but with hindsight I realise it didnt have to be like that. I shouldve let everyone know what was going on.
Why did you do that?
Id been working professionally since I was 17 and I thought that, if I could keep things under the surface, Id get better and wouldnt let anyone down. It was hard for my close friends and family because they felt helpless.
Was there a point when you thought youd never return to the public eye?
Thats what drove me to work really hard in rehabilitation, even though it really hurt. It was an enlightening experience because it taught me how strong I am. I grew up a lot. I got very creative in the hospital and wrote some of my best songs including Spinning Around, which I gave to Kylie Minogue.
Had you been injured before?
Being a dancer, Im no stranger to pain. The night before my world tour opened to 20,000 people I broke my leg, but refused to cancel any shows because I didnt want to let anyone down. So I did the first 30 shows with a broken leg.
How has your voice been since the recovery?
I treat it like going to dance class, so Im constantly working on it. Im planning some dates after American Idol. Singing and dancing are my best therapy.
Is it scary for you to be judged now?
No because Ive been in the business for years. I try to teach the kids on Idol that it doesnt matter what we say or what anyone writes. You have to learn from constructive criticism. If its a personal attack, that just comes with the territory.
Youve been falsely accused of being drunk and on drugs. How do you feel about that?
Ive never been drunk in my life and Ive never taken recreational drugs. I cant fake who I am and, prior to American Idol, theres never been anything in the press that alluded to drugs or partying. I go for retail therapy. A good pair of shoes solves everything.
Have you been keeping Simon [Cowell] in line on American Idol this series?
Ive had to do my fair share. Just when you think were all getting on, Simon turns and we get back into our little quarrels. I suppose its quite funny to watch, but hes so infuriating. I can make him laugh so hard that the water in his cup will come out his nose and I live for that. We have a good work balance. Weve all had moments where weve walked off because of Simon, but hes even walked off because of himself.
Do you kiss and make up afterwards?
Yeah, but sometimes it takes a while because I dont feel like kissing him!
Are you sure you dont fancy Simon just a little bit?
Maybe subconsciously, in a really weird, Freudian way.
Why do all the ladies love him?
Theres a fascination with British men in the US women seem to think theyre sexy. It doesnt seem to matter that Simon always wears the same jeans and sweater. At least his styles been consistent, but I dont get it, especially the square hair.
By Karen Dunn