Back in 2009, Susan Boyle was having a moment. She wowed the world on Britain’s Got Talent (all while putting Simon Cowell in his place). Boyle’s stunning rendition of the Les Misérables song “I Dreamed a Dream” launched her to instant stardom and an impressive career.
How impressive? Her debut album (with the same name as her breakout song) was the most popular of 2009. Her sophomore release The Gift in 2010 achieved similar success. Within a period of one year, she had the No. 1 album in the US and UK at the same time twice. No one else has accomplished that particular feat since The Beatles in 1969.
Despite her success, and despite continuing to sing and produce new music, Susan Boyle has fallen off the cultural radar in recent years. What could have caused this? Here are the reasons why you don’t hear about Susan Boyle anymore.
Loss of Family
Fans tend to forget that celebrities are still regular people. And things like family tragedy can really set a career back.
In Boyle’s case, her sister Brigid died in 2015 suddenly from cancer. And Boyle was so affected that she pushed pause on her work at the time so she could properly mourn.
Susan Boyle had faced this before, as her mother, father, and other sister had all died before her musical debut. But it seemed the passing of a sister who was nearly 20 years older than her and was like a mentor was too much to handle.
Fighting With Family
It seems like Boyle just can’t win. Amid the grief over family members who have passed away, she has to deal with stress from living family members such as her brother Gerry.
It all started when some of Susan’s other relatives alleged that Gerry had threatened to kill himself if she didn’t fork over £50,000 to him! According to the Mirror, Gerry demanded that Susan cut ties with those relatives and she refused.
This led to a two-year rift between the siblings that has fortunately been patched up. “As soon as we spoke, she cheered up immediately. I told her I was here for her no matter what,” Gerry told the Mirror in 2016.
Distracted By Love
Not everything on here is bad news. For example, Susan Boyle experienced one of the happiest career distractions ever: love!
Back in 2014, she started dating an American doctor. Part of what made this relationship so special is that, according to Boyle, this was the first romance of her life.
“It’s very early days so we’ll see what happens,” she told The Sun in 2014. “I don’t want to say any more about who he is right now as that would be unfair on him. All I’ll say is we are around the same age and he was a very nice guy.”
Sadly, that relationship wouldn’t last. But Boyle should be applauded for navigating the romantic field as a 53-year-old woman with Asperger’s.
Hoping for Children
Susan Boyle has wanted children for a long time. Though she says she cannot have children, she expressed a serious interest in adopting a baby in 2014 to the Scottish Sunday Mail.
“I love children, I always have but I couldn’t have them. I want to give a youngster what I didn’t have. We’ll have to see what social services say, but it would make me so happy,” she said.
The math on this seems simple: rich and famous person wants to adopt a baby to spoil. What could go wrong?
Whether it was their call or her cold feet, she never did adopt a child. In June 2019, she shifted her attention to the possibility of foster children.
“When things quieten down a bit I would like to maybe get into fostering. I’m 58 so I’ve got something to bring my family home to. I’ve a lovely house, why not share it?” she told The Sun’s Dan Wootton on his podcast.
Living In Seclusion
Even for celebrities, much of fame is about networking. It’s why so many American celebrities end up in Los Angeles: they can both see and be seen and generally stay in the public eye.
Susan Boyle, though, is having none of that. Despite her intense wealth (and despite owning multiple residences), she still prefers to live in her modest childhood home. She bought the the four-bedroom ex-council house where she grew up in Blackburn, Scotland, for £65,000.
While nothing is wrong with that, it seems like living out of the public eye is one of the reasons why the public doesn’t notice her all that much!
Dealing With Fame
Boyle became famous relatively late in life. Unlike some of her celebrity peers, she was not groomed for fame from a young age. Because of that, and because of her Asperger’s, she sometimes has a tough time dealing with fame.
When she’s not onstage, she struggles very intensely and sometimes needs to be restrained as a result of her condition. She had a public meltdown at Heathrow Airport back in 2016, an incident which made all the wrong headlines for her when police were called in to deal with reports of a woman having an “outburst” in the airport lounge.
Between dealing with fame and avoiding the press, it’s no wonder she ended up under the radar.
Focusing On Health
While Asperger’s can be difficult enough, doctors gave Boyle another scary diagnosis in 2014: type 2 diabetes. They recommended that she concentrate on losing weight to help deal with this and to promote her general health.
She committed to this like she had committed to her career, shedding 30 pounds in a seriously impressive transformation. But balancing nutrition and exercise with making music and traveling the world must be difficult.
Running Her Own Business
Most celebrities have a professional assistant to manage their empire. Boyle, meanwhile, has decided to do it on her own!
In 2011, she took over control of her finances, meaning that she personally runs three different companies. While this is impressive on a lot of levels, the fact that she has been playing accountant three times over for most of her career keeps her plenty busy and away from the spotlight.