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Last Updated: Sunday, 22 February, 2004, 10:30 GMT
Charlotte and her millions
Charlotte Church
Charlotte Church celebrated her birthday with parties in London and Cardiff
After turning 18 on Saturday, singer Charlotte Church is old enough to enjoy a multimillion pound spending spree, as she gains access to the fortune from the global success of her recording career.

But the teenage star has vowed not to get carried away by the windfall, which her mother says is closer to 7m than the 16m claimed by some.

Most of the money will remain in a trust fund, although Church is currently house-hunting in Cardiff, and has her heart set on a Mini Cooper convertible - when she learns to drive.

And she has no plans to stop earning either, with her latest project - an album of new material - due out later this year.

In the final part of its series focussing on the star, News Online looks at the next step for the talented teenager.

On Thursday, Church told reporters that what she really wanted for her birthday she wanted a 1m ruby-encrusted bra.

It was a tongue-in-cheek reference to the multimillion pound fortune she has inherited after six years of selling millions of records all around the globe.

I have a lot of different voices and I have used them all - I think people will be surprised
Charlotte Church on her new album

But the reality is a little more down-to-earth - her mother gave her a CD player, some clothes and jewellery, and she will still receive a monthly allowance.

She told the BBC it was her decision to leave the money alone "to sit in banks and grow".

"I could have taken it or left it in the trust, and I left it in the trust - I don't need that amount of money at this age," she said.

And, while she is planning to spend some cash on a house in the Cardiff suburbs of Canton, Victoria Park and Pontcanna, it is hardly frivolous spending, as expert Richard Barningham, from RM Financial Advice, explained.

"If she is going to spend, she should put stable roots down, like buying a property," he told News Online.

"If she wants a car, she should get one - why not? She has earned it, but she shouldn't fritter it away on a top-end Ferrari which she can't insure."

Musically she is looking to diversify, after the success of The Opera Song (Brave New World), her dance collaboration with Jurgen Vries, which reached number three in the charts.

Jonathan Shalit
Jonathan Shalit is looking forward to seeing what Church will do next

Her new album out later this year will be a mix of "rock, soulful stuff and electric styles".

"I love every type of music and that's what I have done," she told BBC News Online.

"I have a lot of different voices and I have used them all - I think people will be surprised."

But she warned that, if she got bored, she could walk away from the industry that has made her a superstar.

"At the moment I love making music - the minute I don't I will go and travel and enjoy my life a bit."

Industry experts agree that she has a luxury of choices about what to do next.

Former manager Jonathan Shalit told News Online Church "can do whatever she wants".

"She can turn her hand to music, theatre, acting, film - the world is her oyster and she can dictate the terms."

Aled Jones
Aled Jones said Church had the world at her feet

He added that, while her debut movie I'll Be There flopped at the box office on both sides of the Atlantic, "people in Hollywood" had reacted very well to her performance.

Chris Griffin, meanwhile, who worked at Sony with Church, said she had "so many choices" for her future career.

"I hope she will go off and do something extraordinary, and enjoy some of the money," he said.

One person watching Church's career with particular interest is fellow former child star, Aled Jones, who has branched out into TV presenting since leaving his boy soprano days behind.

"Charlotte is a bright and extremely talented young lady," he told News Online.

"She has the world at her feet."

But one thing at least is certain. With millions in the bank, and fans around the globe, whatever the future holds for the girl with the Voice of an Angel, it is unlikely to be dull.


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