Page last updated at 19:34 GMT, Monday, 3 November 2008

Singer's regret over drug taking

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People in Katherine Jenkins' home town Neath are supportive of the singer

Classical music star Katherine Jenkins has spoken of the "difficult decision" she made in confessing to taking drugs when she was younger.

The Welsh mezzo-soprano wrote to fans on her website asking them for support after she revealed she took cocaine, ecstasy and cannabis as a teenager.

The 28-year-old singer, from Neath, said she had been "young and naive".

Dozens of people have now replied to her online message, backing her decision to go public about her past.

It is understood the singer spoke out because a tabloid newspaper was about to expose her drug-taking.

Katherine Jenkins, pictured recently
I was hanging around with a bad crowd... I was very trusting, and keen to please
Katherine Jenkins

PR agent Max Clifford told BBC Radio Wales that he believed she had given an interview to the Mail on Sunday to try to "control" how the story was reported.

In the article, she revealed that she had taken up to three lines of cocaine a night and took ecstasy pills and powder after falling in with a "bad crowd" when she first came to London as a teenager. She also ate cakes with cannabis inside.

Jenkins said she "never really thought about the consequences" of her drug experimentation.

'So ashamed'

"I just liked going out with friends, getting drunk on too many Malibus and Cokes, and then someone would produce some drugs and occasionally I would take some," she told the newspaper.

"I was hanging around with a bad crowd. I was very trusting, and keen to please. I never really enjoyed taking drugs, it made me fit in better."

In the interview with former Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan, she confessed to taking cocaine on up to seven occasions, ecstasy pills maybe half a dozen times and cannabis cakes seven or eight times.

The cocaine left her feeling "absolutely terrible" with "the worst hangover in the world", she said, with the ecstasy making her "so depressed" and leaving her in an even worse state than the cocaine.

Jenkins said she stopped taking drugs after landing a record deal in 2003 worth more than 1m.

The drug abuse now made her "feel so ashamed", Jenkins said, because they were "dangerous and destroy lives".

Katherine Jenkins
Jenkins said taking cocaine left her feeling "absolutely terrible".

She added that she was worried about how people would react to the revelations, but stressed it was something she did a "very long time ago" and she lived her life "very differently now".

After the interview was published, she wrote about her decision to reveal all on a forum on her website.

She said: "Deciding to do the interview was a very difficult decision for me but it's something I felt I had to do.

"I hope you understand my reasons for doing this and I really hope I have your support - it means the world to me.

"It was a long time ago, I was young and naive and I genuinely hope this hasn't caused you too much upset."

In response, fans from all over the world wrote that while they were "shocked" they supported her decision to be honest.

One fan, called Helen, wrote: "We all do things when we are younger that we might not be proud of but it takes a strong person to admit mistakes and learn from them."

Another, called Wendy said: "There are not many of us who can say they haven't made huge mistakes in their past. I know I have!"

And a fan called Euan wrote: "Thanks for the post, nobody is perfect and it is very good of you to admit it."

Jenkins last week landed a 6m contract with Warner Music, cementing her position as one of Britain's highest paid classical music stars.

With a repertoire featuring arias, hymns and classical crossover music, Jenkins has had four classical number one albums to date and performed at venues all over the world.

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