LOUISE Redknapp's marriage to football legend Jamie became so "claustrophobic" that she refused to listen to ANY music for five years, as she resented giving up her career for their relationship.

The Strictly star – who found fame as part of Eternal between 1992 and 1995, before achieving solo success until 2003 – admitted she still daydreams about how her career could have progressed had she not put it on hold.

The star, 46, released her first album in two decades, Heavy Love, in January 2020, having been granted a divorce from husband of 19 years Jamie in December 2017.

Louise, who has sons Charlie, 16, and Beau, 12, with Jamie, said: "I sometimes think to myself if I hadn't had an 18 year gap I wonder how many records I could have maybe sold. 

"In the early part of having kids and being married it was fine because you've worked loads and all of a sudden you want that normality, that bit of time at home.

"[It] felt lovely to breathe again, not be too worried about schedules and finishing records and just enjoy the children. 

"It was only as time went on and they got bigger [that] my life felt like it was shrinking into this little box and everybody else's life was expanding. I felt claustrophobic and really scared that I'd lost doing what I loved.

"I really suffered with the lack of doing anything that I loved. 

"I reckon I went through a stage where I don't think I listened to music for four or five years because it just gave me anxiety that I maybe would never sing or be on stage again. I just preferred to pretend it didn't exist." 

Louise also told Sheridan Smith, 39, on her Sheridan's Showstoppers podcast, featured on BBC Sounds today, that her self esteem plummeted when she couldn't make music.

She said: "When you love what you do it gives you the confidence and when you strip that away from me I become really unconfident as a person. I did really miss it towards the end."

Louise previously admitted she feels so insecure that she will take 50 photos before choosing one to upload to Instagram.

She said: "Don't think I'm sitting there looking at my Instagram going, 'Yeah I've got this, I made it, look how great I am'.

"I'm looking at my Instagram going, 'That took me 50 pictures to get that and a really great light and a million and one other things'. I'm doing that as well."

Louise, who detailed the pain of her divorce in new book You've Got This, also recently spoke out against the "double standards" of Jamie, 47, being praised for stepping up as a father following their split.

She said: "It was like, ‘Oh, look how amazing, he’s taking his children on holiday, what an amazing man’.

"And I would sit there at home going, ‘For 15 years I’ve taken my kids away on our own when he’s been working. 15 years, not one person has ever said well done to me’."

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