Thursday, May 7, 2015

Let's talk about: Billie Piper

Billie Piper was born September 22, 1982 in Swindon, Wiltshire, England. 
She was named Lianne Paul Piper. But on April 25, 1983, her parents (Paul Piper and Mandy Kent)  officially changed her name to Billie Paul Piper. 
 Billie studied at the prestigious Sylvia Young Theatre school. 
She became the poster girl for the ad campaign "Smash Hits" for a British pop music magazine. 
She was noticed and signed by a record company.
She released her first single, "Because We Want To", which debuted at #1 at age 15. 
Her second single, "Girlfriend", was also a #1 hit.
 By the time she turned 16, Billie had released 4 singles that all made the top three on the charts. She has been labeled the "Pop Princess" of England. 

Her singing career didn't end well. 
Billie has said that her earnings were negligible due to being taken advantage of because of her young age. 
She said she had to work twice as hard later to make up for the financial damage that was done that left her with hardly any money. 
During her singing career she suffered from insomnia due to the pressure of the fame. 

"I had a new name, Billie Piper, a new look (thin) and a new image (sexy) because thin looks good on the page, and now I was all of 17).
But I was hiding a terrible secret. I was thin because I was anorexic. I had developed the eating disorder on tour, relying on powerful laxatives to help me lose far too much weight. I was living pretty much off black coffee, Diet Coke and cigarettes.
I'd also started having doubts about my career. Sales weren't as good as they had been, my work schedule was horrendous and I'd come close to suicide on a disastrous, punishing promotional tour of the United States."

She was invited to appear on TFI Friday where she met DJ and TV presenter Chris Evans.
He made her feel very at ease and they got along really well. 
She said that being around him made her forget about the record company, her voice, calories, and everything else. 
But after her appearance she started pushing herself harder than ever to promote her album, Walk of Life. She ended up in the hospital with cystitis. Her anorexia was getting worse. She states that at one point she went five days without solid food.

"I'd gone from being a bubbly, fun person, always wanting to have a great time, to this withdrawn person perpetually dragging on a cigarette. My eyes had lost their shine. They didn't dance any more.
I was a shell. Underweight, uninspired and boring. I had no energy to do anything. I had let the anorexia steal whatever fun I could have taken out of the experience and turned it into something to fear."

She was interviewed by Chris Evans again and they began dating. She has said that her relationship with him saved her life. 

"I started to have the time of my life with Chris. He always held my hand; I loved that particularly... He'd take me out to the country and we would roll down hills, laughing. Sometimes we'd just sit quietly in his garden, reading. Or plant herbs. Taste different cheeses...
What had happened to the laxatives and starvation? Out the window... I left it all behind. I couldn't be bothered with forcing myself to be something I wasn't any more. Namely a size 0. There were too many other things to try, to do, to see, to taste. I had been infected by Chris's appetite for life... It was a romantic, desperate love and it was beautiful."

 They were married in May of 2001 in a chapel in Las Vegas. 
There was a significant age difference. She was 18. He was 34. 
They later divorced in May of 2007.
The remain really good friends. 

Billie met the actor Laurence Fox (you may know him from playing Mr. Wisley on Becoming Jane amongst other things) while they were performing together in the stage play Treats
They were married in December of 2007. 
They have two sons, Winston and Eugene. 

Billie has left her music career far behind and made a name for herself on stage and on the screen. 
She has won many awards. 
And is easily one of the most beloved stars of Doctor Who ever. 
Steven Moffat said, "She has a bigger status than most of those companions and really seriously, for the first two years, that was Billie Piper’s show and she was amazing. Let’s not forget how amazing she was."

I haven't seen enough of her work for a top 5.
But I do have a top 2.

#1. Doctor Who

You can't think of Doctor Who without thinking of Billie Piper.
Her portrayal of Rose was wonderful.
She brought a certain fun and energy to the show.
And she just seemed like someone you would be friends with if you knew her in real life.
I think all of our hearts broke with her character when she left.
I was so happy to see her show up in the 50th anniversary show.

Her chemistry with her fellow actors was great.
I just don't think anyone else could have been Rose!

  #2. Mansfield Park

She played Fanny Price in the 2007 adaptation of Mansfield Park.
I think she did a great job in this role.

On a personal note, last January I had the chance to meet Billie Piper and then sit in on two panels that she was a part of at the Salt Lake Comic Con FanX.
I went with my mom and we were so excited to meet her!
We did a photo op with her so we were only with her for a few seconds but she was very nice.
As we waited for our turn we got to watch her interacting with those that went before us.
It was really surreal.
She is very down to earth and casual.
And she just seemed really laid back.
Although I don't like this photo of myself at all (I had a pose all worked out and then in the moment I totally forgot what I was doing and did a total derp face) but I still love the fact that I am in it with Billie Piper!
Too bad I didn't get the plaid memo.

At her panels what really came across is that she is not only kind but also very funny.
She is really good friends with the other actors (Matt Smith and David Tennant in particular) and it is really fun to see her love for life, especially knowing how lost she was for a while at a teenager.

I can't wait to see what else she will do! 

*Have you watched Billie Piper in anything?


Donna said...

I bought the DVD of "Mansfield Park" that she stars in a few months ago. It's funny because just two days ago I packed it with my summer stuff so that I can watch it back East with my mom this summer. She looks like a great person and actress.
I think I'd really like "Doctor Who." At some point I will start watching that show!

cheryl said...

Donna- have you watched it yet?
I think you would like Doctor Who as well. Just keep in mind to give it a few episodes because if you start with the newer 2005 series, it seems REALLY cheesy at first.
It just gets better and better as it goes along.

When I started my mom watching them she watched two of my favorite episodes first- "Blink" and "Vincent and the Doctor". Those got her hooked and then she went back and started with 2005 knowing she already liked it.

The Kings said...

I loved her in "Mansfield Park" and Dr. Who! She is such a good actress and I loved meeting her with you!

cheryl said...

She is great! Me too mom!