I Sacrificed Childhood for Life as a Sugababe; Exclusive KEISHA ON PRICE ON FAME She Found Success at 12, but Star Has Never Replaced Her Lost Friendships

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Byline: By John Dingwall

SUGABABES star Keisha Buchanan has opened her heart for the first time about the secret cost of driving Britain's most successful girl group.

In her most revealing interview ever, the founding member of the pop trio says she sacrificed a normal childhood to find fame.

The determined singer - who joined the Sugababes when she was just 12 years old and is the only remaining founding member - admits that behind the stage smiles and dance routines lay heartbreaking bouts of loneliness.

Speaking in a whisper, Keisha admitted: "I sacrificed my childhood for the Sugababes. I missed out on doing all the things other kids my age took for granted, like going out and hanging around together.

"I missed the school discos and being able to see my friends from one day to the next. When they were going out places together, I was always working in a recording studio or catching up on my schoolwork.

"I realise I can never get my childhood back."

And the normally bubbly singer admits her friends turned their backs on her as the Sugababes began to enjoy the trappings of their success.

"When I was little, my mum helped to make things fun for me and would let me have my friends over to stay," she explained. "I had been very popular but I lost most of my friends when the Sugababes started because they couldn't relate to me any more.

"For someone who was in with the in-crowd, it was very difficult to deal with."

In the push for fame, Keisha left school when she was just 14, as her pop career blossomed. The 21 year old recalled: "I've never had any other job than the Sugababes. It's all I know.

"I left school in my second year - I knew you were not supposed to leave early but I did anyway.

"I loved school but I had the option of private tuition and it wasn't possible to go to school and be in the Sugababes at the same time, so the choice was made for me.

"Don't get me wrong. Education is important and I would never encourage anyone to do what I did. It was a bit dodgy but it gave me the experience of being in a live band from the age of 12.

"This is something I have always put myself into. I was willing to sacrifice my childhood for the Sugababes from that age. I wanted to follow this dream and loved everything the Sugababes stand for."

The band are about to head out on a UK tour, which will see the girls performing a single Scottish date at Glasgow's Clyde Auditorium on March 20, before guesting on Take That's reunion tour.

It's bound to be an exciting year, but Keisha admits she was gutted that her group failed to win a single Brit award - despite selling more than 700,000 copies of their recent album Taller In More Ways.

"The girls will turn around and say they didn't mind but I was disappointed," she confessed. "I wanted to be nominated for Best Pop and not winning Best Single was disappointing.

"But Coldplay are a great band and deserved their Best Single win.

"We have had such a great year and this would have been a bonus. I wanted to walk away with that award, with that little gold man."

The Sugababes return with the release of a new song, Red Dress, on March 6.

Alongside Keisha and Heidi Range, the song features new girl Amelle Berrabah, 21, who replaced Mutya Buena, 20, earlier this month. …