Pop idol Will Young is famous for his Cornish lifestyle, after buying a Grade II listed house on Bodmin Moor to “melt into nature” 13 years ago, when the celebrity lifestyle got too much for him.
According to media reports, his time in what he describes as his “Poldark” house – referring to the popular BBC drama series set in 18th-century Cornwall – is coming to an end. Young bought the 400-year-old former farmhouse in 2005 for £615,000 and spent a further £70,000 renovating it.
The 39-year-old has embraced the tranquil Cornish lifestyle from the sanctity of what he calls “Ross Poldark’s house”. His historic home resembles Nampara, the remote farmhouse where the fictional hero of the drama series (filmed at the village of St Breward) lives.
Boasting stunning vistas from the dining room and living room, the property is adjacent to moorland where rescue horses once grazed.
Unfortunately, Young says he now has to sell his home because of increasing work commitments, that mean he simply doesn’t have any time to spend there.
Will has lived in the historic property, which also has its own stables and outbuildings, with his dogs, Esme and Nelly. He is also a keen gardener and has maintained the garden beautifully, even planting a new hedge himself.
Young rose to fame when he won Simon Cowell’s television talent show, Pop Idol, in 2002. His debut single, Anything Is Possible and Evergreen, a double A-sided record, was the fastest-selling debut single in the UK when it was released, two weeks after the show’s grand finale. He has gone on to sell more than eight million records.
He enjoyed a series of massive chart hits, including three top-five singles and three multi-platinum albums, Keep On in 2005, Let it Go in 2008 and Echoes in 2011. He wrote some of his own material, including Don’t Let Me Down in 2002 and Changes in 2008. He also recorded cover versions of pop songs, such as The Doors’ Light My Fire and Westlife’s Evergreen.
The former student of politics at the University of Exeter has also acted in films, on television and on the stage, earning a nomination for the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor in 2013 for the London musical, Cabaret.
Young was known for being outspoken and had many run-ins with Cowell during the filming of Pop Idol. On one occasion, Cowell described Young’s performance as “distinctly average”. Young responded, that while the music mogul was entitled to his opinion, he was “wrong”.
Young told Cowell all of the contestants had wanted to answer him back. When Cowell interjected that he had only spoken his mind, Young said it was “nice” that Cowell had given opinions, rather than “projected insults”, which had been “terrible to watch”. After Young won the show with the public vote, Cowell conceded he had made a mistake.
Despite Young’s successful recording career after winning a recording contract with Cowell’s record label, the pair never saw eye to eye. In November 2012, Young announced he had left his record company and signed with Island Records instead.
However, the ongoing discord between the two celebrities rumbled on. Young appeared on Strictly Come Dancing in October 2015, quitting after three weeks and citing personal problems. Cowell later said Young “took himself too seriously”.
Young claimed Simon was a “bully” in a media interview in 2015, claiming any “nurturing” of the contestants on Cowell’s subsequent show, X-Factor, came “from the top” rather than from the star himself. Young said he “didn’t like bullies”, in a direct reference to Cowell.
Young began to buckle under the pressure of his high-profile career and later said he had mental health issues. He admitted in a frank interview that he had post-traumatic stress disorder that he believed resulted from being separated from his twin brother, Rupert, at birth. His twin was ill but recovered in an incubator.
Young also hid the fact he was gay when he won Pop Idol, but said the continued deception and suppressing it also made him ill.
It is recognised that a number of situations can cause PTSD, an anxiety condition first recognised in soldiers who had fought in a war. Young said it was difficult to look after yourself properly and have the courage to say no and walk away from the exposure and money of a pop career.
He admitted it could be “easier to carry on suffering” and endure the problems just to carry on working, but he did have the courage to walk away and this was when he found his bolt-hole in peaceful Cornwall. Moving to his historic home in a rural area improved his state of mind and saved his sanity.
With his beautiful house on the market, in a decision that has been “heart-wrenching”, in interviews, Young has described himself as “Cornish” and says his home has been “an escape”, which has helped with his mental health. He says he feels accepted as part of the local community and describes the Cornish people as “welcoming and lovely”.
As a new chapter in his life begins, including a recent stint in the stage show, Strictly Ballroom, he says he wishes to give someone else the pleasure of living in his “Poldark” hideaway.
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