Church told how an ex-boyfriend sold a story about her to The Sun when she was 17. The singer said: “My first boyfriend sold a story on me when I was 17 and that was pretty dreadful. I remember thinking why is it OK that someone senior in a newspaper could pay an unemployed boy from Cardiff tens of thousands of pounds to reveal intimate sexual details about another 17-year-old girl from Cardiff?”
She confessed that it was terrible to think that her grandmother could pick a paper and read personal details about her love life.
Church provided evidence that she was phone hacked as early as 2003. She was told by police that her phone messages were from then on monitored and intercepted by a private investigator.
Church reported that she was asked to perform at Rupert Murdoch’s wedding to Wendi Deng when she was 13 years old. She was given a choice – be paid £100,000 or waive the fee for the chance to be looked upon with favour by Murdoch’s newspapers.
News International has denied that this offer was ever made.
Church provided details about the media intrusion on her life.
“I haven’t been on a holiday since I was 16 where I haven’t been found and photographed,” Church said.
She described becoming a prisoner in her own home.
During her first pregnancy, six to eight photographers were constantly outside her house. In an attempt to get rid of the press ahead of giving birth to her baby she signed an exclusivity deal with a celebrity magazine.
“Whilst I’m giving birth to my first child I’m well aware there are six photographers outside my house. By signing that exclusivity deal I thought I was reducing the value of paparazzi photographs.”
During the inquiry she told of cameras being placed in cut-outs in a hedge surrounding her house.
“My manager and said he’d found a camera and that there was something cut out of the hedge. There was really no other person in the world who would do that other than the press.
“It had happened before, but not quite so dramatically.”
Church concluded her evidence at the inquiry by stating how the press has changed her life.
“I feel strangely strong because I’ve survived it all and I don’t know how because at times it really messes with your mind.
“In a way I think it’s made me stronger but professionally because I’ve been made a caricature for so long and that really isn’t me, the person I am or the way I live my life … I think that has had a massive impact on my career. I find it really difficult to be taken seriously because my credibility has been knocked for so many years.”