Kirsty Bertarelli is Britain’s richest woman. And as a multi-billionaire she lives an enviably incredible life.
Her fortune is so vast that it eclipses
Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling and the Queen combined, at £9.75 billion ($US14.5 billion), according to the Sunday Times Rich List 2014.
She became Miss UK as a teenager, an accomplished music writer in her 20s, and then in her 30s became the wife and the mother of three children with Switzerland’s richest man, Ernesto Bertarelli, who sold his family’s pharmaceuticals firm Serono for £9 billion to Merck in 2007.
Now in her 40s, she is trying to take the world by storm with her singing. She has already supported Simply Red’s Mick Hucknall in concert and performed for the Prince and Princess of Monaco.
But her tale isn't a 'rags to riches' story. Her father, along with her uncles, owned one of the world's largest manufacturers of ceramics, Churchill China.
She even went to the now defunct private boarding school Howell's in North Wales, and gained seven O levels.
As a child, 'We had so many opportunities: riding, tennis. We were taught good values; in the holidays we worked in my father's factory. It taught us to be grounded,' she said in an interview with the Telegraph
On her website, she says her mother encouraged her to write poems, and that later became her way of writing songs.
At 17, she joined a modelling agency in Manchester, which entered her for the Miss UK beauty contest.
In 1988, she was crowned Miss UK and became second place runner-up for the Miss World pageant. Here she is with 1990's It Girl Tamara Beckwith.
This opened doors for her in the music industry. She was signed to Warner Records and began writing music professionally.
Meanwhile in 1997, aged 26, she met her future husband Ernesto Bertarelli at a dinner party in a Sardinian villa.
'There were so many girls wanting to be with him and I think he just found me naively refreshing,' she told The Telegraph in an interview.
The same year, she also scored a No.1 hit single, 'Black Coffee,' which she co-wrote for one of Britain's most popular girl bands at the time: All Saints.
While on honeymoon -- a safari run by Massai warriors -- she became pregnant with her daughter Chiara, who is now 13. She later had Falco, now 9, and Alceo, 7.
Her fortune is so vast at £9 billion that it is more than the Queen and Harry Potter's creator JK Rowling combined.
Ernesto sold his family's pharmaceutical company Serono, which was Europe's biggest biotech firm at the time, to German drugmaker Merck in in 2006 for £9 billion.
But her dreams of being a singer were put on hold while her family relocated to New Zealand and then Spain for Ernesto's yachting team Alinghi.
In 2003 and 2007, Ernesto's team won the world's most expensive and highly contested yacht race, America's Cup.
But despite her incredibly hectic lifestyle, she insists that Ernesto, herself and her children are a 'close knit family.' 'Ernesto and I are always at home, bringing up the kids. Every morning we're preparing breakfast for them, there's pandemonium,' she told The Telegraph.
After 2008, Kirsty and Ernesto split their time between Switzerland and London. Her life has been a whirlwind of parties, fashion shows, holidays and singing ever since.
But all she's ever 'wanted to do' was be a popstar. 'I've been writing songs since I was in my teens. But now I am a little older, there is so much more to write about!' she says on her website.
She also insists that she has always forged her own way through the music industry.'I don't think Ernesto is going to stop working and rely on my income quite yet but it still feels fantastic to make your own money. It's important to a woman's self-worth and self-belief to be making some money,' she told the Mirror in 2013.
2010 marked an incredibly important year in her singing career. Her debut album 'Elusive' entering the Swiss charts in the 20th position in January that year.
In 2011, she made a remix of her conservation song 'Green' and performed it at the WWF Panda Ball celebrating the association's 50th Anniversary. Here she is with Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene of Monaco (centre).
In 2012, she then signed a deal with Sony / ATV Music. Her single 'Twilight' with trance DJ Armin Van Buuren peaked at the European dance charts for 9 weeks.
After releasing her acoustic album 'Green' in 2012, she completed another album 'Love is' in 2013, which was recorded in Nashville, Tennessee.
She also loves a good fry up. Her Instagram is packed with pictures of plates of bacon, sausages and baked beans.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.