Curse of Eurovision – from star forced to live in caravan after hubby blew fortune to fatal plane crash and tragic death | The Sun

THE Eurovision song contest is known for its wacky performances, colourful costumes and cheesy song lyrics.

But for some of its memorable contestants, life has taken a darker turn in the years since their big moment on stage.

As the UK gears up to host the song contest for the first time since 1998, we take a look at the bitter band break-ups, financial woes and unexpected tragedies that have hit Eurovision stars.

Sandie Shaw

Singer Sandie, now 76, went down in history as the first act to give Britain a win at Eurovision back in 1967 with her rendition of Puppet on a String.

She was already a well-known singer when she entered the competition, with two number one singles under her belt.

But her life hasn't been rosy since her triumph.


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A year after her victory she married fashion designer Jeff Banks, but the pair divorced just over a decade later in 1978.

Sandie accused her ex of blowing her fortune on his struggling career, leaving her and their daughter destitute to the point where they had to go and live in a caravan.

The couple didn't speak for years, but in 2020 Sandie revealed she had forgiven Banks and they were talking again.

She told the Person of Interest podcast: "When he was losing all my money without asking I thought that was part of being married. It was a real wake-up call to me that that’s not how it is.

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"I was with my mother-in-law, in the caravan, with my daughter, and we used to sit and knit squares in all different colours. Rainbow colours as a sign of our hope, wishing for something to turn out OK."

Sandie retired from music in 2013 and is now married to her third husband, psychologist Tony Bedford.

Bucks Fizz

Former UK winners Bucks Fizz, whose track Making Your Mind Up was the favourite in 1981, were riding high on success until a horror crash in 1984.

A bus crash in Newcastle broke the spine of band member Cheryl Baker, now 69, and put Mike Nolan, 68, in a three-day coma, causing life-changing injuries.

Both were catapulted through the windscreen, and at one point Mike was given his last rites in hospital due to internal bleeding and head injuries that left him fighting for life.

He pulled through, but developed epilepsy, lost 50 per cent of his vision in both eyes and became withdrawn, showing signs of personality change – though he's since claimed he's back to his old self.

Jay Aston, 62, and Bobby G, 69, were also injured but less seriously.

The group split a year later, with Jay announcing she was leaving following an affair with Andy Hill, the husband of the group's creator, Nichola Martin.

In a bid to keep the group going, Shelley Preston was brought in as a replacement – but she left after just a year.

David Van Day was later drafted in, but when he too left it triggered a court case over the name of the band and who could use it – resulting in Bobby G keeping the naming rights.

Since then the group has had numerous members and now exists without a single person from the original line-up.

Last year Jay revealed she was broke, leading to fans and former band members offering to help her out.

It comes after she battled mouth cancer and her daughter was hospitalised with meningitis.

Alexander Rybak

Norwegian winner Alexander, 36, set the record for the most points ever awarded in 2009 when he scored 387 for his song Fairytales.

He made a second entry for the show in 2018 with That's How You Write A Song, but it didn't win.

In 2020 Alexander revealed that behind closed doors, he was struggling with an addiction to sleeping pills and antidepressants.

He wrote online: "I’ve been living with a secret. For 11 years I have been addicted to sleep medications and antidepressants. It started out harmless, but in the end, it almost ruined my life.

"This January I started rehab (with good help from my doctors) and little by little I’m starting to feel like myself again.

"During the past years, the pills made me weak and scared. It affected not only my brain but also my muscles and stomach. It destroyed my relationships to people, but most importantly it almost destroyed my will to live."

He has since enrolled at Columbia College Chicago and is still releasing new music and updating fans about his life on social media.

Niamh Kavanagh

In 1993, Niamh clenched Ireland's second victory at Eurovision with her rendition of In Your Eyes.

She returned to compete again in 2010 with It's for You but couldn't replicate her previous success – placing 23rd overall.

Tragically, in 2018, Niamh's husband Paul Megahey suffered a debilitating stroke while she was performing on stage.

It left him unable to speak, but he is slowly recovering, though doctors have warned he'll never regain all of his abilities.

Niamh, 55, decided to quit fame and now works at Tesco as a customer assistant alongside her son.

Speaking about Paul, she told the Irish Sun: "He's doing very well. His speech is still a little hesitant at times but that's part of who he's going to be I think.

"It has taken a lot of his energy to recover from it and to make himself not to feel self-conscious."

Örs Siklósi

Hungarian Örs was the lead singer of Eurovision entry AWS who performed in the 2018 competition.

Tragically, three years later, his bandmates announced he had passed away aged just 29.

They wrote online: "To say the unspeakable, to describe the indescribable. That is what we now have to do. In June, Örs was diagnosed with leukaemia and now we are deeply saddened to inform you that he passed away yesterday.

"He wanted to open up about his illness last month, he had planned to release his fist solo record this spring and we were set to make the fifth AWS record and play shows again this fall. During this period his bravery and dignity were exemplary."

The band is still performing and have a new lead singer.

Alexandrov Ensemble Choir

One of the worst tragedies in Eurovision history happened on Christmas Day 2016, when the majority of the Alexandrov choir were killed in a plane crash.

The group had performed Not Gonna Get Us with t.A.T.u during the song contest’s interval in 2009, when the event was hosted in Moscow.

The choir was travelling to a Christmas celebration with troops at a military base when the Russian military aircraft they were on crashed off the coast of Sochi while en route to Syria.

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All 92 people on board were killed, including around 60 members of the group.

The choir is still going and currently markets itself as The Red Army Choir.

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