From Neighbours to superstar singer: Kylie Minogue's dazzling career

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Growing up in suburban Melbourne, Kylie Minogue didn't seem destined for stardom. Kylie and her sister Dannii were encouraged to take singing and dancing lessons and while Kylie won second prize in a local arts festival – everyone thought it was Dannii that had the real talent.

At just seven, Dannii convinced her parents to let her enrol in the Johnny Young Talent School and it didn't take long for them to recognise her potential and recruit her for the popular TV show Young Talent Time.

Family is important to Kylie seen here in a throwback picture with her mum Carol and sister Dannii as kids and inset with Dannii grown-up. Photo: instagram/@kylieminogue
Family is important to Kylie seen here in a throwback picture with her mum Carol and sister Dannii as kids and inset with Dannii grown-up. Photo: instagram/@kylieminogue

At this stage, Kylie, the eldest of three, was content to sit at home and sort through Dannii's fan mail. 

When her aunt Suzette, an actress, wanted to take Dannii to an audition for The Sullivans, the girls' mum Carol took all three children along, Kylie, then 10, Brendan, eight and Dannii, seven. While Dannii was too young for the role, Kylie was cast in the role of Carla and so her acting career began. 

From there she picked up a bit part in Skyways and the lead in the kids TV show The Henderson Kids, however her big break was as the feisty car mechanic Charlene Mitchell in iconic Aussie soap Neighbours.

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Kylie joined Neighbours in 1986 as tearaway mechanic Charlene Mitchell. Photo: instagram/@kylieminogue
Kylie joined Neighbours in 1986 as tearaway mechanic Charlene Mitchell. Photo: instagram/@kylieminogue

Kylie and Jason Donovan, who portrayed Scott Robinson in the show, became Australia's golden couple. It didn't matter that it was a screen relationship, Aussies wanted nothing more than their romance to be real.

When Scott and Charlene tied the knot, it was not only a ratings winner here but more than 20 million fans in the UK tuned in to watch that episode. 

Kylie also won four Logie's for her performance in 1988 and was the youngest actress to walk away with Gold Logie at just 19-years-old.

But while Kylie didn't turn her back completely on acting it was clear she wanted to be a singer and she left Neighbours in 1988 to launch her music career.

After leaving Neighbours, Kylie's singing career took off and she's covered many styles over the years – including her memorable duet with fellow Neighbours star Jason Donovan. Photo: instagram/@kylieminogue
After leaving Neighbours, Kylie's singing career took off and she's covered many styles over the years – including her memorable duet with fellow Neighbours star Jason Donovan. Photo: instagram/@kylieminogue

Kylie was signed by London record producers Stock Aiken Waterman and before the year was out her debut album Kylie was released. 

The album included her successful singles The Loco-Motion, I Should Be So Lucky and Got To Be Certain. She also released a single with former co-star Jason, Especially For You, which was huge with her Neighbours fanbase.

And while her singles were a hit with her fans, cruel critics were quick to shoot her down, giving her the nickname 'the singing budgie'. But she didn't let her detractors distract her, this was what she wanted to do and she was going to prove them wrong.

A three-year relationship with super cool INXS frontman Michael Hutchence helped give Kylie some street cred both on the social circuit and in the musical world and before long her singing career soared.

Singles such as Better the Devil You Know, Step Back in Time, Confide in Me, and her collaboration with Nick Cave on Where the Wild Roses Grow spent weeks in the charts - she was a bonafide star by now. 

In between, she took acting roles in films such as The Delinquent and Street Fighter but her heart was now in music.

By the time she released her seventh album Light Years in 2000, she was a superstar - one of the few known by just their first name. She was no longer just a successful singer, she was a fashion icon, a sex symbol, a superstar and she had a number of lucrative businesses as well selling everything from lingerie to bed linen.

Kylie Minogue is a style icon, a fashionista, a successful businesswoman and an iconic beauty. Photo: instagram/@kylieminogue
Kylie Minogue is a style icon, a fashionista, a successful businesswoman and an iconic beauty. Photo: instagram/@kylieminogue

With her fame in the stratosphere and on the last leg of her Showgirl: Greatest Hits Tour in 2005, she was hit with tragic news. At just 37 she discovered she had breast cancer. She returned to her hometown of Melbourne for surgery and chemotherapy.

Her boyfriend at the time, French actor Olivier Martinez, was a rock for her. "Olli was there all the time," Kylie told Elle UK. "He was incredible. He didn’t hesitate in cancelling work and putting projects on hold so he could be with me."

Luckily her treatment was a success and Kylie could return to doing what she loved - albeit as a changed woman.

"Cancer changed many things forever," she revealed to The Express newspaper. "My view of the world was different. My illness made me even more passionate about all the people and all the things that I love."

"The strength my family showed was extraordinary," she added. "The love, support and the kindness of strangers! I was so very aware of, and grateful for, all that had gone before me."

Kylie has finally found true love with British GQ magazine's creative director Paul Solomons. Photo: instagram/@kylieminogue
Kylie has finally found true love with British GQ magazine's creative director Paul Solomons. Photo: instagram/@kylieminogue

While Kylie always dated some of the most successful and attractive men in the world, none of them has been able to tie down this powerhouse despite Kylie loving the romance of a relationship. 

"My life has always been geared towards my career. If my life is complete in other ways then I don't mind being a 65-year-old spinster," she told The Sun. "But I don't discount love when I'm talking about not getting married."

But she may have found the man not looking to tame her but her support her - wedding or not. Kylie has been with British magazine creative director Paul Solomons since 2018 and they seem as loved up as when they first started dating.

“He had to come to the rescue a few times on tour when I was really unwell," Kylie told The Sun about boyfriend Paul. "He’d swoop in and hold me in a way that no one else can. He cares about my fans, he cares about my world, but mostly he cares about me."

Kylie launched her own wine label in 2020. Photo: instagram/@kylieminogue
Kylie launched her own wine label in 2020. Photo: instagram/@kylieminogue

Turning 50 hasn't slowed down our very own pop princess either. At 53 she continues to release music, collaborate with other artists and give back to her community and society.

When she witnessed the horror of the 2019-2020 bushfires in Australia she took to Instagram and pledged a half a million-dollar donation. 

"Returning home to such devastation throughout much of the country is heartbreaking," she said in her post. "As a family, we’ve donated $500,000 towards the immediate firefighting efforts and the ongoing support which will be required."

And despite a global pandemic she continues to diversify her interests and has another hit on her hands with the launch of her wine label last year. 

“I have a great passion for rosé and have loved working for the last two years on developing Kylie Minogue Wines,” Kylie said at the wine launch

So just what is next for the wonderful Miss Minogue? While fans hope to see her walk down the aisle and get her happily ever after, Kylie is probably more focused on her next venture – we just can't wait to hear what that is!

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