Paul Potts went from being a manager at Carphone Warehouse in Wales to touring the world in a matter of mere months back in 2009.

The opera singer wowed judge Simon Cowell and went on to scoop the Britain’s Got Talent crown.

He also secured a recording contract alongside a slot in the Royal Variety Performance and worked with some of the biggest names in music.

But during Paul’s first ever audition he was hiding years of bullying, health woes and a horrifying story of sexual abuse as a child.

It’s been 12 years since a shy Paul shuffled onto our screens in an ill-fitting suit for the first series of the ITV talent show.

Paul wowed the judges during his first ever audition

His first ever audition for BGT was on 4 March 2007, where he performed without the judges being present, before they placed him in front of the panel at the Wales Millennium Centre on 17 March.

A clip of that audition – in which Paul shrugged off his awkward persona and astonished the judges with his pitch-perfect rendition of Puccini’s Nessun Dorma – has gone on to be one of the most watched YouTube videos of all time, racking up 165 million views.

Paul had hid a world of misery throughout his life, having being marked out from an early age by the mean kids at school.

Paul on Good Morning Britain ahead of the new BGT series

He was badly bullied from the age of seven to when he left school, and his teeth were broken when he was a teen running away from his tormentors.

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A few years before he found fame, some of the bullies contacted Paul to apologise for the way they treated him.

Despite the misery of what he’d been through, Paul, who has been married for 16 years to wife Julie-Ann, decided to forgive them.

He has gone on to sell millions of records

Paul was hiding a history of bullying and abuse during his first ever audition

He told the Mirror earlier this year: “You give the abuse more voice by holding onto it too long and not letting go of it.

“Bullies don’t just affect part of your youth, it shapes part of who you are as a person.

“I wouldn’t want to go through what I went through as a teen, but at the same time it gave me the armour I need for what I do now.”

Singer Paul Potts appearing on Good Morning Britain
Paul back in 2016 has had quite the transformation

Paul had been singing opera since the age of 28 and in 1999 he appeared on Michael Barrymore’s My Kind of Music, where he won the £8,000 prize.

After spending £20,000 on his music career, singing with Pavarotti, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and touring Italy, he was told by doctors that they had discovered a benign tumour during treatment for appendecitis.

Shortly after recovering from his operation Paul’s singing career nearly ended when he broke his collar bone in a bike accident.

Paul with his wife of 16 years Julie Ann

He eventually recovered and went on to perform on BGT, winning and then going on to travel the world.

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It’s a rag-to-riches story that’s as inspirational as it gets, with his life made into a film starring James Corden.

A rom-com biopic with an uplifting ending that sees the underdog win, however Paul chose to not to tell the writers of his movie One Chance about a darker side to his life.

Paul released a biography some years after the movie was released detailing the sexual abuse he endured that he didn’t want including.

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Now Paul is returning once more to the stage that made his name as part of Britain’s Got Talent: Champions.

He will be joined with many other BGT stars competing for the crown including George Sampson and father-and-son dueo Stavros Flatley.

Jai McDowall, who won in 2011, is back, as are 2014 winners Collabro, magician Ben Hart and dance duo Twist and Pulse.

Ashleigh Butler is returning without Pudsey, who sadly died two years ago and is being replaced by Sully.

Britain’s Got Talent the Champions will air on Saturday

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Comedians Lost Voice Guy and Jack Caroll will also be bringing the laughs.

Reigning champion Colin Thackery will be belting out a song once again.

However, there is a huge change to the usual format as viewers won’t be able to vote for their favourite.

Each week, wo acts make it through to the grand finale, but instead of being chosen by those at home a Golden Buzzer act will be chosen by one of the judges or Ant and Dec, while the second is voted through by superfans in the arena audience.

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Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions airs Saturday at 8pm on ITV.





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