Rachel Lauren Stevens (born 9 April
1978) is an English singer, songwriter, actress, dancer, television
personality and occasional model. She is a former member, and one of the
lead singers, of the successful pop group S Club, and launched a solo
recording career in 2003, releasing seven singles and two albums in the UK
between 2003 and 2005. In 2008, she came second in the sixth series of the
BBC One series Strictly Come Dancing with her dance partner Vincent
Born in London, United Kingdom to a middle class Jewish family, she
attended Ashmole School in London. From a very early age, Stevens was
drawn to entertaining people; she started ballet and acting lessons at the
age of five. In 1993 she first caught attention while beating out 5000
competitors and winning a modeling contest sponsored by UK teen magazine
Following her first modeling jobs, she decided to study at the London
College of Fashion (where she achieved a diploma in the business course).
During that time she also worked in a film company and later ended up
working in public relations, but began to lose interest and decided to
pursue a career in singing instead.
At the age of twenty, Stevens became a member of the British pop group S
Club 7, which were a BRIT Award-winning British pop group created by
former Spice Girls manager Simon Fuller. The group rose to fame via their
own BBC television programme and by selling 16 million records worldwide
and launching four number one hit singles in the United Kingdom. S Club
eventually split up in 2003.
In both 2001 and 2002 she was voted the second Sexiest Woman in the World
by UK's FHM readers.
After S Club were disbanded, Stevens signed a £1.5 million ($2.3 million)
solo four-album deal with Polydor Records and re-signed with Fuller.
Breaking out on her own after success with S Club was hard for Stevens, "I
think we ended up conforming to what people's perceptions were," she said
about the group. "This one was the ditzy one, this one was the singer,
this one was the dancer. And to come out of that and be a whole person has
been a real challenge for me. I didn't have my say, really, in the group.
None of us did."
Her first solo single, written by Cathy Dennis (who has also written for
Britney Spears and Kylie Minogue) and produced by Bloodshy & Avant, "Sweet
Dreams My LA Ex", was released in September 2003.
Taking inspiration from R&B music most reminiscent of TLC and Sugababes,
and adult-style pop music by Madonna, Stevens's debut solo album, Funky
Dory was released later that month. The album was a minor hit, reaching
number nine on the UK albums chart. Although the album was not a huge
commercial success, it did gain praise from pop critics. Jamie Gill, in a
review for Yahoo! Launch, said that Stevens "eschews the cheap and
cheerful approach of her old band for a slinky adult confidence and
That December, the album's title track, "Funky Dory" was released as the
second single. The song was hailed as being sophisticated and sexy, like
its predecessor, and featured a sample of the David Bowie song "Andy
Warhol" from his album Hunky Dory. Hopes were high that the single would
be able to match the success of "Sweet Dreams My LA Ex", but like her
album, the single made a low showing on the charts, peaking at number
twenty four. The song was given mixed reviews by pop-critics with some
calling it "musically better than "Sweet Dreams My LA Ex" with a hybrid of
pop, Latin and even a hint of jazz infusion" but not a good choice as a
single as it lacked anything special and different, as it did not live up
to Stevens's previous single.
In July 2004, Stevens released a brand new song, "Some Girls" which was
produced by Richard X. After the commercial failure of both her album and
previous song hopes were high for "Some Girls" to perform well on the
charts, with critics calling the song her career make or break release.
The song became a hit across Europe, and reached number two in the UK. All
profits from the song went to the BBC Sport Relief charity. On its release
HMV.co.uk called the song Stevens's "finest song to date", and Yahoo!
Launch commented "she came to save her career. She ended up saving pop."
Due to the success of "Some Girls", Funky Dory was re-released to include
"Some Girls" and another new track, a cover of Andrea True Connection's
"More More More". "More More More" peaked at number three in the UK,
giving Stevens her third top ten solo single in the UK. At this point,
Stevens stepped up promotion, inadvertently earning herself a Guinness
World Record for “Most Public Appearances by a Pop Star in 24 Hours in
Different Cities” (Seven on 8 September-9 September 2004).
In late 2004, Stevens began working on her second solo album with
producers and songwriters Richard X, Alexis Strum, and Xenomania. The
following March she released the first single from her upcoming album,
"Negotiate With Love". The song was hit in the UK, reaching the top ten.
"Negotiate with Love" was followed-up by the song "So Good", which was
released in July and was another success when it peaked at number ten in
the UK. It was hailed as a good pop song that was "tastily produced and
In the summer of 2005, Channel 4 broadcast a documentary which followed
Stevens through the summer as she promoted "So Good". After the singles
and the documentary appeared, Stevens released Come and Get It in October
2005. The album was, like her previous effort, a minor success peaking at
number twenty eight in the UK.
The last single released from Come And Get It was "I Said Never Again (But
Here We Are)", released in October 2005 the song peaked at number twelve
in the UK. The single received some of the best reviews of Stevens's
career with it being hailed by HMV.co.uk for its "astonishingly flawless
vocal performance" and as Stevens's "most commercially accessible and
quirky single since "Some Girls"."
Two years after the album's release, The Guardian placed it in their
article "1000 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die" list.
In December 2009, Stevens confirmed plans to release a new album. She
stated, "It's very early stages at the moment, but I'm going into the
studio in the New Year ... all very exciting! I'll keep you all posted
with what's going on."
While Stevens was a member of S Club 7, she appeared in five series of S
Club shows: S Club 7 Go Wild! Miami 7, L.A. 7, Hollywood 7, and Viva S
Club. The group also starred in the feature film, Seeing Double. In 2004,
Stevens briefly appeared in Suzie Gold, followed by a minor cameo role in
Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo (2005).
In 2005, Stevens played a character called "Jane-Mary" in a Spider Man
charity spoof called Spider-Plant Man for the BBC appearing opposite Rowan
Atkinson. In December 2007 it was announced that Stevens would be
transformed into a nine-inch high plasticine character for Glendogie
Bogey, a new animated comedy for BBC Scotland. Later in 2005, Stevens also
played a minor role in Dominic Veall's ITV television drama Flawless
playing Lucy Carlts, the sister of Rodger Carlts.
In January 2009, Stevens was reportedly "in talks" to appear in the second
series of BBC One's Merlin.
In August 2008, it was announced that Stevens would take part in the 2008
series of Strictly Come Dancing, which started on 20 September. She was
partnered with professional dancer Vincent Simone, and together they hold
the record for the most perfect 10s ever achieved in any series of
Strictly Come Dancing, thus beating out other contestants including 2007
winner Alesha Dixon and 2008 winner Tom Chambers. They also hold the
record for the Foxtrot, Tango, Argentine Tango and Rumba and even though
Stevens is perhaps the most successful contestant in Strictly history, she
finished in second place.
Stevens and Vincent Simone also took part in the 2008 Strictly Come
Dancing Christmas Special on Christmas Day which saw a four way tie at the
top of the leader board by four couples getting 39 points each. Head judge
Len made the final decision and decided to put them in order which left
Stevens in third place in the leader board. Stevens returned in Series 7
2009 grand final with a group tango which saw her dance with Vincent and
alongside series 6 finalist Lisa Snowdon and Brendan Cole.
Stevens and Simone also competed in the 2009 Christmas Special alongside
Austin Healey, Chris Hollins, Gethin Jones, Ali Bastian and Ricky Whittle.
Stevens and Simone did not win the Christmas Special, however, they did
match their score for the rumba (39/40), still the highest score for the
dance to date and thus ending the special as runners up.
In her earlier years in S Club, Stevens dated property developer Daniel
Cohen for about two years. Following the split, Cohen stated he met
Stevens socially a few times after their break-up, adding "she's an
absolute darling, someone I haven't a bad word to say about".
On Valentine's Day in 2002, Stevens became engaged to actor Jeremy
Edwards. The couple broke up in early 2004.
After the breakup, she dated Gavin Dein, son of former Arsenal
vice-chairman David Dein. The relationship did not last long, with the
couple splitting up in August 2005.
In September and October 2006 respectively, Stevens was linked to actor
Stephen Dorff and American-based British singer Oliver Trevena, known
professionally as Oli T.
In June 2008, Stevens became engaged to boyfriend Alex Bourne in Italy
(who had changed his surname from Leigh) after 18 months of dating. The
couple were planning to get married in the autumn of 2008 but decided to
postpone their wedding until August 2009 due to Stevens's busy autumn
schedule training and performing on Strictly Come Dancing. Stevens married
Bourne on 2 August 2009.