Where Is Natalie Imbruglia Today?

From singing to acting to activism, 90s-era superstar Natalie Imbruglia is one of those people that seems to have been gifted with way too much talent to contain in a single person. Fans from the heyday of her hit song "Torn" will remember her as wonderfully down-to-earth, and as the girl-next-door in a hoodie and baggy pants, with little of the 90s glam that made it impossible for the everyday teen to live up to expectations set by the stars.

Imbruglia took a step back at the height of her fame, and she's been candid about the decision. She said in an interview with DuJour: "I look at pictures of back then and I'm like, 'Awww.' I was just trying to cope with the whole thing as it was happening. It was a lot, but I had a blast. I knew at the time that this might never happen again, career-wise. So I said to myself — you have a choice."

So, she chose to not only hold onto the experience, but she also made a conscious decision that she wouldn't get upset or regretful should she never hit the same highs she did with "Torn." And it's been freeing for her: Not only has she gone on to dip her toes into acting — notably alongside the brilliant Rowan Atkinson in "Johnny English" — but when she returned to music, it's been on her own terms. Where has she been lately? Where hasn't she been?

She's released a comeback album

It's easy to forget that being a massive superstar doesn't mean that a light switch flips and life suddenly becomes smooth sailing. That certainly didn't happen for Natalie Imbruglia, and when she spoke to The Guardian in 2021, she recalled how devastated she'd been when, in 2009, her record company dropped her amid disputes around her fourth album. "I really thought the universe was telling me not to make music," she reflected.

After a long period of trying to figure out her own direction in life, Imbruglia finally returned to music. When she released the album "Firebird," it became the first album of original songs she put out in more than a decade, saying, "I realized [music] is my first love. I might not be the best songwriter, but what I am is a communicator of emotion, and I think that's valid."

Imbruglia credited the birth of her first child as putting her back in touch with her creative side, and in an interview with the Grammy Awards, said that it had been as if the unconditional love that she experienced had unlocked a whole new potential within her. Alongside that came the grief of saying goodbye to a friend who had passed away after a cancer diagnosis: It was the perfect storm of emotions, and Imbruglia wrapped up by saying that she was hopeful there was another album on the horizon.

She did a deep dive into her ancestors

While not everyone subscribes to the theory that blood is thicker than water, understanding the lives of our ancestors is important. It can give us a sense of belonging, helps us understand past, present, and future family members, and for Natalie Imbruglia, her very public deep dive into her family tree gave her a sense of vindication.

She was one of the participants in Season 9 of the Australian version of "Who Do You Think You Are," a show that explores family histories and sometimes uncovers some shocking stuff. For Imbruglia, that was the realization that she was related to one of the passengers on the First Fleet, a man named John Ryan. Ryan, says Convict Records, was one of the 1063 people sentenced to transportation in 1789, and in his case, his crime had been stealing clothes.

The experience was cathartic, and Imbruglia explained, "I just think it's kind of ironic that when I was a kid in school, I used to get teased about being half Italian and they'd say, 'Go back to your own country.' And there's my great, great, great, great, great grandfather on the First Fleet."

She released an album covering songs by iconic male artists

Before releasing her all-original comeback album "Firebird," Natalie Imbruglia did something a little different. In 2015, she released her fifth album, simply entitled "Male." As the name suggests, it's Imbruglia doing covers of songs that had previously been done by men, and although The Guardian said it was a potentially neat idea, they also added that the execution left a lot to be desired.

The entire album grew out of Imbruglia's realization that many of the songs she wanted to cover — namely, those done by female artists — weren't ones that she wanted to actually do. "It felt more like a comparison, whereas when I did songs by men, it was just fun," she explained to DuJour. "There was instantly a different interpretation when it was coming from a woman; the way you think and feel about the song is different."

Not only did she view it as a take on feminism and an examination of "how far can you go being a strong woman, while still being considered feminine?" but she was able to pay homage to some of the biggest musical influences in her life. Among the most meaningful songs on the album? Pete Townshend's "Let My Love Open the Door," a song that meant a lot to her, according to what she told Entertainment Weekly: "Without sounding corny, this one connects to my heart."

She started her own line of skincare products

While Natalie Imbruglia had spent some time in LA and England focusing on her acting career, 2014 brought something completely different. That, says the Daily Telegraph, is when she was back home in Australia for the launch of a project that had been two years in the making: Her own line of skincare products.

The entire idea was that the line — called Iluka — was going to be an all-natural, anti-aging line formulated from ingredients typically found in the Australian outback. Those were things like crushed pearls, peppermint gum, eucalyptus, lemon myrtle, and a slew of other botanicals.

She explained: "We don't know half the ingredients in our household product, so I wanted to have amazing ingredients, like manuka honey from Tasmania, that I could be proud of, and are actually results-driven." At the time, she was on the verge of something else, too: Purchasing her first home in her home country.

She's dedicated herself to raising awareness about obstetric fistula

For years, Natalie Imbruglia has dedicated a huge amount of her time to raising awareness about a condition that's largely been corrected via surgical and preventative means in Europe and North America, but continues to be a devastating, life-changing problem for countless women in Nigeria and Ethiopia.

According to the United Nations Population Fund, obstetric fistula is a hole that can develop in the birth canal, and estimates suggest that it impacts more than half a million women. In addition to incontinence, it's also related to things like lower extremity nerve damage and kidney disease. Imbruglia became involved with raising awareness of the condition in 2005, and explained to Access: "It's a double trauma. Some of them are ostracized from their community. They feel dirty. They feel ashamed."

Imbruglia says she was first told about fistula by Richard Branson, and what followed were multiple trips to Nigeria and Ethiopia, in partnership with Branson's Virgin Group. In 2017, she was named as an official ambassador for fistula by EthiopiAid, saying, "It's unacceptable that women and girls in developing countries are still suffering from this entirely preventable and treatable condition."

She got kudos for cancelling a concert in Israel

On March 1, 2017, Natalie Imbruglia was scheduled to perform in Israel. That, of course, didn't go unnoticed, and a response from the Palestinian BDS National Committee asked her to cancel what would be her first concert in Israel. The open letter to her explained the conflict between Palestine and Israel, and two weeks later, they issued another open letter thanking her for considering the controversial position, and deciding to cancel the Tel Aviv concert.

While BDS likened her cancellation to being similar to that of the artists who had refused to perform in South Africa under apartheid, there are two sides to every story. According to The Jerusalem Post, her cancellation came with an apology, and was chalked up to what was called "logistic constraints." Imbruglia, they said, had promised to reschedule, but as of 2022, there has been no such rescheduling.

She returned for the Neighbours finale

Natalie Imbruglia's career really kicked off when she was cast in Australia's favorite show, "Neighbours." The long-running juggernaut launched countless careers, and according to The Guardian, Imbruglia was cast when she was just 16 years old. The year was 1992, and in 2022, Imbruglia delighted fans when she and fellow "Neighbours" alum Holly Valance returned to film a scene for the show's finale.

Although the two were real-life friends, their characters had never crossed paths on the show — until the finale, where a casual chat led them to the realization that they had grown up on the same street. Unlikely? "In true soap opera work, it is a bit unbelievable at times anyway, so we made it work," Valance explained to Studio 10. According to Digital Spy, it was the end of an era that had started decades before: When Imbruglia and Valance first met, the latter was just eight years old.

Valance isn't the only costar that Imbruglia has become long-time friends with, and in 2015, Hello! reported that she had posted photos of her vacation to the French Riviera. Joining her was none other than "Neighbours" alum-turned-pop-star Kylie Minogue.

She's been open about mental health issues

Being famous doesn't make someone exempt from mental health concerns, and Natalie Imbruglia has always been upfront and candid about her own struggles. In 2002, she told the Independent: "I have experienced depression. ... I think recognizing that it's happening and doing something about it is very brave."

Over the years, she has continued to speak out and kick-start candid conversations about mental health. In 2015, she spoke with the Evening Standard about the agoraphobia and need to isolate herself that came after her rise to fame with "Torn," describing her state of being at the time: "I was successful, rich, and terribly unhappy." That was the same year that she told the Irish Mirror that she had been diagnosed with an obsessive-compulsive disorder: "I have OCD, which can be a problem because I'm not good with change. My motto is, 'No surprises.'"

Then, in 2022, Imbruglia was looking back at the 25 years that had passed since the release of the 1997 hit that changed her life and her career forever, and opened up to the Independent on why she had actually chosen what had become her trademark look involving a hoodie and army pants. "My intention in wearing that was so that you couldn't see my silhouette, because I didn't want anyone to see." She also said that at the time, she was struggling with body dysmorphia, which Johns Hopkins says is a condition where negative thoughts about appearances and perceived flaws become so severe that they interfere with daily life.

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

She had a baby

In 2019, People reported that Natalie Imbruglia had finally fulfilled one of her lifelong dreams: becoming a mother. Several months after announcing that she had opted for IVF, she then announced the arrival of a baby boy she named Max Valentine.

Imbruglia has been candid about how the experience changed her life, too, telling Baby magazine (via The Sun) that looking back over her life had made her realize that she'd had so much already ... except for a baby, and it was time. She told The Telegraph that her journey to motherhood hadn't been an easy one: "I spent years after my divorce trying to fix myself, or fill a void with the thing that society expects: meet the guy and have the family. ... even before Max was born, I realized there was nothing missing. It was a massive epiphany, and very empowering."

That epiphany — the realization that she didn't need to find the right guy to have a baby — is reflected in a track on her comeback album "Firebird," notes The Guardian. According to what she told Yahoo!, finally having a child was the thing that lifted the pressure off her shoulders so she could write again. "It was nice to write this whilst I was pregnant, and then to record while I was pregnant. I think it's given me a sense of peace ... that without me knowing it, that yearning and that want for that particular thing in my life was affecting everything."

She's been open about breaking through the writer's block

The release of "Firebird" took a long, long time, and Yahoo! calls the years Natalie Imbruglia went without releasing an album "stagnant." It turns out that there's a very understandable reason that she hadn't been releasing new music, and it was simply that she couldn't create it.

Imbruglia has been candid about her struggles with writer's block and self-doubt. In addition to the distraction that came with her unwavering desire for a baby, there was also the end of her marriage to fellow Australian musician Daniel Johns. While the two have remained friends, she acknowledged that "there's certain things you go through in your life that are too painful to want to write about at the time."

The floodgates broke over the course of ten days in Nashville, she told The Line of Best Fit. She went there in 2018 to try to recapture the creativity she had been able to channel into previous songs and albums, saying, "There were a lot of tears. ... overcoming my writer's block, I had to learn. It's also about going, I would never say that. That's not how I would express myself. You're getting your confidence back."

Her win on The Masked Singer sparked some controversy

For anyone unfamiliar with the premise, "The Masked Singer" is a show where contestants perform in mascot-like costumes. It's a pretty creative premise that keeps the audience guessing about just who they're listening to, and in 2022, the third season of the show was topped off with the unmasking of Panda after their win. It was, of course, Natalie Imbruglia.

She later told the Irish Independent that the experience had allowed her to look back on just how far she had come. "I don't know that I would have done this in the midst of my songwriter's block, but I think I just created this amazing album, I was feeling in a really good place, and I'm a mum, so I think the idea of dressing up in a costume is more appealing when you're a mum."

Singing in the costume wasn't as easy as she thought it would be, she confided, and told the Mirror that she hadn't done it to win, necessarily, but for the experience of doing something just for the fun of it. She said that she hadn't expected to make it very far in the competition at all — not even, she noted, not knowing who the other contestants were. According to Extra, though, not everyone was thrilled with her win, and many fans were left believing that the other finalist — Charlotte Church — should have taken home the victory.

She's performing with Andrea Bocelli

In 2022, Natalie Imbruglia seemed to be on the other side of a dry spell. Her writer's block was broken, she had released a new album, and she told the Independent that she was looking forward to kicking off a tour in celebration of the 25th anniversary of her album "Left of Middle." She spoke, too, of her new-found confidence, and how she had finally been able to look back at the struggles she'd faced when fame had come to her when she was young. Did that mean the world was going to be seeing more of her? Yes, she said: I'm super excited to celebrate the album, ... [and] I think it's pretty incredible just to still have a career."

That wasn't the only thing going on, and if Imbruglia needed any other sign of just how much she was respected as an artist, she only needed to look to her Oct. 2022 Instagram announcement. Not only was she going to be going on her own tour, but she was going to be joining Andrea Bocelli as a special guest during several shows that he was going to be putting on in Australia.

She summed up her state of mind to Yahoo!: "Sometimes you have to kind of go through that process of a breakdown, which is exactly what I had to do. ... It's a really important message, and it's because I've had this epiphany ... And it's just that realization that, 'Oh, my gosh, I was actually fine the whole time.'"