Interview for Hello!

Singing sensation ANASTACIA weds her 'soul mate' Wayne in a dream beach ceremony in Mexico

Singer Anastacia is blissfully happy now she is permanently wrapped in the strong, protective arms of martial-arts expert Wayne Newton. The affable British-born hunk was formerly the Chicago native soul starís personal bodyguard. Now heís her husband. They exchanged vows the weekend before last in an intimate ceremony in Quinta Real in Huatulco, Mexico, which nature-loving Anastacia calls "a private and soulful beauty spot".

With 80 non-celebrities present Ė longtime friend Sir Elton John "who is like family to me", sent his apologies Ė this superstar wedding was positively low key. "Absolutely not an ego in the room", says Anastacia. "We kept it to family and friends. It was intense with honesty and joy."

On her big day, Anastacialooked radiant in a hand beaded gown and feather-light veil by British designer Jenny Peckham. Guests poured into a flower-filled room for the 5pm wedding, and a shaman officiated the spiritual ceremony.

Among the gathering were Anastaciaís mother and sister and her uncle was present with his family. "Thatís the only other family I have contact with", Anastacia explains. "My father passed away. But Wayne had a million relatives present."

Iím from Hackney by way of Guyana", says Wayne laughing. "Weíre a really close family with lots of cousins."

This is a first marriage for both Anastacia and Wayne. She ended a six-year relationship with actor Shawn Woods in 2001, while Wayne has two children, aged ten and two, with former girlfriend Lorrain Elston - unfortunately, they couldnít be at the wedding.

After the ceremony, the wedding party adjourned to another flower-filled room for cocktail hour and Anastacia and Wayne relaxed. "We hung with our friends and family who flew in from all corners of the earth. God bless their hearts, jet-lagged and all", she says.

At 8pm, as the sun was setting, everyone departed for al fresco wedding dinner. The tables were set out partway down a cliff face, so the couple played it safe and had their guests arrive by shuttle. "It was a beautiful setting, but all the stairs and walkways and stiletto heels? Not good", Anastacia laughs.

By then she was wearing a stunning turquoise evening gown, also by Jenny Peckham. After dinner guests partied the night away on a patio overlooking a pool and the beach.

Anastacia whose first international hit was ĄIím Outta Loveď met Wayne three years ago when he became her bodyguard and her happiness now tastes all the sweeter after heartache and debilitating health problems that have beset her life. Her parents separated when she was small. Anastacia, her mother, her sister and her brother, who has autism, once lived in a one bedroom flat in Manhattan. Anastacia was just seven when problems with her eyesight meant she began wearing glasses Ė something that later became a trademark. At 13 she was diagnosed with the intestinal disease Crohnís.

In 1998, an MTV talent show led to a record deal, but more personal difficulties lay ahead. Troubled by backache, Anastacia opted to have breast-reduction surgery in 2003. A pre-op mammogram led to a cancer diagnosis. Fortunately it was caught early and she had radiotherapy.

Today, however, as the Newtons start married life in Los Angeles, their future looks bright. Anastacia has a clothing line with s.Oliver and is planning a follow-up to Pieces Of A Dream, her greatest hits album. "Iíll start writing when we get back from the honeymoon", she explains. "I couldnít focus on anything else once Wayne asked me to marry him Ė I was like: Oh my God, Iím a bride!" The couple spoke exclusively to Hello! on the eve of their secret honeymoon.

Wayne and Anastacia, tell us about the December proposal!
Wayne: It was totally impromptu. We were going to have manicures and I saw this unbelievable set of rings Ė I couldnít get them out of my mind. While Anastacia was getting her manicure, I decided to purchase a ring. And then I thought, Iím going to ask her to get married to me. She was wondering where Iíd gone, but when I came back I slipped the ring into her handbag.

Anastacia: I was wondering, whatís wrong with him? What happened? Is he upset? Iím all worried. Then out of the blue he says: "Can I have two single dollar bills?" and I thought, Heís crazy! He was dumbfounded when I gave him two dollars without looking inside my bag. So he had to point inside it, saying, "Whatís that?" as if he had x-ray vision.

And you found the ring?
Anastacia: Yes in a little blue box.

Did you accept Wayneís proposal immediately?
Anastacia: Oh yes. Absolutely! Before heíd even said, "Will you marry me?"

Were you hoping heíd propose?
Anastacia: I never hoped heíd propose, I just knew I would be with him forever. I just felt it. It wasnít like, you have to marry me. It was never about that for me. I just knew he was the soul I was going to be with. I guess thatís what people feel like when they meet their partner Ė the person whoís really right for them.

What is the ring like?
Wayne: The engagement ring is an antique estate ring. And a gemologist who Anastacia has known for a long time made our wedding bands.

Anastacia: Diamond being the birthstone for April and seven being the year we decided to get married. We focused on diamonds and on the number seven, which is a very strong, spiritual number in our wedding bands. We exchanged the seventh diamond within each of our rings. He gave a pink one to me and I gave a blue one to him. Theyíre very simple, but elegant.

Had you always dreamed of your wedding day, Anastacia?
Anastacia: Not really!

Wayne had you ever dreamed of getting married?
Wayne: I only started having wedding fantasies once I proposed, to be honest Ė and that wasnīt to long ago!

How did you find the magical location for your wedding?
Anastacia: Wayne had taken me on vacation to Mexico and we started to look around. We bought out a hotel on a cliff with a beach. It had two beautiful domed rooms for our ceremony and so much character that we knew that with our touch it was going to go to a whole princess, fairytale level. Then for the evening we moved everybody down to the pool area near the beach.

Was the Mexican location important?
Anastacia: It was. Our wedding was officiated by a shaman. Weíre spiritual as a couple, but we donít follow a religious belief. Our wedding went smoothly from the proposal to the actual "I do" because we had the same views and were both involved in everything. I already know that Iím detailed, but it really meant a lot to me that this meant so much to Wayne. I donít think I know any other man who wants to know the color of the napkins.

Anastacia tell us about your wedding dress.
Anastacia: Iíd never even thought about getting married or getting a dress or what I would do. But spiritually, I felt Jenny Peckham would get what I wanted to achieve. The dress has a classic hourglass shape, but is very flowy and it was made from beautiful gauzy fabric.

What shade did you choose?
Anastacia: Oyster, not white or cream. It was such an antiquey color. And I enjoyed it more because Wayneís suit was almost an oat or wheat color, absolutely beautiful. His shirt was a crisp, sea blue, and the dress just bounced off of that. It was a perfect color for the environment.

Was your wedding all traditional?
Anastacia: Wayne and I didnít get to see each other the night before the wedding. That was very traditional. Suddenly I thought: Oh my God, the next time I see you Iím going to walk down the aisle to you.

Did you write your own vows?
Wayne: Yes itís funny because I told Anastacia Iíd written my vows prior to having actually written them.

Anastacia: Yes, heíd written them in his head! And I felt like such a loser when he said heíd already written them. Three weeks before the wedding I sat down and wrote mine. But he ended up writing his about two hours before he started getting ready for the wedding. It was so from the heart, though. Heís the one who brought everyone to tears.

Did you play Anastacia tracks at your wedding party?
Anastacia: Not until about one in the morning when everyone was so tipsy they wanted to do a conga line. No singing from me, thatís too much like work.

Do you both have a lot in common?
Anastacia: He is so much like me. Heís strong minded. He loves humor. He is absolutely driven. He is meticulous. He is a people person. He loves nature. He is spiritual. I canít say that we have a lot of differences. Our similarities are probably what connected us from the beginning.

Wayne: She is a great girl. She is very funny. Really generous. She is forever thinking about other people Ė sometimes to a fault Ė and how to make their lives easier. She loves watching football with me. Itís not about one person, itís about sharing ideas and being open to each other. It sounds really soppy. Iíve waited a long long time to meet somebody that I really could commit myself to and I feel really really lucky.

Would you like to have children together?
Anastacia: No. Iím excited to be involved with his children. But that is not our plan. We have such a big career and so many plans for the future, that it doesnít seem possible. Itís one of those times when we want to be a little bit selfish.

Your honeymoon is top secret. What can you tell us?
Anastacia: Wayne picked out a destination and has made it a Shangri-la for us. And itís sunny!

Why are you living in Beverly Hills rather than England?
Anastacia: Wayne felt that America would be a beautiful place to start a new life. And he ended up making my house a home, finally, by his presence. It was just a place I laid my bags and repacked, until he moved in. It didnít feel like a home. But sometimes a house becomes a home when you feel like you have someone to share it with.