Tula Paulinea "Tulisa" Contostavlos (born 13 July 1988), known mononymously as Tulisa, is an English singer-songwriter, actress, and television personality. She was a member of the Camden-based hip hop group N-Dubz, with her cousin Dappy and their friend Fazer. N-Dubz was formed in 2000 and released three studio albums before announcing an indefinite hiatus in 2011.
In 2011 to 2012, Contostavlos was as a judge on the The X Factor. She mentored the "Groups" category in her first year, including Little Mix, who as of 2015 are the only group to win the competition in the UK. On 16 March 2012, during a Twitter dispute with Dappy, Contostavlos announced that N-Dubz had split up, and were not taking a break as stated in 2011. Contostavlos released her debut solo album, The Female Boss, on 3 December 2012. It received unfavourable reviews from contemporary music critics and poor first-week sales. However, its lead single "Young" managed to top the UK Singles Chart.
Contostavlos was born in Camden Town, north London, to an Irish mother, Anne Byrne (who, with her three sisters, was a member of the 1980s band Jeep) and a Greek father, Plato Contostavlos (who was at one time a member of Mungo Jerry); Her paternal grandfather was once a UN diplomat, whose home in Greece was close to that of Aristotle Onassis.
When Tulisa was five, her mother, who has bipolar disorder and schizoaffective disorder, was sectioned under the Mental Health Act. She said that she was brought up in a three bedroom house and experienced a lot as a teenager: violence, depression, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, anorexia nervosa, mental health issues, financial difficulties and bullying.
She revealed that she twice tried to kill herself as a teenager and also used to self-harm to try to help her cope with everything she was going through. With support from her uncle, N-Dubz's former manager, Byron Contostavlos, at age 14 she enrolled at Haverstock Secondary School, later attending Quintin Kynaston School in St John's Wood, but she didn't sit her GCSE examinations.
Starting in 2008 and lasting for around 18 months, Contostavlos dated south London-based DJ/rapper/singer, Justin Edwards also known as MC Ultra.
She was in a relationship with N-Dubz bandmate Fazer from May 2010 but the relationship ended after an argument on holiday in February 2012. The two remain friends and have collaborated on several tracks together.
In 2012, Contostavlos had a brief relationship with Skins actor Jack O'Connell; it was reported they split due to incompatible work schedules.
In March 2012, a 6-minute sex tape of Contostavlos and her former lover Justin Edwards emerged on the internet. Contostavlos was granted an injunction (Contostavlos v Mendahun) that legally blocks the distribution of the tape. The injunction prohibits anyone from using, publishing, communicating or disclosing all or any part of the film to any other person.
Simon Cowell stated that the scandal would not affect her job on The X Factor. In the aftermath she later recorded a video response in which she clarified the relationship on her YouTube account "Tulisaconto", and stated that she was both heartbroken and devastated by Justin Edwards' release of the video.
In July 2012, she settled a legal action against Edwards, who apologised for releasing the tape. It was later reported that her lawyer was still pursuing action against Edwards' former manager Chris Herbert, who has had his job as a consultant on The X Factor suspended.
On 4 June 2013, Contostavlos was arrested by police on suspicion of supplying class A drugs and bailed to a date in July 2013. It was revealed that two residential properties had been searched as part of the investigation. She was formally charged on 9 December with "being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs" and appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court on 19 December where she denied being involved with the supply of 13.9 grams of cocaine. She was granted unconditional bail and then appeared at Southwark Crown Court on 9 January 2014. The trial date was set for 14 July 2014. The case was dismissed as the judge believed prosecution witness Mazher Mahmood had lied to the court. In April 2015, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, President of the Irish High Court, described her as having been "cruelly deceived in a shabby sting operation", but dismissed her attempt to sue the Irish Sun for defamation over the case as he was "astounded" by the delay in initiating legal proceedings.
Contostavlos is often portrayed by the British media as a chav. Following the collapse of her drug trial, The Guardian's Suzanne Moore dismissed her reputation, and wrote: "Tulisa is famously a working class girl made good, though of course made good is never what she is allowed to be." In Moore's opinion: "Tulisa has been branded by the media as a chav and therefore almost anything can be said about her." Contostavlos herself also thought that her inferior reputation led her to the situation, saying: "Part of it I think is a class thing. With me I think they thought it would stick, it’s more believable."
On 25 July 2014, Contostavlos was fined at a magistrates court in east London for assaulting a celebrity blogger Savvas Morgan at the V Festival, Essex in August 2013. In January 2014, she launched an appeal against her conviction of assaulting The Only Way Is Essex cast member Vas J Morgan. After two days of hearings she lost the appeal. On the outset of this, the judge said he believed that Tulisa had "lost control and struck Mr Morgan in the eye causing swelling". Tulisa's assault and court fines were lowered.
On 11 September 2015, Contostavlos was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving after she was involved in a crash outside Southgate tube station in London. Contostavlos was breathalysed at the scene she was arrested straight after. After being questioned by police, She was released on bail pending further enquiries. On 7 March 2016, Contostavlos was charged with drunk driving and on 30 March 2016, she was charged with dangerous driving. On 4 April 2016, she admitted drunk driving and was banned from driving for 15 months and was fined £1,185. The charge of dangerous driving was dropped by prosecutors.