‘Where did I disappear to?’:  Duffy’s career timeline

Welsh singer Duffy has shared a moving post on social media, after years away from the limelight.

The 35-year-old revealed on Instagram that she was drugged and raped after being held captive by an attacker and that “the recovery took time”.

In her post she highlights her step back from the limelight, saying: “Many of you wonder what happened to me, where did I disappear to and why”.

We take a look at Duffy’s career timeline – her early rise to fame followed by a decade-long hiatus from the music industry.

Image: Duffy singing on Later With Jools Holland in 2007

1984 – Born Aimee Anne Duffy in Bangor Wales, Duffy has a twin sister and older sister. After her parents divorce in 1994, Duffy moves to Pembrokeshire.

1998 – Duffy is reported to have been put in a police safe-house after officers uncover a plot to kill her step-father. Her step-mother is subsequently jailed for three-and-a-half years. She later describes it as “terrifying”.

2001 – After completing her GCSEs and A-Levels, Duffy studies commercial music production and later performing arts at Chester University.

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While studying, Duffy performs at a local bars and a jazz and blues club.

2003 – Duffy performs on STV talent show Wowffactor – a sort of Welsh precursor to X Factor – eventually coming second.

Duffy performs at Radio 1's Big Weekend in May 2008
Image: Mercy sweeps the global charts in 2008

2004 – Duffy is introduced to Rough Trade Records’ Jeannette Lee, who goes on to become her manager.

Duffy records a three-song EP under the name Aimee Duffy, while also working as a waitress and in a fishmongers. The EP reaches number one in the Welsh charts.

During this period Duffy Moves to Crouch End in north London.

2007 – Duffy signs a record contract with A&M Records and released her first single Rockferry. She names it after Rock Ferry, Birkenhead, where her grandma lived and her father was born.

View this post on Instagram

You can only imagine the amount of times I thought about writing this. The way I would write it, how I would feel thereafter. Well, not entirely sure why now is the right time, and what it is that feels exciting and liberating for me to talk. I cannot explain it. Many of you wonder what happened to me, where did I disappear to and why. A journalist contacted me, he found a way to reach me and I told him everything this past summer. He was kind and it felt so amazing to finally speak. The truth is, and please trust me I am ok and safe now, I was raped and drugged and held captive over some days. Of course I survived. The recovery took time. There’s no light way to say it. But I can tell you in the last decade, the thousands and thousands of days I committed to wanting to feel the sunshine in my heart again, the sun does now shine. You wonder why I did not choose to use my voice to express my pain? I did not want to show the world the sadness in my eyes. I asked myself, how can I sing from the heart if it is broken? And slowly it unbroke. In the following weeks I will be posting a spoken interview. If you have any questions I would like to answer them, in the spoken interview, if I can. I have a sacred love and sincere appreciation for your kindness over the years. You have been friends. I want to thank you for that x Duffy Please respect this is a gentle move for me to make, for myself, and I do not want any intrusion to my family. Please support me to make this a positive experience.

A post shared by @ duffy on

2008 – Then the big hit – Duffy’s second single Mercy sweeps the global charts, and is certified Platinum several times over.

It’s used in the season finale of hospital drama Grey’s Anatomy and the soundtrack of Sex And The City: The Movie.

Duffy has said the song is autobiographical, and is about “sexual liberty” and “not doing something somebody else wants you to do”.

Duffy wins a Mojo award for the track and a Q Award for best breakthrough act.

Warwick Avenue is the third single to be released from Rockferry, and is about her getting lost on the London Underground.

Duffy is seen performing in Amsterdam in July 2008
Image: Warwick Avenue is the third single to be released from Rockferry

Stepping Stone was released later that year, and is about falling in love with someone, but not being able to tell them.

Duffy appears on US late-night comedy show Saturday Night Live.

She also releases her up-tempo single Rain On Your Parade.

Duffy releases her debut album, Rockferry, which becomes a UK number one.

2009 – The pinnacle of her career – Duffy wins a Grammy for best pop vocal album. She also takes home three BRIT Awards – British breakthrough, best female solo and best British album – and a Grammy for best pop vocal album.

She also gets an Ivor Novello Award for most performed work.

Following her commercial success, Duffy becomes the face of Diet Coke and appears in an advert singing I Gotta Be Me while cycling through a supermarket.

She is ranked 16th on the Sunday Times list of the UK’s wealthiest young musicians, with an estimated £4m to her name.

Duffy begins dating Welsh rugby player Mike Phillips, with the couple dating until 2011.

Duffy had a number one album with her release Rockferry in 2008
Image: The no. 1 album Rockferry is certified Platinum several times

2010 – Duffy releases her second album Endlessly, but it’s judged to be a commercial failure. The album’s first single Well, Well, Well doesn’t make it into the UK Top 40. No more singles are released from the album.

She makes her acting debut in the Welsh-Arentine film Patagonia, playing a Welsh student called Sissy.

Duffy and her manager Jeannette Lee part company.

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2011– Duffy announces that she’s going to take a two-year musical break. She is reported to have retreated from the limelight after struggling with the pressures of fame.

During this period Duffy is sued by an ex manager, and pulls out of festivals in Monaco and Dubai.

2013 – Duffy is said to have made a live appearance at New York’s Beacon Theatre, where she performed a version of the French singer Edith Piaf’s song Hymn To Love.

2014 – Duffy’s former mentor and ex-Suede band member Bernard Butler tells the Sunday Times the singer “went off the rails” after struggling with the transition from her small-time beginnings in a Welsh village to international stardom.

It is announced at the Cannes Film Festival that Duffy will star in a film called Secret Love, but it is never released.

Duffy arrives at the Brit Awards in February 2009
Image: Duffy took home three Brit Awards in February 2009

2015 – In another acting role, Duffy plays the late American singer Timi Yuro in the film Legend about the Kray twins. She also sang for the soundtrack, with several songs released as a digital downloads.

2017 – She posts an Instagram message hinting at a new music release. The post has since been deleted.

2019 – In December there is another hint at a musical-comeback, when she posts a photo of herself with the caption “2020” on Facebook.

Fans are keen to know if she’s back in the studio, and if a third album could be in the works…

Duffy performs at the North Sea Jazz Festival in 2009
Image: In 2011 she announces she will take a ‘musical break’

2020 – Duffy reveals that she was drugged and raped after being held captive by an attacker.

In her Instagram post she says she spoke to a journalist in the summer of 2019, saying their meeting has prompted her to share her experience.

She wrote: “A journalist contacted me, he found a way to reach me and I told him everything this past summer. He was kind and it felt so amazing to finally speak.”

In her post, Duffy says she will be “posting a spoken interview”, telling her fans she will answer them if she can.

Duffy Facebook post
Image: Duffy’s December Facebook post hinted at a come-back

Here is the full post:

“You can only imagine the amount of times I thought about writing this. The way I would write it, how I would feel thereafter. Well, not entirely sure why now is the right time, and what it is that feels exciting and liberating for me to talk. I cannot explain it. Many of you wonder what happened to me, where did I disappear to and why. A journalist contacted me, he found a way to reach me and I told him everything this past summer. He was kind and it felt so amazing to finally speak. The truth is, and please trust me I am ok and safe now, I was raped and drugged and held captive over some days. Of course I survived. The recovery took time. There’s no light way to say it. But I can tell you in the last decade, the thousands and thousands of days I committed to wanting to feel the sunshine in my heart again, the sun does now shine. You wonder why I did not choose to use my voice to express my pain? I did not want to show the world the sadness in my eyes. I asked myself, how can I sing from the heart if it is broken? And slowly it unbroke. In the following weeks I will be posting a spoken interview. If you have any questions I would like to answer them, in the spoken interview, if I can. I have a sacred love and sincere appreciation for your kindness over the years. You have been friends. I want to thank you for that x Duffy

“Please respect this is a gentle move for me to make, for myself, and I do not want any intrusion to my family. Please support me to make this a positive experience.”

Sky News has contacted Duffy and her representatives.

Source : Sky News