‘I’ve wasted hundreds of pounds on outfits for my sons’ Fortnite game characters’
Jade Jones, 40, shot to fame in the mid-Nineties as part of R&B boy band Damage. Between 1996 and 2001, they had nine top 40 singles, including Forever and Wonderful Tonight. After the band broke up in 2001, Jade successfully pursued a career as a chef working at Claridge’s.
Damage reformed for the ITV2 show The Big Reunion in 2014 and in early 2020 they embark on The Boys Are Back tour with fellow Nineties acts 5ive, A1 and 911.
Jade lives in north London with his partner, Spice Girl Emma Bunton, and their two sons, Beau, 12, and Tate, eight.
How did your childhood shape your attitude towards money?
I come from humble, humble beginnings, you know. I’m the youngest of 11 children, born and raised in east London. My parents were both social workers, so they had a real affinity with children.
My mum was the biggest matriarch you can imagine and she always made sure there was food on the table and we had nice clothes to wear. She taught me how to be good with money – it’s not about squandering what you’ve got. She taught me to always look after the pennies because they look after the pounds.
What was your first paid job?
I went to drama school, as did my Damage bandmates, Noel, Andrez and Ras, so I was working from the age of 11. My first paid job was in a production of Carmen Jones at the Old Vic, where I first met Andrez, actually. The money I earned from that went towards my school fees.
I worked as an assistant at a go-kart track in White City. I was on an absolute pittance, like £2 an hour! A lot of bands I know were made to survive on, say, £50 a week, but that didn’t happen to us. We put ourselves together, so we weren’t dictated to by a management company.
We were wise beyond our years, really, because we were only 15 and 16. What we earned was what we kept in our pockets and our management took the usual 20pc.