Matt Willis

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For other people of the same name, see Matthew Willis.
Matt Willis
Birth name Mathew James Willis
Born (1983-05-08) 8 May 1983 (age 31)
Tooting, South London, England, United Kingdom
Genres Pop Rock
pop Punk
Occupations Musician
Singer-Songwriter
Television Presenter
Actor
Instruments Guitar, vocals, bass, drums
Years active 2001–present
Labels Mercury (2006–08, 2012–present)
Super (2013–present)
Associated acts Busted
McBusted

Mathew James Willis (born 8 May 1983) is a British musician, singer-songwriter, television presenter and actor, who found fame as a founding member of pop rock band Busted from 2001 until their split in 2005. After the split, Willis released his debut solo album "Don't Let It Go to Waste" on 20 November 2006 spanning three top 20 singles. In 2014, Busted and McFly go on tour together, creating the superband McBusted.

In December 2006, Willis won the sixth series of the ITV reality series I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!, and later went on to co-present the ITV2 spin-off show with his wife Emma in 2007 and 2008. Since January 2014, Willis has played the role of Garth Stubbs in the revived ITV sitcom Birds of a Feather. He has also played Luke Riley in the BBC One soap opera EastEnders from February 2014.[1]

Early life[edit]

Mathew James Willis was born in Tooting in London on 8 May 1983. He has an older brother, Darren, but their parents split up when Matt was only 3-years-old. His mother later remarried and had his half-sister, Amanda, who is an ambassador for a charity called Whizz-Kidz. Willis has had three different last names legally whilst growing up. Even though his original last name was Willis, after his father, this was changed to Woods after his parents split and later changed to Sargent after his mother married her current husband. Willis has made it clear that he was a "problem" child, regularly sneaking out of the house by shimmying down drain pipes. He also as a child suffered from brittle bone disease, tunnel vision, asthma and hyperactivity problems. Willis attended Woking High School after being asked to leave his previous secondary school, before leaving to attend the independent fee-paying Sylvia Young Theatre School in Marylebone, London, where he met his now close friends Lee Ryan, Tom Fletcher, Billie Piper, Jodi Albert, and Amy Winehouse, who had openly said that she fancied Matt at school!

Career[edit]

Music career[edit]

Willis first found fame in the music industry as one-third of the pop-rock band, Busted. The band's bassist and vocalist, Willis formed the band as well as co-writing almost all of their songs alongside Charlie Simpson, James Bourne and Tom Fletcher although the latter was a member of McFly. During their career, the trio became successful in Britain and began an upsurge of pop-punk popularity. They had several chart successes and released two studio albums, one live album and a compilation of their greatest hits, available in America. The band disbanded in 2005 due to Simpson leaving to pursue other projects. After a brief stint in rehab after Busted split, Matt launched a solo career on Mercury Records, releasing singles in 2005 and 2006, "Up All Night", "Hey Kid", "Don't Let It Go to Waste", and a cover version of The Primitives song, "Crash" for the film Mr Bean's Holiday.

After appearing on ITV's I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!, Willis decided it was time for a change. Just as he was about to depart on his first solo UK Tour with support band The Riverclub, he sacked his agents of six years 'Prestige Management'. This later came with the decision to leave his record label Mercury Records. "It's not a simple case of dropping an artist but just that we both felt we had reached a point where we could no longer move forwards." Willis wrote on Twitter that the album recording is in its first stages. He has announced that the second album may now be released in October or November 2012. Matt is currently starring as Fiyero the male lead in the hit musical Wicked. In 2013 he appeared in The West End Men a singing foursome alongside Lee Mead, David Thaxton and Glenn Carter at the Vaudeville Theatre for a four-week run in May and June.[2] In September 2013, Willis appeared alongside James Bourne in a brief Busted reunion during McFly's tenth anniversary concerts at the Royal Albert Hall. They joined McFly as 'McBusted', playing the Busted's "Year 3000" and "Air Hostess", as well as McFly's "Shine a Light".

Television[edit]

Since winning I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!, Willis has pursued various presenting projects. On 14 February 2007, Willis took his first major presenting role, when he was one of the presenters of ITV2's coverage of the BRIT Awards, alongside Lauren Laverne, Russell Howard and Alesha Dixon. He returned to this role in 2008 alongside Emma Willis and Lauren Laverne. He interviewed Rihanna, Shayne Ward, Adele, Ozzy Osbourne, Kate Nash and many more including Perez Hilton who became very fond of Matt. Following his success in this, he hosted the MTV Hits night of MTV's Spanking New Music Tour 2007 with his wife Emma, live from the Anson Rooms in Bristol on 21 March 2007. In February 2008, Willis presented the Red Carpet coverage for the E! Entertainment network, at the 2008 BAFTA Awards, alongside Ryan Seacrest and Emma Willis.

In December 2006 on ITV, Willis was crowned 'King of the Jungle' being the winning contestant on I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! despite going into the final day as the 8-1 underdog against Myleene Klass and Jason Donovan. Weighing 13 stone 2 lb upon entering, he discovered that he had lost 2 stone after being weighed again in the jungle. In order to enter the jungle, Willis was required to bungee jump from a plane. During his stay, in a compulsory bushtucker trial, Willis ate a kangaroo anus, crocodile penis, crocodile eye, witchetty grub, and some sweeties and mealworms to earn a cooked, luxury meal for himself and the other celebrities. In November 2007, Willis and his wife Emma went to Australia and presented I'm a Celebrity... Get Me out of Here! Now on ITV2 after Willis had won the 2006 series. Following in 2008, the couple were asked back after winning a presenting award earlier that year. Each series lasted over six weeks in Australia during November and December. In early 2009, Willis and his wife did not renew their contract with ITV2 due to the birth of their first child in June 2009. Willis appeared on Big Brother's Bit on the Side alongside his wife in November 2011. Following "I'm a Celebrity... Get Me out of Here!", Willis featured in a succession of celebrity based TV shows.

In 2006, Willis took part in the sixth series of Celebrity Masterchef. On 25 September 2013, it was announced that Willis would play Garth Stubbs in the revival of Birds of a Feather on ITV. The series began airing in January 2014. On 19 December 2013, it was announced that Willis play Luke Riley in EastEnders, the boyfriend of returning character Stacey Branning. He appeared in the show for two weeks in February 2014, before returning as a permanent character later in the year.[3]

Theatre Work[edit]

In 2010, Willis reinvented himself somewhat as a theatrical actor. In October, it was announced Willis would play Nick in Flashdance: The Musical, a West-End production. Later that year, Willis was offered the role of Chuck in an adaption of Footloose.[4] Willis claimed he had 'never danced in his life' but on the experience exclaimed he was 'loving it'.[5] Late 2011 also saw Willis take on the role of Fiyero in Wicked the musical.[6] He continued the role until 27 October 2012, when he was replaced by Ben Freeman.

Personal life[edit]

Willis married his long term girlfriend of three years, Emma Willis, at Rushton Hall, Northamptonshire, on 5 July 2008. Guests included ex-members of Son of Dork, James Bourne, David Gest, Holly Willoughby, Ant McPartlin, McFly, Kara Tointon and Heidi Range. OK! covered the wedding. In December 2007 they took part in their first press shoot for OK!, even though Matt said he did not want to be a part of the whole cycle. In November 2007 Willis claimed to have stopped smoking, which he had done from the age of 11, but has since been photographed smoking. The couple have a daughter, Isabelle Catherine Willis, who was born on 20 June 2009.[7] and a son, Ace Billy Willis, born on 25 November 2011.[8] In April 2005, aged 21, Willis had a brief stint for three weeks in London's Priory Rehab Hospital for alcoholism. In July 2006, aged 23, Willis was admitted again for a few days to the Priory Rehab Hospital for drug abuse, because he was hooked on cannabis from the age of 13. Matt began to have problems from the drug-taking including physiological and memory problems. In June 2008, aged 25, Willis entered the providence project rehab centre in Bournemouth after a marriage ultimatum, as Willis continued to take drugs and drink heavily. It was reported that a night out with close friend Amy Winehouse pushed Willis too far. Willis took the full five-week course in drugs and alcohol. On 28 February 2010 Willis was injured in a skiing accident.[9]

Discography[edit]

Studio Albums[edit]

Singles[edit]

Year Title Chart positions Album
United Kingdom Ireland EU
2006 "Up All Night" 7 29 - Don't Let It Go to Waste
"Hey Kid" 11 42 -
"Don't Let It Go to Waste" 19 44 -
2007 "Crash" 31 - - Mr. Bean's Holiday OST

References[edit]

External links[edit]