Tulisa Contostavlos, 24, has reportedly reunited with her long-lost half-brother Neil Jones, who is 35. According to a report published by the Daily Mirror on March 5, 2013, Contostavlos and Jones met in person for the first time on March 3, 2013. The Daily Mirror quotes Contostavlos as saying about her reunion with Jones: “I’m so happy to finally meet my brother. This has been a very important weekend for my family.”
When Tulisa's father was 13, he fathered a son with an older teenage girl (whose name has not been made public), who raised Jones with another man. Jones' mother reportedly did not tell Jones the name of his biological father until Jones was an adult. Plato had lost contact with the mother of his son, and so he was never in the child's life. And apparently, Jones' mother wanted it that way, since she kept the identity of his biological father a secret from Jones during his entire childhood.
Tulisa's parents split up when she was 10. For a while, she lived with her mother, Anne Byrne, who has had a long struggle with mental illness. (Mother and daughter went public about this struggle in the 2010 documentary "Tulisa: My Mum and Me," which was televised in the U.K. on BBC3.)
After her parents' breakup and when her mother was hospitalized over psychiatric problems, Tulisa went to live with her father and her stepmother Melanie. (Plato and Melanie are now divorced.) In several interviews, Tulisa has discussed her troubled childhood and her rebellious teen years, including her battles with depression, eating disorders, self-harming and substance abuse.
According to the Daily Mirror, Tulisa spent five years looking for Jones, who met Plato before he met Tulisa. An unnamed source told the Daily Mirror: “Tulisa feels like the final piece of her family jigsaw has been completed. She has spent years trying to find Neil and was delighted after finally discovering his whereabouts.
"They communicated online and agreed to meet up over a coffee. Tulisa was incredibly nervous but the meeting went really well and Neil has been welcomed into the family with open arms. Tulisa could not be happier. It’s been an emotional few days.”
While things have been going well in Tulisa's personal life (she has been happily dating soccer player Danny Simpson since October 2012), things haven't been so great with her career. She has not commented on tabloid reports that she has been fired from "The X Factor" U.K. (Representatives for the show will only say that decisions are being made about the show's judging panel.)
Tulisa (who found fame in 2008 as a member of the hip-hop trio N-Dubz) became a judge on "The X Factor" U.K. in May 2011. In her first year as an "X Factor" U.K. judge, she mentored Little Mix, the first group to win on the show.
But Tulisa didn't do as well in her second year on the show: In 2012, the highest-ranking contestant in her mentor group was Ella Henderson, who came in sixth place. There were also reports that Tulisa was frequently tardy at show rehearsals, and she got a lot of backlash from the public for her profanity-filled Twitter feuds and flaunting her hard-partying antics. The backlash was evident when Tulisa's memoir ("Honest: My Story So Far") and her first solo album ("The Female Boss") were huge bombs when they were released in 2012.
N-Dubz has been on hiatus since 2012 so that the members can pursue solo careers. Several insiders have predicted that because of Tulisa's faltering solo career and reported "X Factor" dismissal, she will likely want to do a new album and tour with N-Dubz in 2013 or 2014.
"The X Factor" U.K. judging panel for 2013 should be officially announced by May.
May 19, 2013 update: In an interview with the Daily Mirror, Jones discussed his reunion with Tulisa and how he found her. Jones told the Daily Mirror that he was 17 when he found out that he had a younger half-sister and that his stepfather was not his biological father, but his mother refused to tell Jones his biological father's name until he was an adult. Jones hired a private detective after finding out his birth father's real name. Within 24 hours of hiring the detective, Jones found out that Tulisa was his half-sister.
Jones described to the Daily Mirror what it was like to meet her for the first time: We chatted for about an hour. She wanted to know if I was on Facebook so she could see what I looked like. She told me she knew when she was 12 that she had a brother and had been trying to find me too. It was surreal but we seemed to have an emotional connection straight away. I was so glad we had found each other.”
Brother and sister met the next day in Tulisa's dressing room. As Jones describes the meeting: “The curtain went back and there was Tulisa. She kept saying, ‘Oh my God’ and we hugged and she said ‘Give me a proper bloody hug!’ There weren’t tears because we were both in shock, saying how crazy it was.
“I asked mum why I hadn’t been told. She said she was very young at the time and that she did what she thought was best. I asked her if she ever had any intention of telling me and she said no. I remember lots of arguments with my mum. It was a very angry time.
“Previously any conversation about my dad was always a bad one. But by then I had grown up and she gave me my dad’s full name. That night I went on the Internet and found a private detective who did a search. She came back to me in less than 24 hours with the results. She said she had found my dad and that she was shaking because she had never had a case like mine before.
“She said ‘You have a sister who is Tulisa and your cousin is Dappy.’ I think my exact words back were, ‘Is this some kind of sick joke?’ I was in shock. I had seen her on 'The X Factor' and [my wife] Claire was in the middle of reading her autobiography.
“Claire found a picture of Plato on the Internet and we were like two peas in a pod. I knew he was my dad. The private investigator gave me my dad’s number. I left a message and he called me back on the Saturday morning. We both cried and he told me he’d been looking for me for years. He kept saying he loved me and I arranged to see him the next day."
When Jones talked to Tulisa on the phone fort he first time, Jones recalled: “She said she was pleased to hear my voice at last and said I sounded like a geezer, which is what she always thought I would sound like. She was very down to earth and we clicked straight away. I told her about my Greek Cypriot family and growing up in Cyprus.”
Jones added, "She has had some tough times and has no other brothers and sisters. She said she always wanted an older brother and there were times when she needed me. I told her from that night onwards I would always be there for her. We even ended up play-fighting at the house like any brother and sister. And it doesn’t matter that she is a celebrity. To me she is my little sister, and we have got a lot of catching up to do.”