Dame Shirley Bassey has revealed that her daughter’s death 30 years ago left her unable to sing for six months.
In a TV special to mark her upcoming 80th birthday, the Welsh singer said she had quickly returned to performing “after a week of being alone”.
“I walked on the stage and I opened my mouth to sing Goldfinger,” she said. “Nothing came out.”
Samantha Novak, 21, was found face down in the River Avon, near the Clifton suspension bridge in Bristol, in 1985.
Dame Shirley has always maintained that her daughter’s death was not an accident or suicide.
In a programme to be shown on BBC One on Christmas Eve, the singer can be seen telling David Walliams that the loss was “just devastating”.
She said she decided to perform because she “didn’t know what to do with herself” and that being at home was “killing” her.
The 79-year-old now accepts she should have been “staying home and grieving and getting it out my system” instead of expressing her feelings on stage.
The singer paid tribute to a vocal coach who helped her strengthen her vocal cords and resume her career.
David Walliams Celebrates Dame Shirley Bassey airs on BBC One on 24 December at 21:00 GMT.