A Right Royal Fuss

In UK pop music, they are pop royalty, like a new Kylie and Jason. Billie has confirmed she is dating Richard "Rich" Neville, 19, from British boy band Five. Billie met Rich through Five's Scott Robinson, with whom she went to school. After keeping the relationship quiet, Rich recently spoke of their liaison, almost apologising to spurned female fans who started a hate-mail campaign against Billie.

"I really hope that everybody can be happy for us and not angry towards Billie," Rich told one UK magazine. "I haven't had a girlfriend for two years and Billie needs someone too. We're not thinking of marriage 'cos we're both too young."

Billie admits there has been a backlash from Five fans: "In the UK the girls are so used to seeing celebrities so they feel like they're not untouchable. They dig into you, they send you hate mail. Rich is a heartthrob, I'm bound to get flack. But I don't want to annoy anyone. Rick kind of apologised to his fans, but we're just normal people trying to lead normal lives. I got some flack at the beginning but people have warmed to the idea. We're not a celebrity couple. We never go out. I hardly ever see him anyway."

Billie says she and Rich have a lot in common: "We were both quite insecure, we're both from outside London. All of a sudden we had to spend all of our time in London when our careers took off. We had no friends in London, we were away from our parents. Rich and I became really good friends and gradually got into a relationship. It's lovely because when you're upset or need advice on something you need someone around you who shares the same ambitions and passion. He's going through what I'm going through. Everyone thought we'd kept it a secret, but we weren't sure whether it was actually a relationship or not. Because we're both travelling around the world, I don't see him a lot. We still don't know what's going to happen."