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“It’s child abuse, really, isn’t it?” Rita Ora opens up about her underage relationship with a 26-year-old man

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Harriet Hall
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Interview footage has been uncovered of Rita Ora speaking out about her first relationship, admitting that it amounted to child abuse.

The relationship, which took place when the singer was only 14 years old, was with a man of 26.

Although the X Factor judge admits that the relationship made her “feel great”, she does think it is “crazy” looking back at it so many years later.

Ora told the story in an interview in 2013 on Lifetime TV, which was unearthed as part of research for a book about her life.

The biography, entitled Hot Right Now, after Ora’s first hit single, traces the singer’s rise to fame from being a Kosovan refugee to a successful pop star. Extracts from the book were published in The Sun on Sunday.

In them, the 24-year-old says she was 14 “when I got my first relationship with a guy...(he was) about 26, and you have to remember I hadn’t had a relationship before then at all.”

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Despite the age difference between the couple, Ora has insisted that the relationship was consensual, saying:

“It made me feel great and I didn’t care what he did or how old he was. I wanted it. It’s crazy.”

But she adds: “It’s child abuse, really, isn’t it?”

The singer insists she did not feel abused at the time, saying in the interview :“I don’t want to say that I suffered it, because I wanted it. I don’t want to say that I was forced to do it.”

Ora went on to say that: “I don’t want people to think I was abused as a kid but I was definitely more mature than I should have been at 14.”

She reveals that the relationship boosted her self-esteem, saying: “I can’t begin to tell you how confident I felt when a man was interested in me.”

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“I felt like I was sexy, I felt like I had a form of respect, I felt like he listened to me. Now I know he listened to me because he obviously wanted to have sex with me,” recalls The Voice presenter.

Whether or not the singer viewed the relationship as abusive at the time, a 14-year-old cannot consent to sex in the eyes of the law - it is classed as unlawful sexual intercourse. In this case, it sounds like Ora was groomed by the older man.

Concerned that Ora's experience, although not seen by the singer herself as abuse, might send a dangerous message, a spokesperson from the NSPCC responded to told the Daily Mail that “those in the public eye should think about the effect their words can have on those who look up to them.”

‘We know from calls to ChildLine that abuse can be life shattering.”

If you, or anyone you know, is in an abusive relationship please contact the NSPCC here.