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What Happened to Duffy? Inside the Singer's Hiatus and Return to the Spotlight After Kidnapping

Grammy Award-winning singer Duffy returned to social media in March 2024, four years after sharing her experience being kidnapped and raped

<p>Fred Duval/FilmMagic</p> Duffy attends day one of

Fred Duval/FilmMagic

Duffy attends day one of 'Jingle Bell Ball' on December 4, 2010 in London, England.

Duffy is making a return four years after opening up about her traumatic experiences.

The “Mercy” singer rose in the music scene in 2009, when she won the Grammy Award for best pop vocal album and was nominated for best new artist and best pop vocal performance. However, soon after, Duffy left mainstream music.

Over a decade later, in February 2020, Duffy explained her absence in a since-deleted Instagram post, sharing she had a traumatic experience where she was kidnapped for four weeks and raped.

“Many of you wonder what happened to me, where did I disappear to and why,” she wrote. “The truth is, and please trust me I am ok and safe now, I was raped and drugged and held captive over some days."

She added that the “recovery took time,” but after committing to healing over the course of a decade, she was ready to speak about her experience.

“I can tell you in the last decade, the thousands and thousands of days I committed to wanting to feel the sunshine in my heart again, the sun does now shine,” she wrote.

Here’s everything to know about what happened to Duffy during her hiatus and where she is now.

Who is Duffy?

<p>Eamonn McCormack/WireImage</p> Duffy attends the UK premiere of 'Patagonia' on March 2, 2011 in London, England.

Eamonn McCormack/WireImage

Duffy attends the UK premiere of 'Patagonia' on March 2, 2011 in London, England.

Duffy, née Aimee Anne Duffy, is a Welsh singer. She released her first album, Rockferry, in 2008 following the success of her lead single, “Mercy,” which led to numerous accolades. On top of winning a Grammy, Duffy also won three Brit Awards, including best British album.

The following year, she released Endlessly. However, in February 2011, she announced she was going on a hiatus. She briefly returned in 2015 when she acted in the film Legend and created three songs for the soundtrack, but otherwise, she remained out of the public eye until 2020.

What happened to Duffy?

<p>Dave M. Benett/Getty</p> Duffy arrives at the European Premiere of 'Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows' on December 8, 2011 in London, England.

Dave M. Benett/Getty

Duffy arrives at the European Premiere of 'Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows' on December 8, 2011 in London, England.

In February 2020, Duffy shared on Instagram that she had been raped and kidnapped, adding that she would share more details in the future. Two months later, she did so in a heart-wrenching personal essay on her website.

“It was my birthday, I was drugged at a restaurant, I was drugged then for four weeks and traveled to a foreign country,” the singer wrote. “I can’t remember getting on the plane and came round in the back of a traveling vehicle. I was put into a hotel room and the perpetrator returned and raped me.”

She explained how in the next days as she feared for her life, she contemplated running away but was scared the perpetrator would call the police and they would track her down as a missing person.

They eventually returned to her home where she was drugged for four weeks, she said. She added that she felt her life was threatened.

“I knew my life was in immediate danger, he made veiled confessions of wanting to kill me,” she wrote. “With what little strength I had, my instinct was to then run, to run and find somewhere to live that he could not find.”

<p>Fred Duval/FilmMagic</p> Duffy attends day one of 'Jingle Bell Ball' on December 4, 2010 in London, England.

Fred Duval/FilmMagic

Duffy attends day one of 'Jingle Bell Ball' on December 4, 2010 in London, England.

Duffy did not name her accuser in her essay or her Instagram post, and she hasn’t spoken about their identity since.

“The identity of the rapist should be only handled by the police, and that is between me and them,” she wrote.

Despite later entrusting the police with her story, Duffy didn’t immediately turn to law enforcement, explaining that she “didn’t feel safe.”

“I felt if anything went wrong, I would be dead, and he would have killed me,” she wrote. “I could not risk being mishandled or it being all over the news during my danger. I really had to follow what instincts I had.”

However, over time, she wrote that she did tell two female police officers as a result of two “threatening incidents.” In one, someone blackmailed Duffy, threatening to “out” her story, resulting in her needing to explain what the blackmailer had against her to law enforcement. The other incident occurred when three intruders tried to enter Duffy’s home.

Why did Duffy go on hiatus?

<p>Victor Fraile/Getty</p> Duffy performs on stage in concert at the Asia World-Arena on March 20, 2009 in Hong Kong.

Victor Fraile/Getty

Duffy performs on stage in concert at the Asia World-Arena on March 20, 2009 in Hong Kong.

After her traumatic experience, Duffy wrote in her essay that she wanted to distance herself from who she was — change her name, move to another country and change profession.

She moved five times in the span of the decade and isolated herself from her loved ones and everyone she worked with while she was a singer.

“The record label, live agents, promoters, publicists, musicians, stylists, hairdressers, make-up, lighting, production, crew, people I would meet, people I once knew. No one, utterly no one, knew what happened,” she wrote.

Duffy continued, “It kept me removed from those I could actually trust. Mostly I did not want to trouble anyone else with what I had experienced.”

Why did she decide to speak out?

<p>Dave Kotinsky/Getty</p> Duffy performs during Francofolies New York: A Tribute To Edith Piaf on September 19, 2013 in New York City.

Dave Kotinsky/Getty

Duffy performs during Francofolies New York: A Tribute To Edith Piaf on September 19, 2013 in New York City.

After her February 2020 post, Duffy said she had planned to do a spoken interview, but realized that it was “harder than [she] thought.” Instead, she released a new song in March 2020 that she hoped would “lift spirits” as the COVID-19 pandemic had started.

However, the following month, she wrote that she was ready to tell her story after a decade because she was “no longer ashamed.”

“I am sharing this because we are living in a hurting world and I am no longer ashamed that something deeply hurt me, anymore,” Duffy said. “I believe that if you speak from the heart within you, the heart within others will answer. As dark as my story is, I do speak from my heart, for my life, and for the life of others, whom have suffered the same.”

She added that she was prepared to take her recovery public and return to the music world, seeing as it would be a “shame” to let her trauma take more of her life away.

“Rape stripped me of my human rights, to experience a life with autonomy from fear,” she wrote. “It has already stolen one-third of my life. Deep down I do know it would have been a shame and done such an immense disservice to my existence to just delete myself and forget what I had experienced in music publicly.”

Where is Duffy now?

<p>Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty</p> Duffy attends a Performing Arts reception at Buckingham Palace on May 9, 2011 in London, England.

Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty

Duffy attends a Performing Arts reception at Buckingham Palace on May 9, 2011 in London, England.

After sharing her story in 2020, Duffy retreated from the spotlight. However, in March 2024, she made her first return to Instagram in four years when she posted a video sharing a message about the pursuit of happiness.

"You’re going to realize that happiness was never about your job or your degree or being in a relationship,” the voiceover in the video said.

The clip continued, “Happiness was never about following in the footsteps of all of those who came before you. It was never about being like the others. One day, you're going to see it. That happiness was always about the discovery, the hope, the listening to your heart and following it wherever it chose to go.”

Duffy didn’t give any more details about her well-being or whereabouts in the caption, simply writing, "A little something to motivate the heart. Hope you are all doing well. Lots of love, Duffy.”

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to rainn.org.

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