Brenda Edwards: her children, cancer diagnosis and West End roles

Find out more about the Loose Women panellist.

Brenda Edwards

by Emily Gilbert |

A weekly panellist on ITV's Loose Women, Brenda Edwards is an English singer, actress, television personality and presenter.

Brenda's parents

Brenda and older brother Rodney lost their parents Breta and Errol in a car crash on 22 December 1974 when Brenda was just four. The siblings were cared for by their grandmother and two aunts.

Speaking on Loose Women about the event that changed her life, Brenda said: "I lost my mum and dad when I was four, but I do believe that has shaped me to be the woman that I am.

I am someone who’s been raised to appreciate life and appreciate what you have and live life to the fullest. So many people say, 'You’re always laughing, you’re always smiling', and that’s because there’s been so much upset in my life from the age of four, if you don’t laugh you’re gonna cry all the time."

She also explained to viewers she hoped to meet her parents when she dies, Brenda said: "I do believe in the afterlife. I've lived hoping that when I die I will be reunited with my mum and dad."

Brenda's musical career

Brenda discovered her love of music and singing when she was just eight, joining a Sunday school junior choir. She eventually became the choir mistress and joined as a member of the Pentecostal Collective Church of God in Christ (COGIC) mass choir. Eventually, Brenda began singing in local nightclubs as well as for events such as weddings and funerals.

Brenda on The X Factor

Did you know Brenda was in the second series of The X Factor? In 2005, she made the semi final with Sharon Osbourne as her mentor and ended up in fourth place.

Taking on the West End

After her time on The X Factor, Brenda first played the role of Mama Morton in the West End musical Chicago until March 2007. She was obviously a hit as she went on to play the part several more times.

Other roles Brenda has taken on include Killer Queen in the West End production of We Will Rock You, Diane Steed in The Human Comedy and Motormouth Maybelle in the musical Hairspray, a role she reprised for the UK and Ireland tour in 2017 and will be rejoining in 2021.

Brenda Edwards
©ITV

Who is Brenda's son?

Brenda has two children from a previous relationship, son Jamal Edwards MBE and a daughter, Tanisha.

In February 2022, it was announced that Jamal had sadly died at the age of 31. Brenda later announced: "It is with the deepest heartache that I confirm that my beautiful son Jamal Edwards passed away yesterday morning after a sudden illness. Myself, his sister Tanisha and the rest of his family and friends are completely devastated.

“He was the centre of our world. As we come to terms with his passing we ask for privacy to grieve this unimaginable loss. Our love for him lives on, his legacy lives on. Long live Jamal Edwards MBE, MBA, PHD."

Jamal was a British entrepreneur, author, and the founder of the online music platform SB.TV.

Brenda's battle

Heartbreakingly, Brenda was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer in 2015 while she starred in Hairspray. Although she told the cast and crew of the show, Brenda made the decision to keep the news out of the public eye. Thankfully, Brenda is now cancer-free.

Brenda Edwards on Loose Women

In 2019, Brenda was a guest panellist on ITV's Loose Women. She then joined as a regular panellist to fill in for Linda Robson, who went on a break due to ill health. When Linda returned in early 2020, Brenda stayed on the show where she remains to this day.

Is Brenda on social media?

She is! You can follow Brenda on Twitter and she also posts behind the scene snaps on Instagram too.

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