Taken into care at the age of two and tossed between foster families and children’s homes, Ashley John-Baptiste grew up feeling unwanted and alone, convinced that he was an only child.
Ashley John-Baptiste, 32, is a former X Factor star and is now a BBC presenter. Not long ago, he told his particular story to the Sun. “My whole childhood was fragmented between different schools, families and groups of friends. There was not a single person who knew me through all these moves, who knew me when I was five, eight and 15 years old” , he says. Having a brother or sister, Ashley has dreamed of since he was little. “It would have been someone who would have known me all my life.” And he doesn’t believe so well. When he was just over 20 years old, the young man received a message on social networks from a man claiming to be his brother.
Torn from his foster family at just 8 years old
Growing up alone, Ashley was tortured by deep questions of identity and says having a sibling in her life could have helped her. For many years, he asked himself many questions: “Why was I placed in a foster family? Why didn’t my mom want me? Why didn’t my father want me?” Placed for the first time at the age of 2, Ashley remembers most of her second foster family. “My adoptive mother was an exuberant, larger-than-life West Indian woman and she was amazing,” he says. “As a kid I thought I would live there forever, she was an amazing rock.” But at the age of 8, the little boy is torn from the one he adores more than anything and is placed in a home. He makes four in total, until the end of adolescence. At 18, he returned to university and became a star in 2011, thanks to his participation in X Factor.
He finds out he has a brother years later
Shortly after his appearance on the show and as he began his career as a journalist at the BBC, Ashley received a message from a man who claimed to be his brother. “At first I was confused, not knowing if it was the truth.” But the two men send several messages and end up calling each other. Ashley no longer has any doubts: it is indeed her brother. “We had the same dad, who wasn’t a great dad to both of us, and to know there was someone there who could relate to those feelings and questions I had was amazing.” However, Ashley does not feel able to meet him face to face and their discussions disappear over time. But in 2020, when he takes his daughter for a check-up at the hospital, he comes across him by chance. “I recognized it instantly. Even though we haven’t seen each other since, that moment changed my life profoundly.”