Gabrielle said she almost quit The Masked Singer after she put on the costume for the first time and revealed she struggled with the heat and suffered panic attacks.
The Dreams singer, 51, who was unmasked as Harlequin on the ITV show on Saturday night, said she had not expected to find it so difficult to be inside the elaborate outfits worn by contestants on the show.
She admitted she was a “big baby” about her struggles under the mask, but said it was more challenging as a “menopausal, middle-aged woman”.
She said: “There were times I struggled because of the heat and panic attacks under there.”
She added: “Initially I thought how hard can this be, you put on a mask, but when you are going shopping you put on one those light weight masks and you think it’s going to be something like that, until you get it on and they tell you ‘Right, you’re going to go and sing in that today.’
“I’m like ‘Why didn’t you let me have rehearsals in it from the beginning?’ because I would have run.
“In fact the first day that I had to have my full costume on I was saying ‘Call my lawyers, I’m going home. I can’t do this, it’s going to be the end of my career.’
“I was literally being talked down from a ledge because I was so panicked, so stressed and I was like ‘How did you not let us know that this thing is so heavy and I’m going to get this hot?’
“You’re talking to a menopausal middle-aged woman, you’re asking me to be placed in this beautiful but hot contraption and then go and sing in it, are you crazy?
“So I was having the most strops, I was like ‘No I can’t do it, I’m going home, I’m not coming back on Monday.’
“So there was a lot of behind the scenes to-ing and fro-ing and everyone was amazing, everybody who is involved, people you can’t see, they were amazing, they were trying to accommodate me, they were trying to adjust the mask.”
Gabrielle said she had not planned on taking part in a competition show until the pandemic hit and her tour was put on pause.
She said: “I was going to be busy in the summer doing shows, I had my tour at the end of November 2020, I was going on the road with my band, having so much fun.
“For me it’s been the best time of my life since I turned 50, I’m going to be 52 this year and I’ve just been living my best life and appreciating going on the road now, my kids are bigger now, and all of a sudden all of that is just taken away.
“I’m an artist who is not always out and about and I take my time coming back from each album and now I was ready to go back on the road, I had released an album I had been touring crazily for the last three years, and all of a sudden it was ripped away and we had to all stay inside and what I loved doing the most, and had started to enjoy even more, was no longer possible.”
She added: “Even though we were in crazy times, I’m doing what I do, even though I’m normally singing my own songs and being more confident, but it was that opportunity.
“And then knowing I had this tour and I didn’t want anyone to forget me, so it made sense.”
The Masked Singer continues on Saturdays on ITV.