Welsh singer Jem is relieved she's achieved music stardom later in life, because she sympathises with Britney Spears and Charlotte Church for growing up in the spotlight.

The THEY star, 30, believes achieving fame at a more mature age means she was able to bypass the intense media scrutiny placed teen singing sensations.

Jem, real name JEMMA GRIFFITHS, says, "I scoured the music channel VH1 trying to find someone who was older than me when they started out.

"I've always acted like a 20-year-old and I'm lucky in that I don't look my age. I think music keeps you young.

"You know, I'm glad I didn't get into this when I was a teenager, and I worry about girls who do.

"The tabloids are watching you as you hit puberty, and you're already washed up by the time you're 24. I did what I was supposed to be doing when I was 18 - partying and having a laugh."