An eagerness to get married led to Lily Allen's unofficial retirement from music.

The 29-year-old star took a break from the music industry in 2009, and she has now admitted that one of her main motivations at the time was to concentrate on her relationship with painter and decorator Sam Cooper.

Asked why she ceased making music, Lily explained: '' I just felt quite exhausted, you know - I'd been on tour for three years or something.

''And I'd just met this - well, I didn't meet him, because I met him when I was 15 - but I got together with Sam, who's now my husband and I wanted to give that a go. You know, just to get married and have children.''

The London-born singer, who is mother to two daughters, two-year-old Ethel and 19-month-old Marnie, admits that her return to touring represents a challenge for their relationship, but Lily is still loving married life.

Speaking to BBC Radio 2, she said: ''It's not without its problems, you know. I'm on tour a lot and I'm away doing promotion and stuff and it's finding the right balance, really.

''It's about how long I can leave my kids for before they start going mad, or how long I can be away from them.''