British pop star Gareth Gates is only seeing his young daughter once a week over the festive season because he is so busy starring in a Christmas pantomime.

The singer-turned-musical theatre star split from his dancer wife Suzanne earlier this year (12), and their three-year-old daughter, Missy, lives with her mother in Chiswick, London.

Gates is starring in a production of Sleeping Beauty in Canterbury, south-east England over Christmas - and as a result he struggles to make the 140-mile (225-kilometre) round trip to see Missy more than once a week.

He tells Britain's Ok! magazine, "At the moment she lives with her mum in Chiswick and I'm based in Canterbury because of the panto - I can't risk being late because of London traffic. With the gruelling schedule I have, I only get one day off a week and I always spend that day with Missy.

"It's really hard. We speak every day on Skype as well but it's worrying that she doesn't get to see her daddy every day, because she loves her daddy."

However, Gates insists the job is a welcome distraction following his recent marriage breakdown, adding, "The split is all I can think about at the minute and I'm finding it hard. I'm just really fortunate that I've been so busy with work, otherwise I would have had time to dwell on things. Keeping yourself busy keeps yourself sane. I'm so thankful I've had my work."