Who is Sinead O'Connor and when did she become a Muslim?

SINEAD O'Connor is an Irish singer, whose epic ballad Nothing Compares 2 U was one of the standout songs of the 90s.

The star's career has been defined by controversial moments due to her strong views and conversion to Islam in 2018 – with her tweeting a picture of herself wearing a hijab. Here's her story…Who is Sinead O'Connor and why is she famous?

Sinead O'Connor is a 52-year-old Irish singer, born in Glenageary, County Dublin on December 8, 1966.

The shaven-headed star who is one of five children raised Roman Catholic, has previously spoken out about the abuse she experienced at the hands of her parents.

They split when she was eight and her father's dismay at not being able to secure custody of his children led him to become chairman of the Divorce Action Group.

At the age of 15 Sinead's shoplifting and truancy saw her put in one of the notorious Magdalene asylums for 18 months.

There she began to discover her love of singing and in 1984 she met Colm Farrelly, with whom she formed a band called Ton Ton Macoute.

But in 1985, when her mother died in a car crash, Sinead left the band and moved to London.

There she worked with a fired U2 record boss Fachtna O'Ceallaigh, who eventually organised for her to produce her own debut album, while pregnant with her son Jack.

Her first LP was a big success but her breakthrough hit came in 1990 – power ballad Nothing Compares 2 U topped the charts in 13 countries.

It was her version of a song written by Prince for his side-project, '80s band The Family.

The music video – filmed close-up on Sinead's face as she sings in a black polo neck – is now thought of as one of the 20th century's most iconic videos.

Sinead has since said that her tears in the video were genuine and that she was thinking about her mother while using the bel canto singing technique that helps express emotion.

Despite the success of the single, Sinead has claimed she and Prince did not get on and even had a "punch-up" after he invited her to his house.

She won a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Performance in 1990 but boycotted the awards ceremony.

This is due to Sinead pulling her gigs in the States because she didn't want the US National Anthem being played beforehand, causing rows with many American musicians.

Around that time Sinead had a short-lived romance with Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers which inspired his song I Could Have Lied.

Since then Sinead has released eight more albums, the most recent being 2014's I'm Not Bossy, I'm The Boss.

In September 2019 she sang Nothing Compares 2 U on RTE's Late Late Show in a hijab, with the performance quickly becoming the most-watched in the history of the show.

It garnered 1.6million plays on the RTE Twitter account by September 12, with another 800,000 plays on YouTube.

When did she become a Muslim and did she change her name?

On October 25, 2018, Sinead, who was ordained a priest by a Catholic sect during the 1990s, announced she has converted to Islam, and changed her name to Shuhada’ Davitt.

More on Sinead O'Connor


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Sinead O'Connor in hospital just days after son's tragic death at 17


The singer tweeted a picture of herself wearing a hijab and told fans: "This is to announce that I am proud to have become a Muslim."

"This is the natural conclusion of any intelligent theologian's journey.

"All scripture study leads to Islam. Which makes all other scriptures redundant.

"I will be given (another) new name. It will be Shuhada."

Sinead changed her name last year to Magda Davitt, saying in an interview that she wanted to be "free of parental curses".

In the past, she has said in interviews that her Christian faith has helped her overcome personal turmoil.

Sinead sparked debate on Twitter early in November when she slammed "white people" or "non-Muslims" as being disgusting, before adding: "interesting to see if Twitter bans this".

Is she married and does she have children?

Sinead has been married four times and has four children, Jake Reynolds, Roisin Waters and Yeshua Francis Neil Bonadio.

Her fourth child, Shane O'Connor, passed away on Friday, January 7, after he went missing from Tallaght Hospital after years of struggling with mental health issues.

The singer, who believed herself to be bipolar for a number of years due to a misdiagnosis, had a hysterectomy in 2015 following three years of gynaecological problems.

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