t.A.T.u. Media

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Lena Katina – A Secret for a Million

Money

  • The first thing Lena saved her money for after t.A.T.u. started was a car. She learned how to drive as soon as she turned 18 and bought a white Pontiac Grand Am.
  • She then bought a 2 bedroom apartment in Moscow’s Old Arbat street. Lena continues to rent out the apartment to this day.
  • The largest check Lena has received was for $250,000 for a concert, which she used to buy the apartment.

Julia Volkova & t.A.T.u.

  • Lena said she heard a lot of criticism about Julia going into politics, but thinks the problem was that the criticism started before Julia had even done anything. “I think everyone needs a chance to prove themselves.”
  • “Julia is a maximalist in life. When we would listen to demos and try to pick a key for them, she would try it and say, ‘It can be even higher’, even when she already had problems with her voice. This is how Ivan taught us, to do it to the breaking point, to the max, to have hysteria, to have that emotion. It turned out that it was very hard for her to record that way, so we made some things lower.”
  • The girls were “fined” when they misbehaved, but only when they were very bad. One reason was for smoking. Leonid Dzyunik said that Lena would be in bigger trouble for smoking, “Remember how I used to yell, ‘I’ll charge Volkova $100, but I’ll charge you $200!’…because [Lena] had a voice…Julia had a different timbre.”
  • Lena and Julia got on each other’s nerves, but argued over silly things like “why are your underwear on my luggage?”. However, when they had a lot of work in t.A.T.u they tried to not spend any time with each other outside of the project.
  • The first fight the girls had was during their tour in Crimea. Julia took the mic and began hosting the concert. When they got back to the hotel room Lena was sobbing and wanted to know why Julia did that if they were supposed to be equal. Leonid told Lena that her chance would come. (Lena said she doesn’t remember this at all.) When they arrived overseas Lena already knew how to speak English very well, which resulted in all the journalist talking only to her since it took too long to translate back and forth for Julia. This caused issues between the girls when they come back home. Lena said that she thinks it was painful and upsetting for Julia. Then Leonid spoke to Ivan and Ivan suggested that Julia should have a solo career, but Leonid told him to wait.

Marriage

  • Lena’s stepdad described her ex-husband, Sasho, as a “Soviet boy” and called him “Snipper” since Sasho was a snipper in the army. Lena’s mom did not know where her and Sasho were going to live (which country). When Lena was going to give birth, Sasho suggested going to Russia since Lena had family and an apartment there. He did not want to go to Slovenia because he had not lived there in a long time, they did not have their own place there and his parents were too old to help take care of the baby.
  • Problems in their marriage started when their child was born. Lena said it was a “trauma” for Sasho. He lived in L.A. for 13 years were the weather was amazing and where he had friends. In Russia it was Lena, the baby, her apartment, her family and her friends.
  • Lena said that Sasho is also an artist and at some point he lost himself. Although he agreed to stay home with the baby, “as a man it did not suite him”.
  • Right before Lena gave birth she was told she needed a cesarian as the baby could not come out on his own. Lena was already having contractions but the baby would not come as his head was 2cm larger than the opening. The cesarian was the first cause of stress. After her birth Lena felt depressed as it was “a serious modification of self”. Taking care of the baby was also stressful. Lena said that both her and Sasho equally turned out to be unprepared for the arrival of their child.
  • When Lena would come home tired from a concert or touring, instead of receiving support she was rebuked by Sasho for a period of time. Sasho was always in a bad mood and would say that he is staying home for Lena and her career. Lena found Russian language classes for Sasho, which he went to just a couple of times. He tried giving singing lessons, but that also did not stick. “He is an artist. He needs a stage.”
  • Lena held everything inside and did not express how she felt. She thinks it would have been better to discuss their issues back then. “If he had come to me and said, ‘I am tired, I do not want to be home.’…”
  • Lena and Sasho were always snapping at each other and were both unhappy. Lena was the one who brought up the topic of a divorce. At first they split up for three months and Sasho flew to Slovenia to take a break and to think. When he came back nothing changed. Sasho was mature about the eventual split.
  • Lena was relieved when it was over, but her dreams were crushed since she thought the marriage was once and for all.
  • Lena and Sasho still communicate. They have their issues, but she would go as far as to call them friends.
  • Lena’s stepfather had trouble communicating with Sasho because of the language barrier. He did not think that Sasho was a very good husband because him and Lena did not have a mutual understanding of certain things. “When I found out a little bit about him – who he is, where he is from, his age, what he does, how much time he spent in America and what he accomplished…America is the land of opportunity and I understood that Sasho did not achieve anything in this country. He had nothing – no residence permit, no real job, no success, no real estate, nothing. I had an association with the famous movie Balzaminov’s Marriage – ‘He has nothing. He’s a beggar.'”
  • Lena did not require Sasho to pay for child support, but said that he is not a greedy person – whenever he has the opportunity he sends money.

Current Relationship

  • Lena is in a relationship but it is too new to know where it will lead. Lena said this person is not from a music background, but he is very interesting and smart. He is a little older than her and has no kids.

Children

  • Sasha’s favorite songs by Lena are “Nas Ne Dagoniat” and “Kurish – Kuri”.
  • Lena said she wants her son to have any career that makes him happy. Regarding being a musician, “I want my son to have stability. Musicians do not have stability.”
  • Lena wants to have another child.

Drugs and Alcohol

  • The first time Lena got very drunk was on New Year’s Eve in 9th grade when t.A.T.u. was already in full swing. Julia came over to Lena’s house to celebrate and after welcoming the new year with Lena’s family the two of them went out. Lena does not remember what they drank but does remember being on her hands and knees after 3 hours. Julia went to get Lena activated charcoal at the pharmacy at 5AM. “We came home practically on all fours and of course my mom saw us. Instead of a lesson on alcohol she said, ‘You poor thing. I understand you so well. Lay down and sleep. Let me get you a bucket just in case.’.”
  • There were temptations to do drugs, but Lena’s inner voice told her not to, “There were suitcases full of everything”.

Family

  • Lena’s dad was always on tour so he was not around a lot. For some time he lived in Paris with his second wife (who is 10 years older than Lena) where he had a son, Ivan (who is 10 years younger than Lena), and would come back to see Lena a few times a year. Her dad admits that he became a father at a young age and did not feel the fatherly responsibility. Lena’s dad left her and her mom when she was 3 years old and her stepdad came into the picture when she was 4.
  • Lena’s half brother is also into music and likes to play chess. Right now they are not in communication but they were when t.A.T.u. toured in Europe. At some point Lena and her stepmom had a conflict after which contact ceased. Lena continued to write to him, telling him about the death of her grandmother, about her pregnancy, and when she gave birth to invite him to visit her. Ivan took a long time to reply. “What’s the point of knocking on an empty door? He can always find me and I will gladly talk to him”.
  • Lena’s sister is now 29 and is a lawyer and director of her department. She helps Lena with legal things.

Health

  • When Lena had an ultrasound they found a stone in her gallbladder. This could have been caused by her diet when she was trying to lose weight. “I had to lose 10kg to shoot the video. Ivan said to lose weight or he would get another girl. That upset me.”
  • When the doctor told her she should remove it Lena refused as it was not causing her any pain. She lived with it for a long time.
  • When she was flying to Los Angeles she began to feel horrible pain and throwing up, thinking she had food poisoning. Lena went to the doctor who thought it was appendicitis and prescribed her painkillers and told her to drink Gatorade. Lena continued to feel ill the next day, went back to the doctor and got an ultrasound, during which they discovered that the stone moved and blocked the passageway in her gallbladder.
  • Lena was told that she needed an operation, but she was too scared and wanted to be with her mom. She changed her plane ticket and was told that during takeoff and decent she needed to be laying down. “I flew back with the exact same flight crew I flew in with. My mom and dad met me at the airport and took me to the hospital. The next day I had the surgery.”
  • This was almost 17 years ago.

Career

  • When asked if she was happy the team that helps her in her music career Lena said yes. When asked why she has so little followers Lena said, “Because we do not buy bots. All my followers are real people”. Lena does not want to constantly be on Instagram showing how she takes walks with her son or what she is eating.
    -“All the stars do it.”
    -“I am not like everyone else. I am Lena Katina.”
    -“That is why you only have 300,000 followers.”

Miscellaneous

  • Lena has a lot of pajamas, negligee, underwear and perfume. She has designer bags, but not a lot.
  • One time Lena babysat a photographer’s children for about $10 an hour. It was during the time when she was planning her wedding and looked at wedding dresses with the kids.

Abuse

  • When she was 11, Lena was walking home from school and was attacked by a pedophile on the stairwell of the 7th floor of the building she lived in on Bibliotechnaya Street in Moscow.
  • When she was in the building she walked into the elevator and a man got in with her as the door was closing. He pressed the button for the 12th floor and Lena pressed the button for the 10th, the floor she lived on. He then pressed the button for the 7th floor. He turned to Lena and said, “If you stay quiet everything will be fine”. Lena said, “Uh oh” and began to cry. After getting of the elevator he took her to the stairwell and told her to take her pants off, which she did. He then bent her over and began to touch her. He put her on her knees, took out his genitals and told her to perform oral sex on him. She begged him not to and he said “Okay, get up”. He asked her if she had ever seen or touched a man’s penis before, which she had not. He then took her hand, put it on his penis and started to stroke it. He ended up satisfying himself, “I remember the semen flew across the stairwell”. He then took Lena back to the elevator, pushed her away to the wall, got in and left.
  • “He was about 30-35 years old, he had a beauty mark on his face close to his nose. He was wearing a brown leather coat, jeans with a belt and brown leather boots.”
  • Lena had a family she knew with a girl who she went to school with who lived on the 7th floor. She went to their apartment and told them what happened.
  • “I went home and took a bath because I wanted to clean myself, I felt so dirty. I was in the bath and cried, and cried and cried. I was home alone…I worked on dealing with this for a very long time, not only with a psychologist but with my mom too.”
  • Lena and her family reported the man to the police but he was never found.
  • Lena’s parents took her to get a gun for protection, but could not get it since a license was required. They offered them pepper spray instead.
  • Much later in life when Lena analyzed the situation she realized that the man was scared himself.

Secret for a Million

  • “I understand that a lot of my questions for you were not easy. But you did not reveal one of your secrets fully today. Your scary secret is in this envelope. Open the envelope and read the question. If you are ready to answer it we will continue our conversation.” Lena did not answer the final question on the envelope.

Source: NTV YouTube Channel