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X Factor judge and Londoner Tulisa Contostavlos has spoken of the intimate bonds she has formed with the acts she has been mentoring.

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The star - one-third of chart act N-Dubz along with her cousin Dappy and boyfriend Fazer – has been in charge of the groups section in this year’s X Factor.

“I get closer to my acts than any other judge. I want them to feel they’ve got a little family,” she said.

“They say I’m like a mother hen. Even Dappy and Fazer used to call me the mother hen.

“So if that’s what I do with my own band, when I’m in charge of these other bands, obviously I start mothering them.”

She said the instinct probably stems from the many years spent looking after her mother who has bipolar disorder.

“I feel I’ve got a duty to do it,” added Tulisa, who has guided girl group Little Mix to this weekend’s X Factor semi-final.

Tulisa, speaking to the Radio Times, also spoke about being dogged by fears she does not “belong” on the show after her troubled childhood.

She said she is still overcome by doubts following her teenage years in which she attempted suicide, self-harmed and was a regular dope smoker.

She said she has her moments of self-doubt “now and again”.

Tulisa joined the show this year as the judging panel underwent a revamp.

But reflecting on her role, she said: “I’ll think, ‘I don’t belong here.’

“I get those moments now and again. Although I can be very feisty, that’s a defence mechanism for me.”

She said it was a result of “being bullied, feeling weak all the time”.

This series of ITV1’s The X Factor winds to a close on December 11, but Tulisa said she would be happy to return to the show for a second year if asked.

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