Kylie Minogue has come out of hiding, says Craig McLean in British Elle. In 2005, the Australian singer, actress, and model revealed that she had breast cancer, and endured the worldwide news coverage and the subsequent removal of a cancerous lump.

Minogue had relied heavily on her lithe body for her success, so following her operation and chemotherapy, she went into a defensive crouch and withdrew from the world. “I got more and more closed,” she says. “It was protection mode. Even before I was ill, I remember being at a shoot and I had a meltdown in the dressing room—a panic attack. It’s hard to explain, but when you’re the focus of attention, and everything’s coming at you.… Being in a not-100-percent state, it was too overwhelming. So my comeback was very gentle and very closed, with the people that I know and that I know I can trust.”

Late in 2006, though, she began venturing out and performing again. “I still have my moments, my little dips and nerves,” the 40-year-old Minogue acknowledges. “It’s not that long ago. I have to say I still deal with it. Everything’s changed. It’s coming back to normal more and more. Whatever normal is.”