By anyone's standards 2013 was quite a tumultuous year for Kylie Minogue.
Not only did she split from 35-year-old Spanish model Andrés Velencoso last October after five years, change her management team and then lose the assistant who'd been her right hand for more than a decade, she also signed up to be a judge on The Voice, a daunting first dip into the world of live TV talent shows.
Even so, it's a surprise to learn she chose to spend New Year's Eve at home on her own.
'I was determined that last year was going to be a big year of change. Everything in my life changed. After having the same manager, an Australian, for 25 years, I got new management in LA. Americans work very differently to Brits and Australians, so it was like trying to learn a new language.
'Then my assistant, who'd been with me for 12 years, moved back to Australia. So I was basically floundering around on my own, trying to keep my relationship going. He [Andrés] was very supportive throughout that, kind of acknowledging that I wanted a separation - not from him but from the old ways that I had. I'm sure that had something to do with our break-up.'
Her job on The Voice coincides with the release of her first studio album in four years, Kiss Me Once.
At 45 she's still confident enough to parade in a negligee in the video for the first single Into The Blue, which is about being alone and seems to be an assertion that it's OK not to be in a relationship.
So is that how she feels now? 'Well I hope so, otherwise I'm seriously not OK,' she laughs. 'I didn't write the lyrics but amazingly they just fit my life at the moment. I was still in a relationship when I recorded it, so it must be destiny because the song's coming to life more with my current frame of mind.'
In the past Kylie's said she goes for complex men, which could be a euphemism for difficult and volatile. INXS singer Michael Hutchence, for example, who committed suicide in 1997, and who said his favourite hobby was 'corrupting Kylie'.
Then there was model James Gooding, who sold the story of their affair to a newspaper.
Even French actor Olivier Martinez, who she went out with from 2003-2007 and who stood by her when she underwent treatment for breast cancer in 2005, has a fiery side that came out recently after a fracas with his wife Halle Berry's ex-partner that landed him in hospital.
Does she still go for the difficult type? 'I do, but that's not to say my last boyfriend wasn't complex. He was a super, super straight-up nice guy and I think I definitely learnt from him that you can date a nice, caring guy.'
But didn't she once say Velencoso was The One? 'Yes. But I've thought that a few times.'
Does she mean when she's in a relationship, she's in it completely? 'Yes. I do fall rather hard.' So whose decision was it to break up, I wonder. 'I'm not going to go into any of that,' she says firmly. 'I love being in a relationship, except when you no longer should be in a relationship. But yes, I'm a romantic at heart. I love the idea of sharing your existence more deeply with someone. But I have enough to distract me when I'm not with someone.'
Even when she did think Velencoso was The One she would always side-step questions about whether marriage was for her. She has, however, been open about wanting children. She seems to have finally come to terms with the fact that may never happen.
'I don't know how many more times I can say, if it happens, it happens. But I think maybe part of this frame of mind I'm in, trying to be calm and accepting and at peace with where I am, is really acknowledging that it just might not be written on the pages for me. You can't have everything, so I'd rather just focus on what I have instead of what I don't have.'
Interestingly, three songs on the new album have variations of the word sex in the title. Maybe she's trying to tell us something.
'It's very noticeable, isn't it?' she says with a smile. 'There was a point about halfway through recording when my executive producer said, "We need a song that's sort of sexy!" Then, lo and behold, three came in and I thought, "Can I have three songs with sex in the title?" Well, yes I can because I didn't want to lose any of them and they all work in different ways.'
So is she feeling sexier? 'I might be singing about it but I'm a single girl. So we'll see what the future holds. But I'm singing about it from the mountaintops!'
Not many pop stars survive ten years in the business, let alone 25, but two years ago Kylie celebrated her quarter century as both a pop and style queen.
One of the reasons she's survived so long is that she's always reinventing her image or sound, keen to look forward rather than back.
'I've always been very curious,' she says. 'I find it weird explaining when people say you've changed your look or you've changed this or that because to me it's totally normal. Maybe if you're Bob Dylan you'll wear the same thing for 20 years. But I like fashion and I like the current wave of music. I like being involved in and being part of pop. I think if you're into pop, you're interested in change.
'Celebrating 25 years was fantastic, but towards the end of that year I started thinking, "OK, I've relived 25 years and done all the celebrating I need to do." I think that's where the yearning to change started. I just wanted to have a clean slate. Essentially I'm doing the same thing: making records and selling my wares and entertaining. But it's good to have a different energy around. You don't want to be just going around and around. I wanted some freshness.'