Barbra Streisand made headlines for non-musical reasons last week when she revealed in an interview that she had cloned her dead dog twice.

The 75-year-old star said that she had taken DNA from the Coton du Tulear pooch - called Samantha - which had produced two new identical pups, Miss Violet and Miss Scarlett.

Streisand came under fire from some animal lovers who criticised her decision instead of adopting a rescue dog, but now she has explained exactly why she went down the cloning route.

“I was so devastated by the loss of my dear Samantha, after 14 years together, that I just wanted to keep her with me in some way. It was easier to let Sammie go if I knew I could keep some part of her alive, something that came from her DNA,” she told theNew York Times. “A friend had cloned his beloved dog, and I was very impressed with that dog. So Sammie’s doctor took some cells from inside her cheek and the skin on her tummy just before she died."

She added that while she was waiting to see if the cells 'took', Samantha's breeder gave her another pup, whose mother was called 'Funny Girl'. “It felt like fate, as if it was meant to be," she said. "How could I refuse that little girl? So I took her, too, and named her Miss Fanny.

Eventually, the cloned cells reproduced four dogs - one of which died, one of which she gave away, and two of which she kept. "You can clone the look of a dog, but you can’t clone the soul," she said. "Still, every time I look at their faces, I think of my Samantha...and smile.”