Cheryl Ann Cole (née Tweedy; born 30
June 1983) is an English singer, songwriter, dancer, model, and television
Cole rose to fame in 2002 after becoming a member of pop group Girls Aloud
through ITV's reality television programme Popstars: The Rivals. They have
become one of the few UK reality television acts to achieve continued
success, amassing a fortune of £25 million by May 2009. With Girls Aloud,
Cole has been successful in achieving a string of 20 consecutive UK top
ten singles (including four number ones), two UK number one albums, and
received nominations for five BRIT Awards, winning Best Single in 2009 for
In 2008, Cole became a judge on the British reality television show The X
Factor. Propelling her fame to new heights, Cole has been called "the
nation's new sweetheart." Cole's first solo single, "Fight for This Love",
was the fastest-selling single of 2009 up to that point when it entered
the UK Singles Chart and Irish Singles Chart at number one, becoming the
fourth best-seller of the year. Her debut solo album 3 Words achieved
Cole has also become recognized as a style icon, appearing on the covers
of British Vogue and Elle. In 2009, Cole became the new face of L'Oréal.
She is married to the Chelsea and England football player Ashley Cole. It
was reported on 24 February 2010 that the couple are to separate.
Cole was born in Newcastle upon Tyne, England and lived on an estate which
lies between the inner city districts of Heaton and Byker. She is one of
five children – one younger brother, Garry, and two half-brothers – Andrew
and Joseph, and one half-sister Gillian.
Interested in dancing from an early age, Cole joined the Royal Ballet's
summer school at the age of nine. In addition to dancing, Cole won many
modelling competitions, including Boots Group's bonniest baby, Mothercare
Happy Faces Portrait competition, Best Looking Girl of Newcastle, The
Evening Chronicle "Little Miss and Mister", and "Most Attractive Girl" at
the MetroCentre. She also appeared in two British Gas adverts, an SCS
advert, and an Eldon Square Christmas advert with younger brother Garry.
Cole also appeared in dance recitals on some television shows.
Cole auditioned for Popstars: The Rivals in 2002, singing S Club 7's "Have
You Ever". Cole joined Nadine Coyle, Sarah Harding, Nicola Roberts, and
Kimberley Walsh to comprise the new girl group Girls Aloud, formed through
the show by a public vote on 30 November 2002.
The group's debut single "Sound of the Underground" peaked at number one
on the UK Singles Chart, becoming the 2002 Christmas number one. Girls
Aloud hold the record for the shortest time between formation and reaching
number one. Since 2003, Girls Aloud have released twenty additional
singles, with all but one charting within the top ten. Their singles "I'll
Stand by You", "Walk This Way", and "The Promise" have charted at number
one. "The Promise" won Best British Single at the 2009 BRIT Awards. Their
greatest hits album The Sound of Girls Aloud and 2008's Out of Control
entered the UK Albums Chart at number one, with over one million copies of
the former being sold.
In 2009, it was announced that Girls Aloud would partake in a year-long
hiatus to pursue solo projects, but would reunite for a new studio album
Cole's first foray into a solo music career occurred when she featured on
will.i.am's "Heartbreaker". After taking streetdancing classes during the
filming of Passions of Girls Aloud series, Cole was picked to appear in
the song's music video. She was later asked to sing additional vocals on
In April 2009, it was confirmed that Cole was working on solo material.
Her debut album, 3 Words, was released in the UK on 26 October 2009. Cole
reunited with will.i.am for a majority of the album, in addition to
collaborating with Fraser T. Smith, Syience, Danish production team
Soulshock & Karlin, singer-songwriter Taio Cruz, and Wayne Wilkins. The
album spent two weeks at number one. On 6 November 2009, the British
Phonographic Industry (BPI) certified the album Platinum denoting
shipments of 300,000+ units. The first single from the album, "Fight for
This Love", was written by Andre Merritt and produced by Steve Kipner and
Wilkins. According to Cole it was released as the lead single because she
"connected with the song so well". Following a performance on The X Factor
live results show, "Fight for This Love" became the fourth fastest-selling
single of 2009 in the UK up to that point. It charted at number one on
both the Irish and UK Singles Chart. Cole's second single "3 Words", which
features will.i.am, was a top five hit.
In January 2010, it was announced that she would be the opening act for
the UK and selected European dates of the Black Eyed Peas' The E.N.D.
On 10 June 2008, it was announced Cole would replace Sharon Osbourne as a
judge for the fifth series of The X Factor. Cole was given the girls
category, subsequently ending up as the victorious judge when Alexandra
Burke was crowned the fifth X Factor winner on 13 December 2008. Cole
returned for the sixth series in 2009 and was given the boys category.
Cole ended up as the victorious judge for a second consecutive year after
Joe McElderry was crowned the sixth X Factor winner. Simon Cowell, the
show's creator, said, "I knew she was going to be good because she speaks
like normal people speak. People can relate to that. And I think that is
the best sign of a judge." Cowell referred to Cole as "one of the best
I've ever worked with."
Cole was given a one-off television programme for ITV1, Cheryl Cole's
Night In, which aired on 19 December 2009. Alexandra Burke, Rihanna, Will
Young, Snow Patrol and will.i.am made appearances. Cole told the press, "I
couldn't be happier that ITV have asked me to round off the year with my
own show, working with some of my favourite artists." The programme
attracted 5 million viewers on its first airing, substantially less than
the 8.1 million viewers which Strictly Come Dancing received during the
same time slot.
As a member of Girls Aloud, Cole has also appeared in the fly on the wall
documentary Girls Aloud: Home Truths, the E4 documentary series Girls
Aloud: Off the Record, an episode of Ghosthunting with..., and a one-off
variety show entitled The Girls Aloud Party.
Cole contributed to the book Dreams that Glitter - Our Story, an
autobiography with her Girls Aloud bandmates, in October 2008. The book
was written with a ghostwriter and published by the Transworld imprint
Bantam Press. The book featured unseen photographs and included insights
into the members' personal lives, their success together, style tips, and
"everything we've learned about life, love and music." The book was
previewed and serialised by OK! prior to its release. Girls Aloud held a
book signing at Waterstones in Piccadilly, London to promote the release.
The title Dreams that Glitter comes from a line in the group's 2007 single
"Call the Shots".
In April 2009, it was reported that Cole signed a £5million deal with
HarperCollins to author five romantic novels for the company.
On 11 January 2003, Cole was involved in an altercation with a nightclub
toilet attendant, Sophie Amogbokpa, in "The Drink" nightclub in Guildford
(later "Harper's" and now called "The Casino"). Cole was subsequently
charged with racially aggravated assault (she had allegedly called
Amogbokpa a "Caribbean jigaboo" and a "black bitch") and assault
occasioning actual bodily harm. During her trial, Cole claimed she acted
in self-defence (claiming she had been punched first) and denied using
racially abusive language. The jury found her guilty of assault
occasioning actual bodily harm, but cleared her of racially aggravated
assault. The judge sentenced her to 120 hours of community service and
ordered her to pay her victim £500 in compensation, as well as £3,000
In a rare interview on topic of the subject Cole went on to speak about
the incident as something she "regrets" however she stated that from her
point of view she didn't "attack" the woman but was defending herself. In
an interview with Q magazine she said: "As much as I regret that
situation, I didn't attack someone. I defended myself. My brothers taught
me: if someone hits you, you hit them back. That's still how I view it and
that's what I'll teach my kids." At the time of the incident Cole (then
Tweedy) admitted she called Amogbokpa a "fucking bitch" but denied calling
her a "black fucking bitch". The police report also showed that Amogbokpa
had not made claims of racism in her first statement while being treated
in hospital. It was only after she had returned to the club and met the PR
agent and then spoken to the Sunday Mirror later in the day that
allegations of racism in the attack emerged.
Cole began dating England and Chelsea footballer Ashley Cole in 2004,
announcing their engagement after he proposed in Dubai in June 2005. The
couple were married at a ceremony at Barnet, North West London on 15 July
2006. They signed an exclusive deal with OK!, reportedly worth £1 million,
regarding the rights of the photographs. In January 2008, a hairdresser
named Aimee Walton alleged that she had engaged in drunken extramarital
sex with Ashley Cole in a kiss-and-tell interview with The Sun. Glamour
model Brooke Healy claimed that she had spent the night and had sexual
relations with Ashley Cole in December 2006. Promotion for Girls Aloud's
"Can't Speak French" was put on hold, and Cole also stopped wearing her
wedding ring. The couple, however, reconciled. Following tabloid reports
of marital issues in November 2009, Cole posted a picture with her wedding
ring in plain sight on Twitter, with the message "3 words. Diamonds Are
In early February 2010, news broke that her husband had cheated on her
with another five women. On 23 February, Cole announced she was separating
from her husband and asked the media to respect the separation.
In 2009, Cole announced her support for the Labour Party in the upcoming
General Election, referring to the Tory leader David Cameron as
"slippery". She went on to say, "We've always been Labour in our family,
it just feels wrong not to be".
Following her appearance on The X Factor, the media have referred to Cole
as "the nation's new sweetheart". Simon Cowell stated, "she must now be
the most popular person on TV." A pop art portrait depicting Cole as the
Angel of the North was created by Lee Jones. He commented, "I see her as a
new icon of popular culture for the 21st century, a beacon of light in
these bleak times – a fine example of a northern lass making good."
Cole has become recognized as a style icon, and revered as a fashionista.
In February 2009, Cole appeared on the cover of British Vogue. Media
coverage of her appearance boosted the magazine's circulation to 240,000 –
its best ever February figure. Cole also graced the cover of Elle UK's
November 2009 issue. In a 2009 poll by the Style Network, Cole was voted
best dressed woman of the year and style icon of the decade. Cole was also
named the "Sexiest Woman in the World" in the 2009 edition of FHM's 100
Sexiest Women poll, having reached number seven the year before. She was
also voted number eight in AskMen.com's 2010 poll.
In Autumn 2009, Cole became the new face of L'Oréal. Her recent ad
campaign promoting the L'Oréal Elvive shampoo and conditioner range
attracted criticism though, amid claims Cole had deliberately deceived
persons wishing to buy the product, since it shows Cole with hair
extensions. As a member of Girls Aloud, Cole has also endorsed Barbie,
KitKat, Nintendo DS, Samsung, and Sunsilk.
Cole was referenced in Lily Allen's "Cheryl Tweedy", a b-side to her 2006
debut single "Smile". Cole took the song as a compliment to her, although
Allen later pointed out that it had been tongue in cheek.