Cheryl Cole has become a recognised and photographed style icon; referred to as a fashionista by the press. She has been photographed for the covers of British Vogue, Elle and Harper's Bazaar, while also becoming the new face of cosmetic company L'Oréal. Cole was married to England footballer Ashley Cole from July 2006 until September 2010, when she divorced him.
Cheryl Cole was born in Newcastle upon Tyne, England and grew up on council estates in the districts of Walker and Heaton. She is the fourth of five children of Joan Callaghan, and the eldest child of Gary Tweedy. Cole's parents never married each other; they separated when she was 11. She has a brother, Garry (born 1987, Newcastle) and three elder maternal half-siblings: Joseph, Gillian and Andrew.
As a small child in the late 1980s, she appeared in a television advert for British Gas.
As she was interested in dancing from an early age, Cheryl Cole started sequence dancing at the age of four, before joining The Royal Ballet's summer school at the age of nine. At a young age, Cheryl Cole enrolled in The Royal Ballet's summer school. She won many modelling competitions, including the titles of Boots Group's "bonniest baby", Mothercare's Happy Faces Portrait competition, "Best Looking Girl of Newcastle", The Evening Chronicle's "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 as well as appearing in dance recitals on some television shows. She attended Walker Comprehensive School in Newcastle, and left at 16 with few qualifications. During her time there, she was suspended twice: once for fighting with another pupil and again for swearing on a bus. After school, she took a job as a waitress in a restaurant.
Cheryl Cole auditioned for the reality television show Popstars The Rivals in 2002 with the song "Have You Ever". Several thousand applicants attended auditions across the UK in hope of being selected. Ten girls and ten boys were chosen as finalists by judges Pete Waterman, Louis Walsh and Geri Halliwell. These finalists then took to the stage, participating in weekly Saturday night live performances which alternated weekly between the girls and boys. Each week, the contestant polling the fewest phone votes was eliminated, until the final line-ups of the groups emerged. Cheryl Cole joined Nadine Coyle, Sarah Harding, Nicola Roberts, and Kimberley Walsh to form the new girl group Girls Aloud, as determined by a public vote administered through the show 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. The group released their debut album Sound of the Underground in May 2003, which entered the charts at number two and was certified platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) later the same year. Since 2003, Girls Aloud have released twenty additional singles, with all but one charting within the top ten, and 15 reaching top five positions. Their singles "I'll Stand by You", "Walk This Way", and "The Promise" have charted at number one. Two of their albums have reached the top of the UK Albums Chart: their greatest hits album The Sound of Girls Aloud and 2008's Out of Control, both of which entered the chart at number one, with over one million copies of the former being sold. All five of their studio albums have been certified platinum by the BPI. They have been nominated for five Brit Awards, and in 2009 won "Best British Single" at that year's Brit Awards for "The Promise". The group has sold ten million records worldwide. Girls Aloud have become one of the few UK reality television acts to achieve continued success, and had amassed a fortune of £25 million by May 2009. The 2007 edition of Guinness World Records listed them as "Most Successful Reality TV Group", while they also hold the record for "Most Consecutive Top Ten Entries in the UK by a Female Group" in the 2008 edition.
In July 2009, Girls Aloud announced they would take a year-long hiatus in the pursuit of solo projects, but would reunite for a new studio album in 2010. In August 2010, bandmate Nicola Roberts revealed that she wasn't anticipating a reunion of the band until 2012.
2008–10: Solo ventures, 3 Words and Messy Little Raindrops
Cheryl Cole's first solo performance was on American rapper will.i.am's "Heartbreaker" in 2008. She was picked to appear as a dancer in the video after taking streetdancing classes during the filming of the ITV2 series The Passions of Girls Aloud, in which the members of the band achieve something they had always wanted to do, other than sing. She was later asked, by will.i.am, to sing additional vocals on the track. In April 2009, Cheryl Cole started working on solo material. Her debut album, 3 Words, was released in the UK on 26 October 2009. Cheryl Cole was reunited with will.i.am for the album, in addition to collaborating with Fraser T. Smith, Syience, Danish production team Soulshock & Karlin, singer-songwriter Taio Cruz, Wayne Wilkins, and Steve Kipner. Recorded in Los Angeles and London, Cole mainly collaborated with will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas, the executive producer of 3 Words. It crosses from contemporary R&B, dance pop, house and a more general pop sound. Cruz was asked to write two songs for Cole, the first of which, "Break Your Heart", was written specially for Cole but Polydor label boss Ferdy Unger-Hamilton felt the song was too similar to Heartbreaker, the track Cole did with Will.i.am. When asked about the album's title Cheryl Cole revealed she had already contemplated an album title which contained the phrase 3 Words before the title track was recorded. She had considered titles like Three Syllables, although the strongest contender was Unveiled as Cole "felt like she didn't have any protection without the girls" and because it correlated with the veil on the album cover. The album begins with its title track, a duet with will.i.am and Cole's favourite song on the album. She said the song was "totally different from anything I've done with Girls Aloud or liked before" and took its inspiration from Cheryl Cole's newly acquired love for dance music on the charts, especially David Guetta & Kelly Rowland's "When Love Takes Over".
In March 2010, Cheryl Cole stated that she had begun working on a follow up album to 3 Words, which she hoped to release "later on in the year". Cole's second solo album, titled Messy Little Raindrops, was released on 1 November 2010. The album's first single, "Promise This", was released on 24 October 2010 and became her second number-one hit in the UK. "Promise This" is an up-tempo dance-pop song written by American songwriter Priscilla Hamilton, British music producer Wayne Wilkins, who was responsible for Cole's debut single "Fight for This Love", and Christopher Jackson. It is written in the music key of C minor with a time signature in common time and a tempo of 151 beats per minute. Cole's vocal range spans from G3 to E♭5. The basic chord progression of the song is Cm, Cm7, Cm6, Cm, E♭, B♭, F, Cm, E♭, B♭ and F. The song sees Cheryl Cole singing some of the lyrics in French, referencing the children's song "Alouette".
2011–present: Third album
In July 2011, it was reported that Cheryl Cole had begun work on her third studio album. The same month, Far East Movement stated that they had been in the studio with both Cole and Will.i.am. In late July 2011, MTV reported seeing Cole meeting up with singer Usher where they were spotted outside her hotel, also Perez Hilton said that Cole and Christina Aguilera were spotted having dinner together and they had been discussing a collaboration. Producer David Guetta is working on the album. In early September 2011 Taio Cruz revealed that he had been working on Cole's new album. He told radio station "Yeah, I can't say too much about the songs, but it was great to see her again,". In September 2011, Cheryl Cole was spotted in the studio with hip-hop producer Alex Da Kid.