Who is Cheryl Fernandez-Versini?
Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, who is better known as Cheryl Cole, is an English singer, dancer and television personality. She earned recognition after participating in ITV's reality TV show 'Popstars: The Rivals', which eventually placed her in the all-girl group 'Girls Aloud' alongside Nadine Coyle, Sarah Harding, Nicola Roberts and Kimberley Walsh. The group went on to release 20 consecutive top ten singles in the UK, which included four number ones singles. Since the time she started pursuing a solo career, she has produced five number one singles, a record she shares with Jess Glynne. She became a household name in the UK after she appeared as a judge and mentor on the fifth series of the UK version of 'The X Factor'. She has subsequently reprised her role in many later installments of the show, but eventually decided to quit to focus on her singing career. She has also earned accolades for her fashion sense and is recognized as a style icon. Cheryl, who experienced a tough childhood where a good meal was a luxury for the family, has been involved with many charitable causes.
Childhood & Early Life
Cheryl Fernandez-Versini was born as Cheryl Ann Tweedy on June 30, 1983, in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, to Joan Callaghan and Garry Tweedy. Her parents lived together for over a decade, but never got married.
She is the fourth child of her mother and has two older brothers, one older sister and one younger brother. The first three children of her mother were from her previous marriage, which Cheryl learnt about only after her parents separated.
She showed a knack for dancing since she was a child and started sequence dancing at the age of four. When she was nine, she secured a place at the Royal Ballet Summer School in London, competing with 9000 other contestants.
She appeared on television for the first time at the age of seven, when she featured in an advertisement for British Gas along with her younger brother. In 1993, she performed dance recitals on the UK television show 'Gimme 5'.
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Early Career: Girls Aloud
In 2002, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini auditioned for the ITV reality television show 'Popstars: The Rivals', singing “Have You Ever” by UK pop group S Club 7. She was among 20 finalists who were chosen from thousands of contestants to participate on the show.
She was the first contestant to be selected for the all-girl group 'Girls Aloud', which also consisted of Nadine Coyle, Sarah Harding, Nicola Roberts and Kimberley Walsh. In May 2003, the group released their debut album 'Sound of the Underground', from which three songs went on to reach No.1 position on the 'UK Albums Chart'.
'What Will the Neighbours Say?', the group's second album, was released on 29 November 2004, and was supported by their first tour, 'What Will the Neighbours Say? Live' in May 2005. The same year, the group sang the official “Children in Need” charity single, a cover of The Pretenders' “I'll Stand by You”, which stayed at the top of the charts for two weeks.
In 2005, they released their third studio album, 'Chemistry', and appeared on two documentary films, 'Girls Aloud: Home Truths' and 'Off the Record'. The next year, they travelled to Australia and New Zealand to promote their latest album, and also made guest appearance on the television show 'Ghosthunting with...'
In November 2007, Girls Aloud released their fourth studio album, 'Tangled Up'. They featured on the television series, 'The Passions of Girls Aloud', in March 2008. In November that year, the group dominated the charts with their fifth album, 'Out of Control', which was also their final studio album.
Judge on 'The X Factor'
In 2008, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini was selected as a judge on the fifth installment of 'The X Factor' by series creator Simon Cowell. Alexandra Burke, one of the female solo contestants she mentored, won the top award that season.
She returned as a mentor and a judge on the sixth series of the show in 2009, and became the winning judge for a second consecutive year. She donned the role again in the next series of the show, but this time failed to guide the contestants to win.
In 2011, she became a judge on the American version of 'The X Factor', but left the series after three weeks, following which she was offered to judge the UK version of the show. She declined the offer and later sued the American producers of 'The X Factor' in December 2012. She won a settlement in November 2013.
Following a guest appearance on the UK version of 'The X Factor' in 2012, she returned as a judge and mentor in the eleventh series of the show in 2014. She also appeared as a judge on the next season of the show, but chose to leave the series finally in April 2016.
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Cheryl Fernandez-Versini started her solo career by lending additional vocals to American rapper will.i.am's song 'Heartbreaker' in 2008. The next year, she introduced her debut single, 'Fight For This Love', on the stage of 'The X Factor' and released her debut album '3 Words' on October 26, 2009.
On October 29, 2010, she released her next album, 'Messy Little Raindrops', which featured guest vocals from August Rigo, Dizzee Rascal, Travie McCoy, and will.i.am. The album debuted at number one on the UK chart, while its lead single, “Promise This”, became her second number-one single in the UK.
Her third studio album, 'A Million Lights', released in June 2012, reached the second position on the UK chart. However, her fourth album, 'Only Human', which was released in November 2014, only managed to reach the seventh position on the chart.
As part of 'Girls Aloud', she earned platinum status on five albums, two of which, 'Sound of the Underground' and 'Out of Control', peaked at number two and one respectively on the 'UK Albums Chart'.
The first two of her solo albums, '3 Words' and 'Messy Little Raindrops', were chart topping albums and were certified platinum in the UK. Her debut album went 3×Platinum, selling over a million copies.
Awards & Achievements
Cheryl Fernandez-Versini's girl-group 'Girls Aloud' was nominated for the 'BRIT Awards' five times, which resulted in one win in 2009 for the single 'The Promise'. She has received many awards during her solo career, and has been nominated for the 'BRIT Awards' twice.
Personal Life & Legacy
In September 2004, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini began dating the English footballer Ashley Cole, and the two got married on July 15, 2006. She separated from Cole in February 2010 after it was revealed that her husband cheated her with a number of women.
She later married Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini on July 7, 2014, following a whirlwind three-month courtship. After her separation from her second husband, she started dating One Direction singer Liam Payne, with whom she has a child.
'OK!' magazine signed a deal in 2006 to photograph the marriage ceremony between Cheryl Fernandez-Versini and Ashley Cole. The rights were reportedly sold for £1 million.
She was diagnosed with malaria after she collapsed while returning from a holiday in Tanzania in 2010. A philanthropist, she later raised money to fight malaria.