Authors: Gerard Sanderson
Tags: #Biography & Autobiography, #Entertainment & Performing Arts
First published in Great Britain in 2008 by
Michael O’Mara Books Limited
9 Lion Yard
London SW4 7NQ
Revised and updated edition first published in 2009
This electronic edition published 2010
ISBN 978-1-84317-514-8 in EPub format
ISBN 978-1-84317-515-5 in Mobipocket format
ISBN 978-1-84317-347-2 in Print Hardback
ISBN 978-1-84317-389-2 in Print Paperback
Copyright © Gerard Sanderson 2008, 2009, 2010
The right of Gerard Sanderson to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
You may not copy, store, distribute, transmit, reproduce or otherwise make available this publication (or any part of it) in any form, or by any means (electronic, digital, optical, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of the publisher. Any person who does any unauthorized act in relation to this publication may be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims for damages.
A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
This book has not been approved, licensed or endorsed by Cheryl Cole or her management.
Designed and typeset by E-Type
Cover design by Joanna Wood
Cover photograph: David Fisher/Rex Features
To MG, who has made life so much fun – long may it last!
To my mum, for everything she’s done for me and for showing me how to do double spacing automatically.
To Cheryl Cole, for being witty, fabulous and making the world a much brighter place!
And thanks to everyone who helped me in writing this book!
As the black limo swept towards the entrance of Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium, the paparazzi raised their cameras in feverish expectation, knowing that just the right shot of its occupant could result in a handsome pay cheque. Behind them, a gaggle of fans and wannabe popstars, who had turned out for the latest set of
The X Factor
auditions, bubbled with excitement, eager to lay eyes on the big name that was about to step out and greet them.
Inside the car, Girls Aloud singer Cheryl Cole could feel butterflies fill her tummy. Today, 12 June 2008, was a big day for her. It was her very first day on the set of the fifth series of the top-rated TV talent show and she was nervous. Which was most unlike her, because she was never normally the kind of girl to be affected by nerves. She was the ambitious, driven woman who had not only gone from living on a council estate in Newcastle to becoming a household name, but had also very recently performed to audiences of over 100,000 on the Girls Aloud tour without any hint of fear whatsoever.
Today was different, however. Today was a big deal for her, for many reasons. As well as this being her first proper TV gig
without the security of her four bandmates around her, she knew the country’s media would be watching her every move, because she was the one who had been chosen to replace the mighty Sharon Osbourne on
The X Factor
Ever since the flamboyant Sharon had sensationally quit the show earlier in the year amid rumours of financial quibbles and a much-publicized rift with fellow judge Dannii Minogue, speculation was rife about who would take her place. Outspoken Spice Girl Mel B was in the frame for a time, so too was Amanda Holden. But it was Cheryl Cole who turned out to be the clear favourite, particularly after her profile had shot through the roof back in February, when allegations hit the tabloids that her husband Ashley had been less than faithful.
Cheryl had initially been a little hesitant about accepting the role. After all, she’d been through this arduous audition process herself during
Popstars: The Rivals
and knew first hand the effect the judges’ tough comments could have on a naïve wannabe with a head full of dreams. Could she be responsible for shattering the hopes of these fragile young people? She wasn’t sure. ‘Who am I to judge other people?’ she confessed in an ITV press release in 2007, when it was rumoured that she was to join ITV’s
Britain’s Got Talent
judging team. ‘I know people think I am fiery but I think I’m too diplomatic. I know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of criticism.’ But surely, to turn down a TV job as prestigious as
The X Factor
would have been seen as madness? She had to take the job, didn’t she?
Cheryl could take heart from Sharon Osbourne’s effusive recommendation of her for the role on Chris Moyles’ BBC Radio 1 show: ‘I think Cheryl would be perfect for the job,’ she gushed. ‘She will take the show in another direction.’ John Kaye Cooper,
ITV’s Controller of Entertainment, added his praise in an ITV press release, stating that: ‘Cheryl is not only an amazingly successful, sassy and talented woman but through her winning
Popstars: The Rivals
she has been through similar experiences to those hopefuls who want to take
The X Factor
And so, once the car had pulled up to the entrance, she stepped out, finally feeling confident and assured, and gave the paparazzi her killer Cole smile as they shot a rapid machinegun fire of camera flashes. As Cheryl strode into the arena to start her brand new job of judging the country’s talent, the irony was not wasted on her: her life had come full circle, and six years after she’d been discovered on a talent show, she was back again – only this time, she was in control…
Even as a six-year-old, Cheryl Ann Tweedy knew that she was destined to follow a path that would take her a world away from her run-down neighbourhood of Heaton in Newcastle. Too young to understand what it meant to hold down a nine-to-five job or indeed the reasons why it was important actually to have one, Cheryl was dreaming of a more glamorous life as a world-famous star.
And on a sunny day in 1990, her dreams would seem not to be so far-fetched after all. Standing in front of a team of stern-looking judges in the centre of Newcastle in a frilly skirt and flowery blouse, the pretty little girl with bouncy pigtails stood with thirteen other young hopefuls, quaking in their tiny shoes as they waited to discover which of them would be named ‘Star of the Future’ by local newspaper the
Although the competition was just a bit of fun for the local children to get involved in, those taking part took it all very seriously indeed; in particular young Cheryl, who, having won
numerous talent and beauty prizes over the years, did not want her winning streak to end. Even at such a young age, Cheryl was remarkably confident and self-assured, and she knew from her previous successes that she had that certain something that made people instantly fall in love with her. She thrived on performing and being the centre of attention, but then, being the fourth of five children, this was hardly surprising. ‘I had to stand out somehow,’ Cheryl said in ITV2’s 2008 documentary
The Passions of Girls Aloud.
‘So I used to love dancing and just generally showing off.’
However, in spite of her impressive self-confidence, this plucky little star-in-the-making knew that nothing was ever a certainty, that every competition was different and that she might not always come away with the prize. And this citywide competition was particularly tough. Although she knew she had done her best by demonstrating her natural dancing abilities, she was aware that the decision was not in her power. It was now up to a panel of judges to decide which of the fourteen youngsters they believed had the potential to go on and become a massive star in the future.
When Mike Whitehouse, competition judge and store manager of local clothes chain and contest sponsor Children’s World, finally stepped up to put the ensemble of kiddies out of their misery, Cheryl could feel her heart beating heavily in her chest. However, to those around her, she apparently looked remarkably calm and, as some who took part on the day have said since, oozed an unfathomable confidence.
As she waited for Mike to deliver his verdict, Cheryl looked over at her mother Joan, who was sitting on the edge of her seat in the audience, beaming with pride. Whatever the result,
Cheryl knew that her mother would be proud of her. Joan could never be described as a pushy mother. She’d simply spotted a seed of talent and star quality in her daughter and had sown it straight away; in other words, responded to her ambitious daughter’s creative leanings …
As soon as Cheryl was born on 20 June 1983, Joan knew that her second daughter was different from her other children, Joseph, Andrew and Gillian. Although she couldn’t put her finger on it straight away, she could sense that Cheryl had a unique quality that made her stand out. It was also fortunate that the wee girl happened to be very easy on the eye. ‘Cute as a button,’ a friend of the family told Newcastle’s
newspaper. ‘Such a pretty little girl, who would turn heads wherever she went.’
So on the advice of family friends, and before Cheryl was even able to crawl, Joan introduced her daughter to the world of showbiz by entering her into a number of ‘Bonnie Baby’ competitions. And her decision proved to be a canny one. When she entered Cheryl for the ‘Boots The Chemist’s Bonniest Baby’ contest, her little cherub was easily named the winner. The result was the same when Cheryl took part in the ‘Mothercare’s Happy Faces’ contest and again when she was a contestant in the
s ‘Little Miss and Mister’ competition.
Joan’s belief that her daughter was special appeared not just to be feelings of maternal pride; judging committees all across Newcastle had agreed with her. And by naming her little one winner of their contests, the message was loud and clear – Cheryl Ann Tweedy was a girl to watch out for!
Of course, all this success meant that back at Casa Tweedy –
a narrow and rather modest three-storey council house in the run-down Heaton district – the family’s living-room cabinet was positively straining under the weight of Cheryl’s prize statuettes. And Cheryl’s continued streak of success meant that housewife Joan and her partner Garry knew that their daughter had a talent that had to be nurtured, even if it meant having to scrimp and save to ensure she was able to attend auditions.
‘There wasn’t a lot of money, but Mum and Dad always found enough for my audition outfits,’ Cheryl recalled about the early days of her career in the
‘My mum would take me to auditions. If I got a part, Dad would shout, “Get in there!” like a football fan but all Mum would say was, “Oh good.” She will always keep my feet on the ground.’
But it wasn’t long before Cheryl’s talent and cute looks enabled her to earn back some of the money her parents had invested in her. A friend of Joan’s suggested that perhaps Cheryl, who by then was just four years old, should join a modelling agency. Spurred on by her friend’s comments and the well-polished trophies that sparkled at home, Joan signed her daughter up to an agency run by Pat Morgan. And the union proved fruitful, as Joan recalls: ‘She did loads for the Pat Morgan Agency from the age of four, and went to shopping centres all over the place, strutting her stuff on the catwalks and stages.’ So, even at this young age, Cheryl was already on her way to stardom, albeit locally for now.
As Mike Whitehouse cleared his throat to announce the winner of the
s ‘Star of the Future’, Cheryl sized up her competition. Had any of the other children, such as Alexander Bensley or Ryan Silmon or Clare Allan or Claire Swinney, managed to outshine her that afternoon?
She certainly hoped not! She’d put on a good show, she knew that, and she’d flashed the judges her brightest smile. And she looked good, too. Cheryl’s mum had bought her the sassiest outfit their money could buy, and her hair had been twisted into two heart-meltingly cute pony tails. Surely she had the prize – £150 worth of Children’s World vouchers – in the bag.