Born in 1983, British singer Cheryl Cole studied dance, modeled and appeared in advertisements as a child. Her crowd-pleasing performances on Pop Stars: The Rivals won her membership to the pop group Girls Aloud and vaulted her into music stardom, virtually overnight. Cole has also enjoyed some success as a solo artist and appeared as a judge on The X Factor.
Born Cheryl Ann Tweedy in Newcastle upon Tyne, England on June 30, 1983, the future pop star never seemed to shy away from attention. Cole showed an early interest in dance and was enrolled at The Royal Ballet's summer school at 9 years of age. She also won several modeling competitions and appeared in advertisements, including a pair of nationally televised commercials for British Gas.
Cole's breakout moment, however, came in 2002 when, at age 19, she auditioned for the United Kingdom talent show Popstars: The Rivals. After weeks of competition, the show's audience selected her along with four other female contestants: Nadine Coyle, Sarah Harding, Nicola Roberts and Kimberley Walsh. Together, they would form the group Girls Aloud, and Cole would spend the next seven years accumulating 20 Top 10 singles, including four songs and two albums that topped the U.K. charts.
In 2009, Cole and her groupmates won a BRIT Award for best single, for their song, "The Promise." That same year, Girls Aloud announced that they would be taking a one-year hiatus. But after three years, the group had yet to reunite—the blame for which is widely attributed to Cheryl Cole's successful solo career.
Cole began her solo trajectory in June 2008, when she signed on to be a judge on Simon Cowell's TV talent show, The X Factor. She also released a single, "Fight for this Love," which quickly rose to No. 1 on the charts. In December 2009, 5 million viewers tuned in to watch Cole host a one-hour special, Cheryl Cole's Night In.
Cole had signed on for the American version of The X Factor in 2011, but she was dropped from the show early on. Cole was replaced by singer Nicole Scherzinger. While not famous in the United States, she still enjoys great popularity in her native England. Cole released her latest album A Million Lights, which featured the British hit "Call My Name," in 2012.
Not all of Cole's media attention has been positive. In 2003, the pop star was found guilty of punching a bathroom attendant at a nightclub. But subsequent charity work helped restore her image: She has raised money to fight malaria—a disease the singer contracted while vacationing in Tanzania. Cole also started a foundation focusing on at-risk youth in North East England.
Adding to Cole's fame, she wed football star Ashley Cole in 2006, but the couple divorced in 2012, following reports that her husband had been unfaithful.
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