Cheryl Fernandez-Versini

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Cheryl Fernandez-Versini
Cheryl Cole Cannes 2014.jpg
Fernandez-Versini at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival
Born Cheryl Ann Tweedy
(1983-06-30) 30 June 1983 (age 35)
Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear, England
Other names Cheryl Cole
  • Author
  • dancer
  • entrepreneur
  • model
  • singer
  • television personality
Years active 1990–present
Net worth £20,000,000[1]
  • Ashley Cole (m. 2006–10)
  • Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini (m. 2014)
Musical career
  • Dance
  • pop
  • R&B
Instruments Vocals
Associated acts

Cheryl Ann Fernandez-Versini[2] (née Tweedy, formerly Cole; born 30 June 1983) is an English singer, dancer, and television personality who is known by the mononym Cheryl[3] in the context of her recording promotions. She rose to fame in late 2002 when she auditioned for the reality television show Popstars: The Rivals on ITV. The programme announced that Fernandez-Versini had won a place as a member of the girl group Girls Aloud.[4] The group's line-up remained the same throughout their history and during that time the group achieved a string of twenty consecutive top ten singles in the United Kingdom (including four number one singles) and six platinum albums (two of which went to number one) and earned five Brit Award nominations from 2005 to 2010. At the 2009 Brit Awards, Girls Aloud won Best Single with their song "The Promise". In early 2013, the group announced that they had split up.

Fernandez-Versini embarked on a solo career and released her first solo studio album 3 Words (2009). The album became a commercial success and spawned three successful singles including the lead single from the album, "Fight for This Love," which debuted at number one on the UK charts, becoming the best selling single of the year. 2010 saw the release of Fernandez-Versini's second studio album Messy Little Raindrops, which produced two singles, the first being "Promise This" which also debuted at number one. Fernandez-Versini released her third solo album A Million Lights on 18 June 2012, with lead single "Call My Name" becoming her third number one single.[5] Only Human was released in 2014 and spawned three singles including "Crazy Stupid Love" and "I Don't Care". Both singles went to number one in the UK and made Fernandez-Versini the first British female to have five number ones in the UK.[6] The singer still holds the record, jointly with Jess Glynne.[7]

Fernandez-Versini has become a recognised and photographed style icon;[8][9][10] referred to as a fashionista by the press.[11] She has been photographed for the covers of British Vogue,[10] Elle and Harper's Bazaar, while becoming the new face of cosmetic company L'Oréal.[12] Fernandez-Versini was married to England footballer Ashley Cole from July 2006[13] until September 2010, when she divorced him following the announcement of their separation earlier that year.[14][15] Fernandez-Versini became a judge on the UK version of The X Factor in 2008,[16][17] becoming the winning judge twice out of the three series she judged. In 2011, Fernandez-Versini left the UK version of The X Factor to judge the American version. However, Fernandez-Versini left the show during the auditions stage, fuelling rumours that she had been sacked.[18][19][20] Fernandez-Versini's net worth was estimated at £20 million in October 2014.[1] On 10 March 2014, it was announced that Fernandez-Versini would return as a judge on the UK version of The X Factor for its eleventh series, signing a £1.5 million contract.[21][22]

Early life

Fernandez-Versini was born in Newcastle upon Tyne and grew up on council estates in the neighbouring districts of Walker[23] and Heaton. She is the fourth of five children of Joan Callaghan,[24] and the first of her two children with Garry Tweedy following the collapse of her marriage to the father of her three other children. Callaghan and Tweedy were together for more than a decade but never married each other; they separated when Fernandez-Versini was eleven years old.[25]

As a young child circa 1990, she appeared in a television advert for British Gas with her younger brother Garry.[26] Interested in dancing from an early age, she began sequence dancing at the age of four,[27] before joining The Royal Ballet's summer school at the age of nine.[28] She occasionally appeared doing dance recitals on different television shows in the UK, such as Gimme 5, in 1993.[29]

She won recognition in several 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 made appearances in British Gas adverts for a second time, an SCS furniture store advert, and an Eldon Square Christmas advert with younger brother Garry. She attended Walker Comprehensive School in Newcastle between September 1994 and July 1999, and left at 16 with few qualifications.[30]


2002–09: Girls Aloud

Girls Aloud performing at the Capital Radio Help a London Child fundraiser (2005).

Fernandez-Versini auditioned for the reality television show Popstars: The Rivals in 2002 with the song "Have You Ever".[31] 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. Fernandez-Versini 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.[4]

The group's debut single "Sound of the Underground" peaked at number one on the UK Singles Chart, becoming the 2002 Christmas number one.[32] Girls Aloud hold the record for the fastest time between formation of a band and reaching number one single.[33] The group released their debut album Sound of the Underground in May 2003,[34] which entered the charts at number two and was certified platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) later the same year. 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.[35] They also achieved seven certified albums and have been nominated for five Brit Awards, winning the 2009 Best Single for "The Promise".[36]

The group's musical style is pop, but throughout their career they had experimented with electropop and dance-pop. Girls Aloud's collaborations with Brian Higgins and his songwriting and production team Xenomania earned the group critical acclaim,[37] due to an innovative approach to mainstream pop music. The group became one of the few UK reality television acts to achieve continued success, amassing a fortune of £30 million by May 2010. Guinness World Records lists them as "Most Successful Reality TV Group" in the 2007 edition. They also hold the record for "Most Consecutive Top Ten Entries in the UK by a Female Group" in the 2008 edition, and are credited again for "Most Successful Reality TV Group" in the 2011 edition. The group was also named the United Kingdom's biggest selling girl group of the 21st century, with over 4.3 million singles sales and 4 million albums sold in the UK alone.[38][39]

2008–10: Television endeavours and solo debut 3 Words

With her brown hair tied back, a female wearing a glittery outfit is performing with a headset microphone.
Cheryl Fernandez-Versini during a live performance in 2008

In June 2008, it was announced Fernandez-Versini would replace Sharon Osbourne as a judge for the fifth series of The X Factor alongside Dannii Minogue, Simon Cowell and Louis Walsh. Speaking in 2014, Fernandez-Versini said that she was given five days to make a decision as to whether or not she wanted to be a judge, and discussed it with the rest of Girls Aloud, who agreed that it was something she should do, and said that "I had no idea I would be in people's living rooms".[40] Fernandez-Versini was given the girls category (made up of female contestants between 16 and 25) and subsequently ended up as the victorious judge when Alexandra Burke was crowned the fifth winner of The X Factor on 13 December 2008.[41] Fernandez-Versini returned for the sixth series in 2009 and was given the boys category (made up of male contestants aged 16 to 25).[42] Fernandez-Versini emerged as the winning judge for a second consecutive year after Joe McElderry was crowned the sixth winner of The X Factor.[43] Simon Cowell, creator of The X Factor, has referred to Fernandez-Versini as "one of the best I've ever worked with."[44]

Fernandez-Versini's first solo performance was on American rapper'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,[45] in which the members of the band achieve something they had always wanted to do, other than sing.[46] She was later asked, by, to sing additional vocals on the track.[47] In April 2009, Fernandez-Versini started working on solo material.[48]

Her debut album, 3 Words, was released in the UK on 26 October 2009.[49] 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.[50] In August 2010, bandmate Nicola Roberts revealed that she wasn't anticipating a reunion of the band until 2012, if then. 3 Words spent two weeks at number one.[51] On 6 November 2009, BPI certified the album Platinum, denoting shipments of over 300,000 units.[52] It later tripled this feat.[52]

The first single from the album, "Fight for This Love", was written by Andre Merritt, Steve Kipner and Wayne Wilkins, and produced by Steve Kipner and Wayne Wilkins. According to Fernandez-Versini, it was released as the lead single because she "connected with the song so well".[53] Following a performance on The X Factor live results show, "Fight for This Love" became the fourth best-selling single of 2009 in the UK.[54] It charted at number one on both the Irish and UK Singles Chart.[55] In 2010, "Fight For This Love" went to number one in Denmark, Norway and Hungary.[56] The single was later certified silver in the UK. Fernandez-Versini's second single "3 Words", which features, went to number 4 in the UK and seven in Ireland.[57] In 2010, the single was released in Australia and charted at number 5 and was certified platinum.[58] The third single, "Parachute", charted in the top five in both the UK and Ireland. The single was certified gold in the UK.[52]

Fernandez-Versini was given a one-off television programme for ITV1, Cheryl Cole's Night In, which aired on 19 December 2009.[59] The programme, hosted by Holly Willoughby, featured music and interviews with Fernandez-Versini and some of her favourite performers. Alexandra Burke, Rihanna, Will Young, Snow Patrol and made appearances.[60] Fernandez-Versini 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 Strictly Come Dancing received during the same time slot.[61]

2010–11: Messy Little Raindrops

In March 2010, Fernandez-Versini stated that she had begun working on her follow up album to 3 Words, which she hoped to release "later on in the year".[62] The album was largely produced by Wayne Wilkins.[63] The album features guest vocals from August Rigo, Dizzee Rascal, Travie McCoy, and[64] Fernandez-Versini started recording sessions for her second album in February 2010[65] though in an interview on Alan Carr: Chatty Man she admitted that some of the songs submitted for the record dated back to 3 Words (2009).[66] Fernandez-Versini's second solo album, titled Messy Little Raindrops, was released on 29 October 2010. The album debuted at number one in the UK, and at number two in Ireland. On 19 August 2011 the album was certified Platinum by BPI, with shipments in the UK in the excess of 300,000.[67] Messy Little Raindrops has received generally mixed reviews from music critics. A predominantly positive review came from Jon O'Brien of Allmusic who awarded it four out of five stars.[68]

The album's first single, "Promise This", was released on 24 October 2010 and became her second number-one hit in the UK.[69] "Promise This" is an up-tempo dance-pop song written by American songwriter Priscilla Hamilton, British music producer Wayne Wilkins, who was responsible for Fernandez-Versini's debut single "Fight for This Love", and Christopher Jackson.[70][71] "The Flood" was released as the album's second single and entered the charts after its official release at number 18. "Everyone", featuring Dizzee Rascal, was slated as the third single and was to be released on 21 March 2011, but was cancelled due to Fernandez-Versini's involvement on the US version of The X Factor and the underperformance of "The Flood".[72][73]

Fernandez-Versini alongside Simon Cowell on The X Factor

Fernandez-Versini returned for the seventh series of The X Factor in 2010 to mentor the girls category once again.[74] In this series, Fernandez-Versini faced intense scrutiny from the public and the media after she rejected popular contestant Gamu Nhengu to go through to the live shows in favour of Cher Lloyd and Katie Waissel, even though both had fluffed their performances at judges' houses. Fernandez-Versini also received more criticism after she refused to vote for an act in the fifth week, which resulted in claims that the show was fixed. This series would also mark the first that Fernandez-Versini was not the winning mentor, after a contestant in her category, Rebecca Ferguson, lost out to Matt Cardle, who was mentored by Dannii Minogue.

From May to July 2010, Fernandez-Versini was the opening act for The Black Eyed Peas at the British shows (as well as some European dates) of The E.N.D. World Tour.[75][76][77] Fernandez-Versini was interviewed during an episode of the fourth series of Piers Morgan's Life Stories, in which she discussed her marriage and divorce with Ashley Cole and her life-threatening battle with malaria. The show, which aired on 23 October 2010, drew an audience of 7.2 million: the highest figure in the chat show's history.[78]

On 5 May 2011, it was officially announced after months of speculation that Fernandez-Versini would appear as a judge alongside Simon Cowell, L.A. Reid, and Paula Abdul on the American version of The X Factor.[79] However, after only three weeks as a judge and completing the auditions in Los Angeles and Chicago, Fernandez-Versini departed the show.[19] Cowell said that the reason why Fernandez-Versini left was because he offered her the job in the UK version back and he felt that she would have been more comfortable there.[80] It was also later confirmed that she would not be returning to the UK version either, as Tulisa Contostavlos had taken her place on the UK judging panel.[81] Nicole Scherzinger replaced Fernandez-Versini on the judging panel of The X Factor USA for the rest of season 1.[82] A year later on The Graham Norton Show, Fernandez-Versini revealed that she had quit the US show and also snubbed the decision to return to the UK version of the show of her own accord.[83] In December 2012, Fernandez-Versini sued the American producers of The X Factor for $2.3 million (£1.4m). She received $1.8 million (£1.1m) for the first season, and then sued for $2 million (£1.25m) for the second season, plus additional damages.[84] In November 2013, Fernandez-Versini won for her settlement, for an undisclosed amount between her and producers Blue Orbit.[85]

2012–13: A Million Lights, Girls Aloud reunion and tours

Fernandez-Versini's third studio album, A Million Lights, was released on 18 June 2012.[86] Before the album release, A Million Lights had doubled the amount of pre-orders to her nearest competitor Justin Bieber with his album Believe on the Amazon UK store.[87] However, A Million Lights debuted at number 2 on the UK Albums Chart selling 34,934 copies in its first week on sale, with Bieber selling 3,181 more copies and beating her to the number 1 spot. The album became her first not to debut at number 1 in the UK and her first not to sell over 100,000 copies in its first week on sale.[88] Her debut album 3 Words sold 125,000 copies while its follow-up Messy Little Raindrops sold around 105,000 copies.[89] A Million Lights was certified Gold in the United Kingdom for shipments of 100,000 copies.[90]

The lead single "Call My Name", became Fernandez-Versini's third number one single on the UK Singles Chart, with the sales of 152,001 digital copies. The song became 2012's fastest selling number one single on the UK Singles Chart until December of the same year,[91] when The X Factor winner James Arthur sold 490,560 copies with his cover of Shontelle's "Impossible".[92] "Call My Name" sold a total of 417,000 copies in the UK, and was the 34th best-selling single of 2012 there.[93] "Under the Sun", the second single from the album, was released on 3 September 2012.[94][94][95] The song peaked at number 13, becoming Fernandez-Versini's seventh consecutive solo top-twenty single. "Screw You" featuring British rapper Wretch 32 has been confirmed as the album's third single,[96] but the release was cancelled indefinitely and no more singles were released from A Million Lights due to the reunion of Girls Aloud in November 2012.

To promote A Million Lights, Fernandez-Versini embarked on her first solo concert tour, A Million Lights Tour. On 12 June 2012, via her official website Fernandez-Versini announced the tour, which started on 3 October 2012 and ended on 17 October 2012.[97] The tour comprised 11 show dates, 2 in Ireland, 1 in Scotland and 8 in England. Fernandez-Versini also announced plans to do a set of meet and greets at each concert. The £350 offer included an autograph, chance to meet Fernandez-Versini and a photograph with Fernandez-Versini backstage. Proceeds would go towards her charity The Cheryl Cole Foundation. The meet and greet ticket drew negative criticism from fans.[98]

On 4 June 2012, Fernandez-Versini performed a duet with Gary Barlow at the Diamond Jubilee concert organised and created by Barlow himself and watched by millions worldwide.[99][100] On 8 August 2012 it was revealed that Fernandez-Versini would return to The X Factor as a guest mentor to help judge Gary Barlow pick his finalist for the finals of the competition. In November 2012, Fernandez-Versini was handed her own documentary entitled Cheryl: Access All Areas, the show attracted 811,000 viewers on ITV2 and 177,000 watched on +1.[101]

After months of speculation, Fernandez-Versini confirmed that Girls Aloud's reunion would occur in November 2012.[102] Girls Aloud reunited for the group's 10th anniversary and on 18 November 2012, they released their new single, "Something New" which was the official charity single for Children in Need. The single peaked at number-two on the UK Singles Chart.[103] The group released their second greatest hits compilation, Ten on 26 November 2012. The second single taken from Ten, "Beautiful Cause You Love Me" was released on 17 December 2012.[104] A documentary entitled Girls Aloud: Ten Years at the Top aired on ITV1 on 15 December 2012[105][106] attracted 2.3 million viewers, a 10.5% share of the audience.[107] In 2013, the group embarked on Ten: The Hits Tour.[108] In March 2013, following the completion of the Ten: The Hits Tour, Girls Aloud released a statement via their official Twitter confirming that they were splitting permanently.[109][110]

2014–present: Only Human and The X Factor return

On 10 March 2014, it was announced that Fernandez-Versini would return as a judge on the UK version of The X Factor for its eleventh series, signing a £1.5 million contract.[21][22] She was once again joined by Cowell and Louis Walsh on the judging panel, as well as new judge Mel B. Fernandez-Versini was selected to mentor the girls category, and she chose Chloe Jasmine, Stephanie Nala, Lauren Platt and Lola Saunders for the live shows. After Nala and Jasmine were eliminated in week 2 and Saunders in week 4, Fernandez-Versini mentored Platt to be a semi-finalist in the series.

On 8 May, it was confirmed that Fernandez-Versini had been added to the line-up for Capital FM's Summertime Ball at Wembley Stadium on 21 June.[111] On 27 May, Fernandez-Versini announced in an interview with Hello! Magazine that her fourth studio album would be released in November, preceded by lead single "Crazy Stupid Love".[112][113] On 29 May 2014, it was confirmed that Fernandez-Versini would debut the single, which features Tinie Tempah on 2 June on BBC Radio 1, Capital FM and KISS FM, with the video premiering the following Monday, 9 June.[114] On 27 July 2014, the single entered the UK Singles Chart at number one, selling 118,000 copies. It became Fernandez-Versini's fourth number one single on the chart, tying her with Geri Halliwell and Rita Ora as the third British female to achieve four number ones as a solo artist.[115] The song also peaked at number one in the Republic of Ireland on the Irish Singles Chart.

During an interview on The Graham Norton Show in July 2014, Fernandez-Versini revealed that her fourth studio album would be entitled Only Human.[116] On 28 August 2014, Fernandez-Versini confirmed the second official single from Only Human as "I Don't Care". She described the song as "very fun pop".[117] "I Don't Care" was released on 2 November 2014 and debuted at number one on the UK Singles Chart, becoming Fernandez-Versini's fifth number one in the country. This achievement made Fernandez-Versini the first British female to have five solo number one singles in the UK.[6] Jess Glynne tied the record in August 2015.[7] Only Human was released on 10 November 2014 and became Cheryl's fourth solo album to debut within the top 10 in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. Its title track was announced as the third single to be released from the album. The official music video made its premiere on Vevo on 4 February, with an official digital release on 22 March 2015.[118] The song peaked at number 70 on the UK Singles Chart, becoming Fernandez-Versini's lowest charting single in the UK to date.

In June 2015, it was announced that Fernandez-Versini would return to The X Factor for its twelfth series; she was joined by Cowell, and new judges Rita Ora and Nick Grimshaw.[119] In August 2015, it was announced that Fernandez-Versini would also serve as executive producer to The X Factor. She was selected to mentor the "Groups" category for the first time and chose 4th Impact, Alien Uncovered and Reggie 'n' Bollie for the live shows. After losing Alien Uncovered in week 1, she guided 4th Impact to the quarter-finals and Reggie 'n' Bollie to the runners-up position in the final, losing against winner Louisa Johnson.

She later confirmed she was back in the studio working on her fifth studio album, due for release in 2016.[120]


Fernandez-Versini has a mezzo-soprano range.[121] Fernandez-Versini spoke about her vocal ability saying "I am very aware of my ability, I know I'm no Mariah Carey but I think the emotion in the song is what matters."[122] 3 Words was influenced by Fernandez-Versini's appreciation for dance music and has given the album and its singles a distinctively different sound to Girls Aloud. It crosses from contemporary R&B, dance pop, house and a more general pop sound. Messy Little Raindrops uses a more dance pop sound than Fernandez-Versini's previous album. A Million Lights, Fernandez-Versini's third studio album also incorporates R&B and dance.[123] Fernandez-Versini incorporated Dubstep into A Million Lights, MTV citing "Girl in the Mirror" as an example.[124]

"If you think my live vocal sounds so good it must be mimed, I'm happy, I take it as a compliment"

– Fernandez-Versini, speaking on the accusations of her miming[125]

It has been widely reported that Fernandez-Versini lip-syncs during live performances. Whilst performing "Fight for this Love" in 2009 on The X Factor, media speculated that the performance was mimed, something that Fernandez-Versini denied though she admitted to having some pre-recorded vocals to help the live performance.[126] In 2010 during Fernandez-Versini's second performance on The X Factor, in which she performed "Promise This", she "showcased her vocal and dancing skills with an energetic, raunchy routine that earned a standing ovation from her fellow judges."[127] Similar to her 2009 performance of "Fight for This Love" on The X Factor, the media speculated whether Fernandez-Versini lip synced or not. An ITV spokesperson insisted that Fernandez-Versini did not mime, although the performance was pre-recorded.[128]

On 26 May 2012, it was reported that Fernandez-Versini would perform "Call My Name" with live vocals on The Voice UK, following allegedly pre-recorded performances that occurred the previous year on The X Factor UK. It was also reported that The Voice executives always edit the vocals for every artist on the show, and they would "provide some finishing touches to her singing prior to it being broadcast." As the performance began, Fernandez-Versini swan-dived onto her backing dancers before they performed a highly ellaborated routine. Following the broadcast, Fernandez-Versini received mixed comments from viewers, with a few accusing the singer of lip synching, while others, including pop artists Emma Bunton and, praised the performance. In an interview with BBC News, Fernandez-Versini addressed the negative comments, and said that "if you think my live vocal sounds so good it must be mimed, I'm happy, I take it as a compliment."[129] She performed the track again on The Graham Norton Show on 8 June 2012, and was also accused of lip synching.[130]

Fernandez-Versini has named Britney Spears and Beyoncé as a few of her inspirations, performance and fashion wise.[131][132][133] Fernandez-Versini spoke on the reason Beyoncé was a big influence on her saying "I love Beyonce, I just think she is such a beautiful person inside and out, apart from what she does on the stage which is obviously incredible and aspiration. I just like her as a woman shes empowering."[134] Fernandez-Versini has cited Lisa "Left Eye"' Lopes, a former member of American band TLC, as a big influence saying "I wanted to be Lisa 'Left Eye' Lopes from TLC – I used to wear baggy jeans and Timberlands like a tomboy."[135] Fernandez-Versini cites Rihanna as an influence, describing her as "a perfect pop star."[136] Fernandez-Versini also cites American singer Mary J. Blige as an influence. "Mary's voice sounds so grown up and you can hear that she has experienced a lot in her life, her songs help me with every heartache."[137] Fernandez-Versini has influenced other artists, including Selena Gomez. In October 2010, Gomez revealed that Fernandez-Versini was an influential person for her saying "She's a big influence on me ... I picked up her CD and they gave me Girls Aloud things and a DVD of her, and her music got me through my whole movie [that I was filming]. She made me feel better, I just love her music and I think she's a really nice person. She's been through a lot, but she carries herself with a lot of class and I love that."[138]

Public image

Fernandez-Versini has become a recognised and photographed style icon;[8][9][10] referred to as a fashionista by the press.[11] Fashion magazine British Vogue praised Fernandez-Versini's style saying "Her wardrobe choices have become as successful as her singles – while filming for X Factor, she had fashion fans watching her every sartorial move and was snapped wearing a string of fashion-forward outfits from Givenchy and Preen, to McQueen and Missoni."[139] In both 2009 and 2010 Fernandez-Versini was named the best dressed woman by Glamour Magazine. Fernandez-Versini kept her top spot in 2010 above fashion model Kate Moss and Victoria Beckham, Fernandez-Versini beat R&B singer Rihanna, who came second and actress Blake Lively who came third. The result for the magazine were compiled from around 14,000 votes from the magazine's readers.[140] She has been photographed for the covers of British Vogue,[10] Elle and Harper's Bazaar. In 2009, Fernandez-Versini became the new face of cosmetic company L'Oréal.[12]

Fernandez-Versini has topped FHM 100 Sexiest Women in the World twice: once in 2009 and the second time in 2010. Fernandez-Versini has won a list of awards due to her style and image including Glamour Women of the Year Awards for TV Personality and Best dressed[141] and Style Network Award for Best Dressed Woman and Style icon of the decade[142] In February 2009, Fernandez-Versini appeared on the cover of British Vogue. The media coverage of her appearance in the magazine boosted the magazine's circulation to 240,000: its best ever February figure.[143] She appeared on the November 2009 cover of the UK's Elle magazine. In October 2010, a wax statue of Fernandez-Versini was added to the gallery of Madame Tussauds London at a cost of approximately £150,000.[144]

Many celebrities have spoken about Fernandez-Versini's fashion style and looks. Actress Megan Fox spoke about Fernandez-Versini saying "I don't know that many British girls, but what's her surname? Cheryl? Cheryl Cole, yeah she's hot, and I love her tattoos".[145] Socialite Paris Hilton complimented Fernandez-Versini saying "I love the way Cheryl dresses, and she's so sweet. We hung out a bit at the Grammys and I just find her beautiful and down to earth." Actress Teri Hatcher called Fernandez-Versini a role model saying "Cheryl is a great role model and exactly the sort of woman we would love to have a role on Desperate Housewives. I hear she is an absolute darling."[145] Rihanna spoke on her admiration for Cheryl saying, "Like, how do you have a face like that, with hair like that and dimples, and a body like that, that's proportioned like that. And you have a successful career, something about that is not right".[145] Fernandez-Versini was referenced in Lily Allen's "Cheryl Tweedy", a B-side to her 2006 debut single "Smile". Fernandez-Versini says took the song as a compliment, although Allen later pointed out that it had been tongue-in-cheek.[146] Allen later retracted her comments.[147]

Personal life

On 11 January 2003, Fernandez-Versini was involved in an altercation with a nightclub toilet attendant (named Sophie Amogbokpa) and subsequently charged with assault and racially aggravated assault over the incident.[148][149] At her trial on 20 October she was found guilty of assault occasioning actual bodily harm but cleared of the racially aggravated assault charge,[150] and sentenced to 120 hours of community service. She was ordered to pay her victim £500 in compensation, as well as £3,000 prosecution costs. Judge Richard Howard said: "This was an unpleasant piece of drunken violence which caused Sophie Amogbokpa pain and suffering." [150]

On 3 July 2010, Fernandez-Versini was admitted to the hospital with suspected acute malaria after a visit to Tanzania.[151] During an X Factor photoshoot in Cardiff, Fernandez-Versini said that she noticed that her lips were blue.[152][153]

Fernandez-Versini began dating England and Chelsea footballer Ashley Cole in September 2004, announcing their engagement after he proposed in Dubai in June 2005.[154] The couple were married at a ceremony at Barnet, north west London on 15 July 2006.[155] They signed an exclusive deal with OK!, reportedly worth £1 million, regarding the rights of the photographs.[156] On 23 February 2010, Fernandez-Versini announced she was separating from her husband.[13][14] On 26 May, Fernandez-Versini filed for divorce at London's High Court citing "unreasonable behaviour" of estranged husband Ashley as the reason for their break-up.[15] She was granted a decree nisi on 3 September 2010.[157] In October of that year, Fernandez-Versini stated in an interview with The Guardian that she would continue to use her married name, as changing it back would make her seem "ashamed" of her marriage.[158] However, starting from her single "Call My Name", she began using the mononym Cheryl for her music releases, although the Cole surname was used once more for the single "Crazy Stupid Love".

On 7 July 2014, Fernandez-Versini married Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini after a three-month courtship.[159][160][161] Following the marriage, she opted to use her new married name for The X Factor while continuing to use the mononym Cheryl for her music releases.

Other ventures

As a member of Girls Aloud, Fernandez-Versini teamed with Eylure to release five sets of false eyelashes, each set designed by a different member of the group. A range of festival-themed lashes followed in 2010, while limited edition "10th Anniversary" lash was released in 2012.[162][163] Similarly, to celebrate their tenth anniversary, each member designed a charm bracelet for Pandora, available as either a complete bracelet or a "starter" bracelet.[164]

Fernandez-Versini's first official book, entitled Through My Eyes, was published on 30 September 2010 by Bantam Press.[165][166] Through My Eyes purports to show Fernandez-Versini in the recording studio, backstage on tour, behind-the-scenes at The X Factor, at photo shoots and at award ceremonies. She said the book is "filled with pictures that capture those moments, [her] memories and the people [she's] closest to".[167] Fernandez-Versini is the subject of several unauthorised biographies,[168][169][170] as well as books detailing her relationship with and divorce from Ashley Cole.[171][172][173] Fernandez-Versini's autobiography, Cheryl: My Story, was published on 11 October 2012.[174] The book's content was about her relationships with Simon Cowell and her ex-husband Ashley Cole.[175][176] The autobiography has sold 275,000 copies as of February 2013, generating £2.5 million in sales. On 7 May, Fernandez-Versini announced her debut fragrance, StormFlower via photo sharing social media site Instagram. She posted pictures of a photo shoot for the perfume.[177][178]


As a member of Girls Aloud, Fernandez-Versini has contributed to charities. As a group they recorded a cover of The Pretenders' "I'll Stand by You". It was released as the official 2004 Children in Need single, with proceeds going to the charity.[179][179] Their cover Aerosmith and Run DMC's "Walk This Way", a collaboration with the Sugababes, was the official charity single for Comic Relief in 2007, recorded at Comic Relief co-founder and trustee Richard Curtis' request.[180][180][181] Girls Aloud celebrated their 10 years as a group by releasing another Children in Need single, "Something New", which they performed on the Children in Need TV special on 16 November 2012.[182]

In March 2009, Fernandez-Versini climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in aid of Comic Relief.[183] The climb, organised by Gary Barlow, was also undertaken by fellow Girls Aloud member Kimberley Walsh, as well as Alesha Dixon, Fearne Cotton, Denise Van Outen, Chris Moyles, Ben Shephard, Ronan Keating and Barlow himself. Between 3 February and 23 March 2009, Fernandez-Versini, Walsh, Barlow, Moyles and Cotton also raised money for Comic Relief by providing the voice for the BT Speaking Clock.[183] All nine celebrities reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro on Saturday, 7 March 2009.[184] Fernandez-Versini, along with Fearne Cotton, Denise Van Outen and Ben Shephard, reached the summit first at sunrise. The trek raised £3.5 million for the charity. In February 2011, Fernandez-Versini launched her own charitable foundation with The Prince's Trust following a meeting with The Trust's President, HRH Charles, Prince of Wales. The Cheryl Cole Foundation is meant to provide vital funds for The Trust in the North East, which was set up to help disadvantaged young people from Fernandez-Versini's region.[185] On 13 June 2011, she auctioned 20 dresses with ASOS to raise funds for the foundation.[186]

On 23 January 2015, Fernandez-Versini announced the launch of a second charity, once again alongside The Prince's Trust. The charity was named Cheryl's Trust, and was set up with the aim of raising £2 million to build a centre, which will support up to 4000 disadvantaged young people in her native city of Newcastle.[187] In order to raise these funds, Fernandez-Versini has thus far teamed up with Prizeo in March 2015, setting up a styling session competition,[188] and also launched a limited edition Belgian Chocolate Bar with Greggs in August 2015; 5p proceeds from each sale being donated towards the trust.[189]


Selected filmography



Awards and nominations

Year Award-giving body Award Result
2007 Nickelodeon UK Kids' Choice Awards Best Female Singer[190] Nominated
Virgin Media Awards Most Fanciable Female[191] Won
2008 Hottest Female Nominated
Heat Magazine Awards Sexiest Female Won
Best Reality TV Judge Won
2009 Glamour Women of the Year Awards TV Personality[141] Won
FHM 100 Sexiest Women in the World No. 1 Sexiest Woman in the World[192] Won
Style Network Awards Best Dressed Woman[142] Won
Style Icon of the Decade Won
BBC Switch Live Awards Switch's Prom Queen[193] Won
Virgin Media Awards Hottest Female[194] Won
Legend of the Year Nominated
Glamour Woman of the Year Awards Best Dressed[195] Won
2010 2010 BRIT Awards British Single ("Fight for This Love")[196] Nominated
Glamour Women of the Year Awards Best Dressed[197] Won
Woman of the Year Won
FHM 100 Sexiest Women in the World No. 1 Sexiest Woman in the World[198] Won
BT Digital Music Awards Best Female Artist[199] Won
Best Single ("Fight for This Love")[199] Won
Best Video ("Fight for This Love")[199] Nominated
2011 2011 BRIT Awards British Single ("Parachute")[200] Nominated
Best British Female[200] Nominated
Elle Style Awards Musician of the Year[201] Won
TRL Awards (Italy) Best New Act[202] Nominated
Cosmopolitan Awards Best Dressed Woman Won
BT Digital Music Awards Best Female Artist[203] Nominated
2012 Virgin Media TV Awards Best Judge Won
BBC Radio 1's Teen Awards Best British Single[204] Nominated
Best British Album[205] Nominated
Best British Music Act[206] Nominated
Female Hottie[207] Nominated
2013 Nickelodeon UK Kids' Choice Awards Favourite UK Female Artist Nominated
2014 FHM 100 Sexiest Women in the World Hall of Fame[208] Won
MTV Europe Music Awards Best UK & Ireland Act Nominated
BBC Radio 1's Teen Awards Best British Solo Act[209] Nominated
Best British Single ("Crazy Stupid Love")[210] Nominated

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