Cheryl Cole – fashion icon, a princess of pop, judge on the X Factor, one of a handful of celebrity females who has actually kicked her cheating footballer husband into touch and divorced him for his philandering ways; whatever your opinion of the Geordie lass, the fact is she sells newspapers.
She’s come along way since she burst onto the scene in 2002 TV programme Popstar the Rivals, where she was the first contestant to win a part in newest girl band, Girls Aloud.
Punching the air and shouting ‘get in there’, her demeanour was un-lady like and more attuned to seeing Newcastle United score a goal.
But who’d have thought that after the bust-up with a club toilet attendant, which saw Cheryl’s reputation that she had built up steadily for three years, going down the pan faster than a Girls Aloud chart position, she’d win the heart of a footballer and the nation.
After ditching the corn row hair do – seriously, it’s not a good look and L’Oreal would never have made her a brand ambassador if she didn’t have a glossy mane – she sold her wedding pictures to OK magazine for £1m which meant Cheryl was well on her way to media stardom.
Filling up column inches quicker than you could download Girls Aloud’s latest single, Mrs C caught the eye of multi-millionaire media mogul Simon Cowell, who offered her the opportunity to replace Sharon Osborne on Saturday night telly favourite, the X Factor.
The girl who grew up on a council estate in South Shields was an instant hit. Her debut performance saw her mentor 2008 finalist Alexandra Burke to victory and last year she did the same for Joe McElderry.
Her career was going from strength to strength. Men wanted to date her and women wanted to be like her.
But her bubble of happiness burst. At the start of this year, hubby had been up to naughty shenanigans – again. After forgiving him the first time, feisty Cheryl refused to fight for this love any more and filed for divorce.
It was a media storm and Cheryl’s reputation was boosted once more as the nation, and press, rallied round. And to get over her heartache, “is he or isn’t he?” close friend Derek Hough whisked the popstrel to Africa to get over her pain. However, after contracting malaria, Cheryl was in the papers once more.
No one knew the severity of the disease at the time and there was speculation that the claims that she was seriously ill were being overhyped. As well as her life, Cheryl’s reputation was in danger as the public pondered what to believe. But , at the weekend on former Daily-Mirror-editor-turned-celebrity Pier Morgan’s Life Stories TV programme, she revealed that she was so ill that she’d thought she was dying and that it had been touch and go. Whilst clutching a hanky so the mascara wouldn’t ruin her perfectly made-up face, boxes of Kleenex were being torn open across the nation as Cheryl said her only thought was that if she was to die, she ‘hoped it would be quick’.
She was frank and honest and, as a result, even the most cynical observer couldn’t have failed to be moved. Pier’s interview helped restore our faith in the most successful member of Girls Aloud. More importantly, her reputation has been given a boost because we have been reminded that she is just like us mere mortals – despite the wealth and glamour, she could still be our sister, best friend or girlfriend. She may be flawed, but amongst other celebs, she actually seems ‘normal’.
In what’s been a bad year for our Cheryl, the one thing that hasn’t let her down is her reputation.
Natalie Davidson is an account manager at Indigo, she has been involved in a broad spectrum of client accounts and her expertise lies across consumer, legal, financial and property PR.