one_look11 (one_look11) wrote in ohnotheydidnt,

In-Depth Cheryl Cole Sunday Times Interview

This is a!

(Don't be jealous of her letterhead)

Cheryl Cole: X Factor, marriage and going solo
Meet the Girls Aloud star - scrutinised for her Wag lifestyle, naked ambition and troubled family past - as she releases CD

Cheryl Cole and I step out of the glittering, gleaming, lily-smelling lobby of the London hotel, Los Angeles, into a bank of crazy flashlights. The paparazzi know she is in there. She puts on an expression I have come to know. Her mouth smiles, her eyes widen. Inside she hates it. But that doesn’t mean to say she’s not grateful.

We step into the people-carrier with blacked-out windows that will take her to the studio where she is working with, the R&B artist, Black Eyed Pea and producer. We enter via a back gate, we slip down a steep gulley, hidden from an army of more photographers. They start to rework a track they wrote together the day before for Cole’s solo album, Three Words. Her voice sounds strong, full of heartache, euphoria, determination, sadness, grit. This album is the end of an astonishing journey that has moved her from band member of Girls Aloud to Wag to compulsive viewing on the TV talent show The X Factor to national treasure and solo artist. She’s left a lot behind.

Today her hair is chestnut brown. This is important: when it changes to redcurrant, it makes front pages. She is wearing flared maroon velvety jeans, a frilled tight camisole, and a pink cardigan. Later on, I would see pictures of her in this ensemble taken on that day in many tabloid magazines; in one of them, my arm. Cole is open, direct, kind. She doesn’t hide what she’s feeling, and that’s one of the reasons she is beloved and in the headlines. Girls have crushes on her, boys vote her the world’s sexiest woman. Everyone’s mother wishes she was their daughter.

Cole, 26, grew up on a council estate in Heaton, Newcastle. She loves to go back there and breathe in the smell of that place. Heaton is not the poorest, craziest, most drug-addled area of Newcastle, but there is nothing there that smells of luxury. Her older brother, Andrew, 29, has appeared in court more than 50 times, mostly on charges of theft and vandalism. He is a glue-sniffer and an alcoholic. Her sister, Gillian, who is four years older, has also been cautioned, for brawling. She also has a younger brother, Garry, 22, and an older brother, Joe, 33. Cole seems separate as well as close to them. She was always ambitious, loved to sing, loved to dance, appeared in modelling competitions as soon as she could crawl — she won a “Bonnie Baby” competition held by Boots — and was a child star of several TV adverts, including two for British Gas. By the age of nine she had been sponsored by the Daily Star, running a charitable campaign, to go to summer school at the Royal Ballet.

When Cole won her place in Girls Aloud on ITV’s Popstars: the Rivals in 2002 aged 19 she knew it might be her one chance to make her life very different from those of the people she had grown up with. She lost one of her friends, John Courtney, to heroin; devil’s dust she calls it. He was a young footballer, trying out for Newcastle United. His life could have been brilliant and glamorous. It could have been the dream, but it wasn’t.

Cole knows that if things had played just a tiny bit differently, her dream could have been a bitter cocktail of disappointment and frustration. Instead, she rose above it. She turned her pain into compassion, but when she cries, as she does often on The X Factor, she appears to feel people’s pain, and we can feel hers: that’s the connection. That’s why an artist painted the Angel of the North with her face on it. She looked almost Diana-like. And at the same time, her style has mutated so much she is now revered as a fashionista. Her Vogue cover, in February this year, was a bestselling issue. Quite a trick for someone who also graces the covers of tabloids and celebrity magazines.

In the studio Cole shows me pictures on her phone of her chihuahuas — and her big toe. Revolting. The nail broke off while she was climbing Mount Kilimanjaro for Comic Relief in March. She says that climbing that mountain was horrible. Horrible scary, or horrible good? Her: “No, just horrible. Except when there was a lack of oxygen, you started to giggle about nothing.

I did it because Kimberley [Walsh, her husky-voiced Girls Aloud bandmate] wanted to do it.” plays her song Heaven. It’s rich and clubby, lusciously funky and unmistakably has her warmth.

Back in the hotel we have lunch — salads and coconut ice cream. I had read that there was going to be an American X Factor and she was going to host it. “There’s been no talk of that.”

So the story about her voice on American TV coming with subtitles is also made up? “Yes. There was also a story about Simon giving me elocution lessons. Can you imagine Newcastle if I started coming out talking like the Queen?”

Newcastle would disown her, and that would be terrible. On the whole, she doesn’t Google herself. “I couldn’t think of anything worse. It would be enough to drive you insane because it’s not always nice, is it? Stuff is just made up. It’s not nice to be criticised by another human being, it’s not nice to read it. I used to read it, and I thought if I was reading this about someone else I wouldn’t like that person, so it was very frustrating.” Interesting: the rest of the nation has made the leap in its perception of her — from rowdy Geordie girl to national treasure — but Cole herself hasn’t. It wouldn’t be Cheryl Cole if she was smug. She believes in herself and doubts herself in equal parts. She doesn’t read the good things in case they’ll go away, but she has read plenty of the bad things.

“It was all pretty much negative and soul-destroying. It was as if I was reading it about a stranger, so I just stopped.”

The girl I read about years ago is not the sensitive, empathic woman in front of me. Not even a close relation. She has found the tabloid vitriol difficult to endure. Not just because it was insulting and judgmental, but because it made her question her perception of reality and therefore her own sanity. She might have left school at 16, but she’s a girl who thinks a lot.

Many of us can remember when Cheryl Cole, then Tweedy, was defined by a snidey Lily Allen song in 2006: “I wish my life was a little less seedy/Why am I always so greedy?/Wish I looked just like Cheryl Tweedy.” And many more recall the 2003 incident in the ladies’ powder room of a nightclub where Cole got into a fight with an attendant, a black law student, and allegedly made racist remarks. She was tried, found guilty of actual bodily harm, and sentenced to 120 hours of community service and a £500 fine — but the jury ruled that the assault had not been racially motivated. She is the least likely racist, yet she felt judged. Her brother and his various misdemeanours suddenly became tabloid fodder. She feared she was going to be thrown out of the band, but the other girls stood by her; they became this incredibly tight-knit unit, going on to become Britain’s bestselling girl band. In those days, though, she could do no right.

When she married the England and Chelsea player Ashley Cole in July 2006, in white satin and a horsedrawn carriage, they were called the bad-taste Beckhams. Her Wag fashion style was criticised. She didn’t become the beloved creature she is today until there was a possibility that she wasn’t loved by Ashley.

In January 2008 a tabloid ran a story about a hairdresser called Aimee Walton alleging she had had sex with Ashley Cole. It discussed sex, vomit and his drunkenness. Then another girl surfaced, the Scottish model Brooke Healy. Cheryl’s ring came off. Once it was established that Cheryl was really a victim, people stopped victimising her. It took something bad to happen before she was seen as a human being. “Isn’t that terrible?” she says, incredulous, still smarting from all of it.

Cheryl-baiting was beginning to turn into sympathy when Sharon Osbourne quit The X Factor in June 2008 and Cole was commanded into her shadow — bringing to the small screen her own past as a reality-show contestant and a smile that tried to hide a heavy heart. She was mesmerising: empathic but feisty, unafraid to stand up for herself, unafraid to shrink Simon Cowell’s ego. Every time she put him in his place on screen we wanted her to be doing that to Ashley. Suddenly the world that was against her was behind her. After a few months she took Ashley back, and the balance of power in the relationship seemed to change. Her mother, Joan, now lives much of her time at the Coles’ home in Surrey. Her daughter is still in need of that emotional support.

She refers to the time she was not popular as “psychological bullying. To be constantly put down because you are in the public eye is a form of bullying. Regardless that I am in the limelight, I still have feelings. So I cut everything out, I don’t read any of it. It’s like a protection thing, ignorance is bliss”. A theme we will return to.

“Sharon’s shadow was really hard to fill, and at the time my only impression of judging was of being judged, so being given that name was scary. I felt uncomfortable. Then I started to realise that I could actually benefit these people because I know how they feel. I can help them.”

Last year Alexandra Burke, who she mentored — Cole was in charge of the “Girls” category for singers aged 14-24 — went on to win. “This year I think I’ll be less [emotionally] involved. This year I’ve got the boys and there was something about them being girls, young girls — I felt responsibility for them.”

It doesn’t come easily to her to have to disappoint people as a judge. Nor is it easy for her to switch roles and be the pop star again. Last year when Girls Aloud played their single The Promise on the show, she had to step out from behind the judges’ desk and go on stage with the band. She hated it: “It was the most terrifying moment of my career. For a start we couldn’t walk in those dresses, and we were dancing!”

Is it weird to be a fellow judge with Louis Walsh, who was at one time the mentor and manager of Girls Aloud? “Louis is not really the same person. I understand now how he felt back then — he’d never done much on camera before and he was thrown in at the deep end. We had a bit of a ding-dong when he was supposed to manage us. I would say that I only got to know Louis working on this show. He didn’t really know how to manage a girl band — we had to fend for ourselves. But it was good for us. It was tough, but I now look on it as a good thing.”

The dynamics of her band are changing. Both she and Nadine Coyle are putting out solo works before another Girls Aloud album. Sarah Harding is acting in the new St Trinian’s movie. Nicola Roberts has a new make-up range, and Kimberley Walsh is also pursuing acting. “It’s exciting and scary doing my own stuff,” says Cole. “Growing up I always wanted to perform, but I always wanted to be in a band because it’s a form of protection being in a little gang.”

The Cole rocket is on the up. Her girl won The X Factor. From what I’ve already heard, her solo album is great. The new series of X Factor has begun and everyone’s excited. She shakes her head, closer to despair. “Yes, when is the rug going to be pulled from underneath us?”

I wonder if that pessimism is a Newcastle thing. “Maybe it is.” She likes it that I’m from Newcastle too. There’s an instant bond. Geordies handle disappointment better than success. It’s in the DNA. We talk about Alan Shearer’s ill-fated attempt to save Newcastle United. “When you watched him trying to manage their last few games, it was like his heart was breaking.”

Cole always picks up on heartbreak. And whatever pain came from her Newcastle homeland, she found it difficult to leave. “For me there’s always that feeling, that smell in the air. When I started in the band I was so homesick. London was such a different mentality. People didn’t get my humour. I would go home for an afternoon if I had half a day off. I suppose I was craving normality because everything happened so quickly and I just had to be home for those few hours. But when I got married I felt I had a whole different family and a life in London.”

She is still very close to all of her family, although her brother Andrew seems to have caused her a lot of pain. “I haven’t actually spoken to him for a while, but he’s got a baby and I’m hoping that will be his turning point. But he has been like that my whole life.” Do you mean an addict to alcohol and substances? “Yes, from when I was seven or eight. He is only three years older but he looks much older. It’s all the abuse he’s done to himself over the years.”

She has lived through people close to her being addicts and alcoholics. Incredibly, there was never a time when she was going to turn towards that. “I am not a big drinker. I am starting to learn a lot about myself. Drinking is scary to me now. I’m scared of losing control of how I feel or what I’m thinking. I’ll have the odd glass of wine to relax, but I’m not a mad-night-out person. I don’t like it. My granddad was an alcoholic as well. I would always see him staggering home from the pub, absolutely p!ssed on Strongbow.” The way many granddads in Newcastle did.

“It affected his kidneys and his mind,” she continues. “He was losing his mind towards the end, all through alcohol. It’s so easy for a lot of people to knock the drink back but I am determined not to let myself go down that road.

"The rest of my family have got normal lives, although they are struggling a bit with the recession, so I am trying to help them out. I love my parents to bits. I don’t know what I’d do without them. I am like both of them, oddly enough, but they both say I am not like either of them. My mother is a really sensitive person and really caring and my dad has a lovely nature. My dad met my mum when he was 17 and she was 21 and she already had three kids. Amazing that he took that on. My mother says she was running away from her childhood, that’s why she had her family young. She stays with me a lot. I love having her there. My dad is fascinated by the whole thing and really proud. Sometimes he gets watery eyes just from talking about it and says, ‘I could burst with pride.’ I can only imagine how that feels, being proud of a child.”

Are you planning on having children? “Yes, preferably sooner rather than later,” she says emphatically, so much so that I begin to wonder — she’d been complaining about feeling sick earlier and I ask her is that because you’re pregnant now? “No, chance would be a fine thing. I haven’t been home.” It wouldn’t be very good timing right now, would it, I say, feeling that I need to console. “It would never be perfect timing, so I am not trying, I am preventing. Having a baby is important to me because I am from a big family. I have friends who put it off and I don’t want to do that. I feel like all this that I do is just make-believe and at the end of the make-believe I will always have my family. So if I am blessed, touch wood and all that, I would love a big family. But nobody knows, do they, nobody knows.” She says it taking in the full enormity of what a baby would really mean.

Cole has a face you can read. She is open, connected, but when it comes to discussing her husband she seems conflicted. Partly, I suspect, because she’s private, guarded about those thoughts and emotions, and still fearful of being judged. Also, Ashley Cole is involved in legal action with The Sun over claims that his privacy was invaded by the kiss-and-tells of Aimee Walton and Brooke Healy.

She admits that she finds it difficult to trust, and I wonder how that works in a personal relationship. “It doesn’t really,” she says, and she laughs a full, ironic laugh. “I am very mistrusting. But at the same time I am not going to allow the few people who have misplaced my trust to make me mistrust the good people. It’s a constant battle. My mind is a battlefield. Maybe there’s a song in there.”

How does she relax? “I like spending time with my dogs. I’ve got two chihuahuas, Buster and Coco. They make me feel chilled and homely. There’s nothing like the comfort of your animals,” she says, and in her voice you can hear her missing them. “Buster is a sandy colour with white long-haired legs. He is very loving. He needs to be loved and cuddled constantly and he wants to be stroked. Coco is black with fawn markings and she used to be schizophrenic and paranoid, but she’s really changed.

I drummed it into her: you will be loved, you will enjoy cuddles, and now she follows me all over the house. Ashley is always, ‘Leave her alone, let her be,’ and I’m like, ‘No, I want to kiss her.’ She’s a smelly dog as well. She’s my little baby. She needs protecting. They are definitely more mine than Ashley’s, but he does love them really.

He’s more like Buster than Coco. He’s a simple person, Ashley. Nothing under the surface with him. Nothing’s a problem, everything’s easy and comfortable. He’s a genuine nice person.” Does he need to be loved and stroked all the time, like Buster? “I think we all do, deep down. There’s nothing better than being loved and stroked.”

There is no doubt that Cheryl Cole is lovable. You just want to hug her and hope that the allegations about her husband cheating on her weren’t true. The story goes that he was very drunk in a club and went home with the hairdresser. He alleges he was incapable of any sexual activity. Whether the story is true or not, Cole, in order to survive, must believe he is innocent and genuine. Genuine is a word she uses often for him. A word she has not used for her other boyfriends. Not that there have been that many. Cheryl Cole is a woman who feels things intensely. The fact that her husband came home with vomit stains and tales of a drunken night out was bad enough to send her into a spiral, to question everything and eventually to tell him he could never do this again.

She is the Angel of the North who cries very easily. She has cried quite a lot. “Because that’s life, isn’t it? Life is sh!t sometimes. I’ve definitely had my fair share of that. You want that fair share to have been in the past, done and dusted. You want her rebuilt, stronger, but just as lovely. You can’t help wondering if Ashley Cole is really good enough. You see her loving the chihuahuas as babies and wanting to get pregnant, but should she dare to? Her mother is always telling her to feel the fear and do it anyway. “If you allowed fear to control you, you wouldn’t do anything in life, would you?” Cole says.

A few weeks later in west London, Cole is finishing her album at another recording studio. We talk during a break. We eat sushi and chocolate. Cole is wearing drainpipe jeans that make her look very tiny. She looks surprised when I say so. “I wish I had a workout routine. I love going on tour for that reason. You wake up and you can go to the gym. I’ve got a boxed set of Yogalates that I put on whenever I can, but it’s not very often. I enjoy the slowness of it, although I like getting into a sweat as well. I’m an extremist. I work out until I’m passing out or not at all. When I was little I wanted to be Margot Fonteyn. I wanted to be a beautiful ballerina. My mother couldn’t afford to send me to the Royal Ballet, but I got there through sponsorship. I did a local TV programme and the Daily Star paid for me to go. How ironic.”

She was nine years old when she went to London to attend the Royal Ballet summer school.

“I felt out of place. I was the council schoolgirl among the privately educated. I wasn’t bullied but I felt shoved to the side. I came back speaking posh and my mother was like, ‘What the hell happened to you?’ After that I didn’t go back to ballet, I started singing after that.”

In typical Cole fashion it took rejection to define her. “My mother is tone deaf and deaf in one ear. She’s got selective hearing as well.” Cole jokes in a way that you imagine her bantering with her mother. “She hasn’t moved in, but she stays a lot. Neither of us could cope without her. Ashley’s mother’s there a lot too. Thank God they get on. They are both the first people at a party.”

Don’t you feel restricted with the mums there?

“No, it’s a big house and I’m not one of those people who wants to walk around the house naked, so nothing is restricted. If anything it’s helpful having her around. I’ll get home and she makes me spaghetti bolognaise. She’s no Jamie Oliver and she doesn’t do lasagne from scratch every day, but when she’s not there I’m lost.” What do you do? “Watch Coronation Street. Order in. Ash and I love to watch crap on the telly in pyjamas eating HobNobs. Nothing better. I used to be a massive fan of X Factor, but I can’t think of anything worse than watching myself speak.”

Is it true that Ashley called you up once and asked how to cook Super Noodles? “That’s true. And it says on the packet ‘boil for five minutes’. He’s improved, though. He’s progressed to Nutella on toast.” Has he improved in every way? “Yes.” Do you mean he’s a good boy now? “Yes,” she says very quietly, her eyes downcast. It’s still not comfortable to talk about him. I suppose you wouldn’t be with him if he wasn’t? “Exactly.” Do you fully trust him? “I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t trust anybody in life except my mother and my dogs. I’m scared to let people know how much they mean to me, and it’s scary that you can love a small hairy thing so much.”

We talk about unconditional love. Is it possible other than from animals and babies? “I’ve just had my nephews down. I see that quality in them. Their love is innocent and unconditional.” Does Mr Super Noodle have that quality? She giggles. “Yeah. We’re happy. You have to go through life. You have to have that learning curve. That pleasure versus pain. In general my life goes shit shit shit, amazing amazing amazing. I’m on the biggest roller coaster ever. I feel like for the past six months I’m starting to level out. I’m sure at some point the nemesis will come back, but I feel like when the bad things happen there’ll always be something good coming.”

She plays me another track. Its uplifting power, though, is offset against Cole’s sadness. Her mother hasn’t been feeling very well. “And that’s made me realise I want to spend more time with her. Family comes first. I fear about not having a healthy balance because, like I say, it’s all or nothing. And the next time I lift my head up a year’s gone by — and I don’t think it’s healthy, but I’m putting the graft in. I love what I do and I want it to be loved.”

She hopes that this year’s X Factor won’t be so emotionally draining. Last year she was judged as much as those she was judging. She doesn’t say anything bitchy about the other judges and says that the tabloids made up the jealousy between her and Dannii Minogue.

“I don’t get jealous of women. I can’t relate to it. It’s petty.” Cole doesn’t do petty. She only does huge emotions.

The following month, we meet at a photo shoot in north London. Before I arrive, the photographer showed Cole some mood boards illustrating what he was after — and the women on them were naked. She tells me afterwards that she was shocked. “I said to him, ‘I find it a bit weird that all these girls are naked.’ He said to me, ‘I was thinking you can do underwear,’ and I went, ‘You can think again. I am absolutely not lying around in my underwear, so we will have to reach a compromise.’ I’m a prude about things like that. I don’t like crude humour or people talking about private things in jokes.”

Cole can wear a racy outfit, slit to the thigh, or dresses that are more about the slits than the material. Usually, however, such tiny outfits are worn when performing with Girls Aloud. Whenever I’ve met her, she hasn’t been cleavagey or fleshy. Look at her outfits on The X Factor: they’re girl-next-door-cute.

Various make-up looks are tried — and no make-up. The more layers that are stripped away, the more beautiful she becomes. Then comes a smokey-eyed look that makes her eyes sparkle. Whatever she puts on her skin, it looks dewy. Whatever she wears, she looks effortless. (lol, this interviewer totally writes Cheryl fanfic in her spare time)

We next meet a few days later on the set of a L’Oréal TV ad. She is wearing a white dressing-gown, her chocolate-brown hair piled into rollers. “Can you believe I have just said ‘Because you’re worth it’?” she laughs. “I don’t know if it sounds right in a Geordie accent. Everyone grows up watching that. So I was really excited.” She says it again, this time in a kind of American accent, her lips looking extra pillowy-pouty. Does the contract with L’Oréal mean you can’t change your hair without permission? “I can, but I have to ring a woman up and say, ‘This is what I intend to do, is that all right?’ I am not planning a drastic haircut. I am not brave enough. My long hair is a blanket for security. You feel glamorous if your hair is nice. If I cut it off I’d feel like I assaulted myself. It got cut short by accident when I was a kid and I felt violated.”

She likes her hair looking like movie-star hair and she knows how she likes her clothes. “I’ve got to a point where I know myself.” You wonder if Cole has always known herself. She’s always been able to say what she feels. “Yes, if somebody was trying to control me with scissors I know now how to take the scissors back.” Do you feel that you have authority in your own life, and has that changed? “Yes. For instance, I’ve been discussing my ideas for my videos. I talk about my vision and they listen to me,” she says, still incredulous. The album is going to be called Three Words. What those words are is ambiguous — F**k Right Off and I Love You being the most obvious ones.

Cole remembers even now the moment on Popstars: the Rivals when she was standing there waiting to be chosen.

“I had that look on my face, ‘I’m in the sh!t now.’

I was in such a low place, I couldn’t have got any lower mentally. I’d been in a bad relationship and it knocked the confidence out of me. This was my last-ditch attempt. If this doesn’t happen I don’t know what I would have done, but I was at the point where it could only get better, it couldn’t get any worse. The bad relationship had just ended, but it was ended every other week. It was one of those. But I did end it. I haven’t had many relationships. I’ve always found it difficult to say ‘I don’t want you any more’.”

So would you just carry on until it became unbearable? “Probably. But in this case it got so bad, enough was enough and I always kept my eye on the dream.”

This particular relationship was one where, again, her perception of reality was questioned. She met her boyfriend, Jason Mack, in Newcastle when she was 16 and he was taking drugs, including heroin, but lying to her about it. The lying affected her as much as the drugs.

“A few weeks ago there was a story in the News of the World, and this person [Mack] said how I saved him from drugs. At the time he was constantly denying to me that he was using, even though I could see all the symptoms.

“He would be cold turkey in the bed next to me, covered in goose bumps, head to toe. His pupils were huge, nipples standing on end. He couldn’t sit still. Then he’d be slobbering and couldn’t string a sentence together. I knew he was on it, but I didn’t want to believe it, and I wanted to be the one who got him off it. He denied it and denied it. That’s what drove me crazy. So when I saw that in the paper — ‘I made her life hell. I was using heroin’ — that was the first time in all these years that he admitted it and I felt the weight lifted off my shoulders. Even though my life has moved on and I’m in a better place, it was a relief.”

Does she ever wonder that her life could have gone down a totally different path? “Well it would have, but never a drug path. That’s where my sleep problems come from now. I would wake up in the middle of the night and he wouldn’t be in the house. When I started seeing Ashley I still had those fears. Is he going to come home, or is he not? I’d wake up in the middle of the night to check he’s there. That relationship was my lowest point. I was in a very dark place.

“The effect of drug-taking sickens me, and the effect it has on everyone around them. I had a real anger against them. Now I’ve come to the point where I just think it’s sad and there are sometimes psychological reasons, so you shouldn’t judge people, but then…”

Then it was too close to home. Then drugs represented the place you went to when you didn’t have the dream. “I remember that feeling of getting in the band like it was yesterday. I had never had it before and I haven’t had it since, but I hope to get it again. It was like you are so happy you can feel your soul glowing. You feel, ‘This is right, this is my path.’ ” And that’s why as a judge on The X Factor Cole never wants to humiliate or embarrass anybody. “I have always been like that. It’s not nice to watch someone squirming. You want to prevent people from suffering.”

The other judges don’t feel that way, do they?

I wonder if Simon is harsh on people just because that’s his act and he has to keep it up? “Yes, I think he’s really soft at the bottom of it.”

There is no doubt that The X Factor has been important to her. It has changed how people see her. Writing her album, though, has changed how she sees herself. “I have reached a point where I feel content. All the negativity has gone. The first single is called Fight for This Love. It says…” and she starts to sing, “We’ve got to fight, fight, fight for this love. If it’s worth having, it’s worth fighting for.” And were you singing it to Ashley? “Well, to everyone that I’ve seen in a tough situation. I think anyone can identify with it. I hope it makes people feel able to fight harder and not give up hope.”

It’s the lunch break and she lets me pull a couple of chips from her plate of fish and chips. She knows that people love her now and she feels the weight of that almost as much as when nobody liked her. “Everybody thinks I’m a goddess and I’m not. It’s all so strange,” she says.

How has all of your success and confidence changed your relationship with Ashley?

“I think we are both older and wiser.”

Does he think you’re worth it?

She smiles a wavering smile, big Bambi eyes, full and glowing. “You’ll have to ask him.”

I would tell him that she definitely is and he’d better make sure he deserves her.

TL;DR Interviewer creams herself over Cheryl while discussing Cheryl's trust issues, self-esteem issues, issues with drug abusers, husband issue and using her dogs to replace her need for babies. And Will.I.Am was there.

As a reward for all of that intensive scrolling I know you just did, pretty pictures!
Sources: 1, 2

During some of that lonely, emo Cheryl was making me all:

So hopefully this will remind you of cute, happy smiley Cheryl:

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