Cheryl Ann Cole (born 30 June 1983) is an English pop and R&B recording artist, songwriter, dancer, actress and model. She rose to fame in late 2002 when she auditioned for the reality television show Popstars: The Rivals on ITV. The programme announced that Cole had won a place as a member of the girl group,Girls Aloud. Cole has been part of the group's twenty consecutive top-ten singles (including four number one singles) in the UK and five platinum albums (two of which went to number one) and earned five BRIT Award nominations from 2005 to 2010. In 2009, Girls Aloud won "Best Single" with their song "The Promise". In 2009, Girls Aloud announced their musical hiatus and Cole went on to release two solo albums, which both went to number one in the UK: 3 Words (2009) and Messy Little Raindrops (2010). She achieved a number of hits, including two number one singles: "Fight for This Love" and "Promise This".
Cole became a judge on The X Factor in 2008. While on the show, Cole became the winning judge twice out of the three series she judged on, with Alexandra Burke and Joe McElderry winning respectively. It was announced that Cole would leave the UK version of The X Factor for the American version of the show. However, just weeks into filming the auditions, it was reported that Cole had been sacked from the show with it being confirmed by Fox, Freemantle North America and Syco TV on 6 June. Mike Darnell, president of Alternative Entertainment for the Fox Broadcasting Company, confirmed Cheryl Cole left USA X Factor.
Cole has become a recognised and photographed style icon; referred to as a fashionista by the press. She has been photographed for the covers of British Vogue, Elle and Harper's Bazaar, while also becoming the new face of cosmetic company L'Oréal. Cole was married to England footballer Ashley Cole from July 2006 until September 2010, when she divorced him.
Cole was given a one-off television programme for ITV1 titled Cheryl Cole's Night In, which aired on 19 December 2009. The programme, hosted by Holly Willoughby, featured music and interviews with Cole and some of her favourite performers. Alexandra Burke, Rihanna, Will Young, Snow Patrol and will.i.am made appearances. Cole 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 that Strictly Come Dancing received during the same time slot.Cole was interviewed during an episode of the fourth series of Piers Morgan's Life Stories. The show, which aired on 23 October 2010, drew an audience of 7.2 million: the highest figure in the chat show's history. As a member of Girls Aloud, Cole has also appeared in the fly on the wall documentary Girls Aloud: Home Truths, the E4 documentary series Girls Aloud: Off the Record, an episode ofGhosthunting With..., and a one-off variety show entitled The Girls Aloud Party.
In June 2008, it was announced Cole would replace Sharon Osbourne as a judge for the fifth series of The X Factor. Cole 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. Cole returned for the sixth series in 2009 and was given the boys category (made up of male contestants aged 16 to 25). Cole emerged as the winning judge for a second consecutive year after Joe McElderry was crowned the sixth winner of The X Factor. Simon Cowell, the show's creator, said, "I knew she was going to be good because she speaks like normal people speak. People can relate to that. And I think that is the best sign of a judge." Cowell has referred to Cole as "one of the best I've ever worked with." She returned for a further series in 2010 to mentor the girls category (made of female contestants aged 16 to 28). On 5 May 2011, it was officially announced after months of speculation that Cole would appear as a judge alongside Simon Cowell, L.A. Reid, and Paula Abdul on the American version of The X Factor. However, after only three weeks as a judge and completing the auditions in Los Angeles and Chicago, Cole left the show. Cowell said that the reason why Cole left was because he offered her the job in the UK version back and that he felt that she would be more comfortable there. Additionally, it had later been confirmed that she would not be returning to the UK version of the show either, as Tulisa Contostavlos has taken her place on the judging panel.