Girls Aloud: What They Did Next

From Cheryl's X Factor dumping to Nicola's savvy style, find out what the band mates have been up to since they took a break in 2009

CHERYL COLE

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It’s fair to say Cheryl’s been rather busy since her Girls Aloud days. After exercising her vocals (and wiggling her hips) for will.i.am’s 2008 hit Heartbreaker, she released her debut solo album 3 Words in October 2009 – hitting the number one spot for two weeks running. Her military-inspired video for lead single Fight For This Love helped her score the fourth best-selling single of 2009, followed up by top five hits 3 Words and Parachute – not bad going…

But Cole’s scores of column inches are rarely generated by her musical abilities. Her much-publicised divorce from footballer husband Ashley Cole, following allegations of his infidelity, was finally confirmed in September 2010.

And who could forget the media storm created by her spell as a judge on The X Factor. After being recruited by creator Simon Cowell in her Girls Aloud days to appear on the panel for the show’s fifth series, Cole went on to win the competition with her act Alexandra Burke. Add to that a second consecutive triumph with Joe McElderry in 2009 and the Geordie judge was in pole position to help Cowell take the show stateside. Cheryl was poised on the verge of superstardom… but following her underwhelming debut on the US judging panel, she was acrimoniously dumped by the production team and replaced by Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger. After dusting herself off following her very public humiliation, Cole has since gone on to release a third studio album and can currently be found performing energetic dance routines at venues up and down the country as part of her A Million Lights first solo concert tour.  


SARAH HARDING

Girls Aloud’s resident party animal chose to shun her music career to focus on acting following the band’s hiatus. Her first job saw her swap her blonde locks for brunette tresses to play gobby Jade Jennings in the film Bad Day, a role which required her to swear down the phone in the back of a taxi…

Since then she has shaved more than a decade off her thirty years to join the St Trinian’s sequel: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold, playing new pupil Roxy and is set to star in 2013 flick Run for Your Wife, playing Stephanie – the second spouse of bigamist John Smith (Danny Dyer). Add to her bow a couple of presenting gigs – including an ill-fated appearance hosting Sky Living’s Dating in the Dark in 2011 – and you have Harding’s odd-job CV of bit part roles.

But unfortunately the limelight has rarely fallen on Sarah’s professional work, with much-documented nights on the town coupled with her split from her fiancé of nearly five years, Tom Crane. Following a stint in rehab to tackle depression and an alcohol addiction, Sarah has overhauled her hedonistic lifestyle in favour of a quieter life in recent months, and she is often papped pounding the streets of London in the company of her two pet pooches.


KIMBERLEY WALSH

Kimberley has largely eschewed the world of music since Girls Aloud’s hiatus was announced in July 2009, instead also choosing to focus on acting and presenting work. She has since appeared in 2011 3D family comedy Horrid Henry: The Movie as Prissy Polly – the titular character’s overactive cousin.

In October 2011 Walsh made her West End debut playing Princess Fiona in Shrek the Musical, taking over from pregnant lead Amanda Holden and treading the boards for the following seven months. But it’s her appearance in the current line-up of Strictly Come Dancing that has propelled her back into the limelight. Persuaded to return to her reality routes by band mate Cheryl Cole, Kimberley is paired with Pasha Kovalev and set the bar high with her performance last weekend – scoring an impressive 28 points that put her in second place on the leaderboard. With rumours of a band reunion gig on Strictly, Kimberley will have to juggle her new music committments with her role in the dancing competition.


NICOLA ROBERTS

Often overlooked in favour of her even more glamorous band mates, Nicola has embarked on a number of projects to make a name for herself in the past three years.

Biding her time before embarking upon solo material, she released her debut single Beat of My Drum in June 2011, followed up by her album Cinderella’s Eyes. But although both garnered considerable critical acclaim, they failed to match her Girls Aloud success, with the album peaking at number 17 in the UK charts.

But it’s her esteemed fashion sense that has drawn media attention to the singer. Once dubbed “the ugly one” by the press, Roberts has developed a keen interest in clothing and make-up – developing her Dainty Doll pale-skin range into a successful business resulting in a major release in Harrods in 2010. Her savvy style has since caught the eye of global superstar Rihanna who handpicked Roberts to join her search for “the next generation of undiscovered designer talent” in Sky Living series Styled to Rock. Once shunned from the limelight in favour of her band mates, Nicola is rejoining Girls Aloud as very much a major star in her own right.


NADINE COYLE

Often recognised as the band’s lead singer, Nadine’s solo career was hotly anticipated… but the anticipation was left unsatisfied for a good long while. Safely ensconced in her Los Angeles home, the Irish singer fell quiet as band mate Cheryl Cole landed a number one single and album, leaving many wondering when she would make her move.

When it eventually came in November 2010, the elusive star launched a marketing campaign as the release of her debut effort Insatiable was pitted against Cole’s latest single Promise This. The latter’s debuted at number one, while Coyle’s single limped into the charts at a disappointing 26, despite the exclusive deal she’d signed with supermarket chain Tesco.

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Since then any musical movements have largely fallen on deaf ears, leaving a coy Nadine to focus on her patriotic pub Nadine’s Irish Mist – situated in Sunset Beach, Orange County – although it was reported earlier this year that the watering hole owes mounting taxes and faces possible closure. Not a great few years for Miss Coyle who will surely be glad to rejoin her band mates…