Cheryl Fernandez-Versini (formerly Cheryl Cole)

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Cheryl Cole has ridden the pop wave for so long, not just because she's beautiful and talented but because behind that soft Geordie burr and eyes the size of dinner plates are the heart and soul of a survivor. Everytime fortune goes against her the diva dusts herself off and carries on.

Born Cheryl Ann Tweedy in Newcastle on June 30, 1983, the pretty brunette seemed destined for fame. She was named bonniest baby by high-street chemist Boots and won a children's modelling competition aged just six.

The photogenic youngster then went on to scoop the titles of 'Best Looking Girl Of Newcastle' and 'Most Attractive Girl' at a local shopping centre.

She was also a gifted dancer and, at 16, enrolled at the Royal Ballet Summer School in London, beating 9,000 other hopefuls for a place on the coveted course.

After years of TV commercials, her big break finally came in 2002, while she was working as a waitress. Keen to establish a name for herself as a singer, Cheryl auditioned for ITV's nationwide talent search Popstars: The Rivals.

A pitch-perfect rendition of S Club 7 hit Have You Ever earned her a place in the second round of the competition, and the teenager made it to the live finals where she competed for a place in all-girl group Girls Aloud. She became the first contestant picked for the quintet, who went on to score the Christmas number one that year with smash hit Sound Of The Underground.

Cheryl and her bandmates – Nicola Roberts, Sarah Harding, Nadine Coyle and Kimberley Walsh – became overnight sensations in the UK. And as the hard-working group went from strength to strength, the feisty Geordie found love.

Romance blossomed between Cheryl and Premiership footballer Ashley Cole, when they found themselves living in the same London apartment block. In 2005, after eight months together, the England star whisked Cheryl to Dubai for a romantic holiday and, after an exotic camel ride through the desert, got down on one knee to propose.

On July 15, 2006, Cheryl wed her footie ace beau at a lavish ceremony in Hertfordshire.

By 2008 Girls Aloud had enjoyed phenomenal success in the UK. The girls saw four of their albums go platinum and broke a music industry record when 17 consecutive singles made the UK top ten.

In June 2008, Cheryl signed on to join the judges panel of Simon Cowell's The X Factor, a role that converted her into the nation's sweetheart.

The programme also helped her launch her solo career. In 2009 she took to The X Factor stage to perform her first single, Fight For This Love, which made it to number one and quickly became the year's fastest-selling record.

Her album, 3 Words, was released just a few days later, premiering at the top of the UK music charts. "I'm just getting over the fact I have recorded my solo record and now it's number one," she said of her success. "I can't take this all in. It's hard for me to put into words how I feel."

While her career was in full-swing, Cheryl's personal life was thrown into turmoil as claims her husband had been unfaithful surfaced in 2008. Ashley denied the allegations and Cheryl remained by his side, saying that he had "a beautiful soul". And as rumours of a split continued, she tweeted a photo of her wedding ring with the caption: "3 words. Diamonds Are Forever."

In February 2010, however, the couple announced their separation and divorced a few months later.

The singer went on to date backing dancer Tre Holloway and professional dancer and choreographer Derek Hough.

Unfortunately, there were more troubles ahead for Cheryl. On returning from a holiday in Tanzania in 2010, she collapsed, suffering from malaria and was at one point so sick, her life hung in the balance for 24 hours.

Then the following year, she signed for the US version of X Factor, but was dropped by Simon after three weeks. She later admitted the pop guru had taken the right decision because "I wasn't well in the head when that was going on, so it wasn't going to work".

She came back bigger and better in 2014 and Simon hired her again for the 11th series of X Factor in the UK, giving her a £1.5million contract.

Then on 7 July that year she married French restaurateur Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini following a whirlwind three-month courtship.

Cheryl's horoscope: Cancer

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