Monday, 11 May 2009


First it was Cheryl on The X Factor, now Nadine and Sarah are pursuing their own projects – but the most successful all-female chart group ever insist they’re not about to go their separate ways.
This weekend, Britain’s biggest girl band was on fighting form, wowing a 10,000 strong crowd in Glasgow.
With dominatrix costumes, shirtless male backing singers and the five of them flying through the air throwing gold glitter at their screaming fans it was just another day’s work for the pop juggernaut that is Girls Aloud.
Seven years after being picked as reality TV show winners, who would have guessed that girls-next-door Cheryl Cole, Kimberley Walsh, Nicola Roberts, Sarah Harding, and Nadine Coyle would still be going strong, each millionaires many times over?
With a record 20 Top 10 hit singles to their name they are the most successful UK female group of all time.
Yet it is precisely at this peak of professional achievement that the speculation about the band’s future is at its strongest.
The band’s management has admitted the girls will be taking a three-month break after their gruelling five-nights-a-week stadium tour ends next month. Could it soon become a longer break?
“They are so huge now several of the girls are becoming confident enough to branch out into solo projects,” says an insider.
“The question everyone is asking now is, who will be the first to cut and run from Girls Aloud to make it on her own?”
Perhaps the most obvious contender to go it alone is Cheryl Cole, 25, recently voted World’s Sexiest Woman by one magazine and over the past year a stand-out star in her own right as a judge on ITV1’s The X Factor.
However, insiders say it is canny businesswoman Nadine Coyle who has been putting the most energy into empire building.
Nadine, 23, from Londonderry in Northern Ireland, is – unlike the other girls – from a middle-class family who have always helped her take the long view in financial matters.
While the other girls – most notably self-confessed “party animal” Sarah Harding – have spent a lot of time enjoying their fame and wealth in London’s best nightclubs, Nadine has invested her earnings in a property and entertainment empire in the US worth £2.7million.
She recently announced the opening of her third bar in the US, an Irish-themed pub called Nadine’s Irish Mist to be run by her parents.
“I like buying houses and decorating them and selling them off,” she explains.
“With the profit I make I buy bars.
“The ultimate business plan is to open a chain of Irish bars. Americans are screaming out for them.”
She already owns several rental properties in Ireland, apartments in London and Los Angeles and she bought the Coyle family home in a gated community in Huntington Beach, Orange County (south of Los Angeles) with her parents two years ago.
Originally attracted to the US when she dated Desperate Housewives actor Jesse Metcalfe, she still enjoys the Californian way of life despite their 2008 split.
“I’ve loved Los Angeles since I first went there a couple of years ago. I just fell completely in love with the place,” she explains.
“I love the weather, the lifestyle, the palm trees, the big, wide roads. It’s just a matter of me going over when we’re not working.”
She is now seeing former New York Giants American footballer Jason Bell and according to some close observers could be the first of the band to head for LA permanently.
Nadine’s also confirmed that she will be using her three-month break from Girls Aloud to work on her own music after signing a solo deal with EMI.
“I’m writing songs and it’s a slightly different style from Girls Aloud, so I’m going to do that, writing stuff after Girls Aloud,” she admitted recently on a late-night chat show in Ireland.
“I have loads of material but it’s just about the timing and getting the right songs to put out.”
Sarah Harding, meanwhile, seems to be calming down her wild ways and taking her career more seriously.
She will be appearing in a much anticipated BBC2 drama, Freefall, about the effects of the recession next month. The show was shot last November.
A BBC insider says Sarah, 29, “gave an impressive performance” as a beautician alongside rising star Dominic Cooper from Mamma Mia, and Lily Allen’s actor brother Alfie.
Latest showbiz rumours suggest she may be on the verge of signing with top US talent agency William Morris (WMA), which represents Mel Gibson, Richard Gere and Britney Spears.
A source says: “Talent spotters have seen her in Freefall and think she has something special. Dominic has also praised Sarah’s acting to friends in New York.”
Sarah is also known to be keen to appear in musical theatre.
There have been reports that she was in talks to play Roxie Hart in the West End’s hit show Chicago and she’s also been spotted in meetings with top songwriter Cathy Dennis, who wrote Kylie’s disco smash Can’t Get You Out Of My Head.
“Sarah is riding high and itching to take her career on to the next stage, with or without the rest of the girls,” adds the insider.

Cheryl, too, has already announced plans to make a solo album to be released before the next Girls Aloud album, which is due out in 2010.
Cheryl is also committed to this year’s X Factor (the audition rounds have just started) and is said to be adding to her £13million fortune (jointly owned with her husband, Chelsea footballer Ashley Cole) with a rumoured £5million book deal with Harper Collins.
This may all leave redheaded Nicola Roberts, 23, and the quiet one Kimberley Walsh, 27, feeling somewhat anxious about their prospects. Successful solo projects have, until now, eluded them.
Nicola is the one most interested in fashion and was in the front row at London Fashion Week. She has even hinted in interviews that she might be chosen by Vivienne Westwood to model a forthcoming collection. So far, however, such a collaboration has yet to materialise.
Nicola’s previous solo business venture, a cosmetics line formulated for women with fair skin, called Dainty Doll, has been a quiet success and is set to be re-launched shortly and become, say cosmetics industry insiders: “a global brand”.
Kimberley, 27, seems happy to enjoy her reported £5.6million fortune from Girls Aloud.
She’s the most laid-back of all of them and recently admitted in an interview that she’s happy to ride the Girls Aloud wave but not keen to branch out alone.
“I’d like to revisit musicals at some point as I trained in musical theatre,” she said.
“But Girls Aloud is the best thing ever. I can’t imagine a better job.”
However, sources say that her most likely priority will be to start a family. Her boyfriend of seven years is Justin Scott and he recently revealed that he is saving hard to buy an engagement ring.
It’s common knowledge that Cheryl, too, is keen to have a baby with Ashley following their much-publicised reunion last year in the wake of his alleged infidelity but timing is proving difficult because of her multiple career commitments.
The band members continue to insist that they have no plans to break up. But one thing’s for certain, individually or together we certainly haven’t heard the last from Girls Aloud.

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