Cheryl became a judge on the UK version of The X Factor in 2008. She mentored two of the eventual winners of the competition (Alexandra Burke in series 5 and Joe McElderry in series 6), before resigning in 2011 and joining the panel of the American version, which she left during the auditions stage. She returned to judge series 11 and 12 of the UK version. Series creator Simon Cowell referred to her as "one of the best I've ever worked with".
Cheryl has become a recognised and photographed style icon, being referred to as a "fashionista" by the press. She has been photographed for the covers of British Vogue, Elle and Harper's Bazaar, and fronted cosmetic company L'Oréal in 2009. Her net worth was estimated at £20 million in October 2014. Cheryl was married to England footballer Ashley Cole from July 2006 to September 2010. She married Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini in July 2014, and was granted a decree nisi from him in October 2016. She is currently in a relationship with One Direction singer Liam Payne, with whom she has a son born in March 2017.
Cheryl Ann Tweedy was born in Newcastle upon Tyne on 30 June 1983, and grew up on council estates in the suburbs of Walker and Heaton. She is the fourth of five children of Joan Callaghan, and the first of her two children with Garry Tweedy following the collapse of her marriage to the father of her three other children. Cheryl's parents were together for more than a decade but never married; they separated when she was eleven years old.
At the age of seven, Cheryl appeared in a television advert for British Gas. Interested in dancing from an early age, she began sequence dancing at the age of four, before joining The Royal Ballet's summer school at the age of nine. She occasionally appeared doing dance recitals on different television shows in the UK, such as Gimme 5, in 1993.
Cheryl auditioned for the reality television show Popstars: The Rivals in 2002, which aimed to create a boy band and a girl group to compete for the Christmas Number One spot on the UK Singles Chart. She sang "Have You Ever" in her audition, and was one of twenty contestants (ten girls and ten boys) chosen as finalists by judges Pete Waterman, Louis Walsh and Geri Halliwell. The finalists performed live on Saturday evenings, with one gender performing each week, and each week the contestant polling the fewest phone votes was eliminated, until the final line-ups of the five-piece groups emerged. Cheryl was in danger of elimination twice, surviving over Emma Beard and Aimee Kearsley in consecutive performing weeks. On 30 November 2002, she was the first contestant to qualify for the girl group, joining Nadine Coyle, Sarah Harding, Nicola Roberts and Kimberley Walsh to form Girls Aloud, following the final public vote. The group's debut single "Sound of the Underground" peaked at number one on the UK Singles Chart, becoming the 2002 Christmas Number One over boy band One True Voice's "Sacred Trust / After You're Gone". Girls Aloud hold the record for the shortest time between being formed as a band and achieving a number one single.