The singer has spoken about the revelation that threatened to tear her family apart
While her upbringing and troubled past have been well documented, Cheryl Cole has revealed for the first time the family secret that triggered her brother Andrew’s descent into drug addiction and crime.
In her new book, My Story, Cheryl Cole, 29, shares her childhood memories, detailing life on a council estate in Newcastle - and recalls the event that sent shockwaves through her family.
Cheryl’s life changed for the worst when her brother Andrew, then 14, came home in a terrible rage, after being told by someone in the street that the man he believed to be his father was not his birth dad.
'Andrew was going so beserk that he looked like a crazy person. But however mad he looked, this was sounding horribly realistic'
‘Andrew was going so berserk that he looked like a crazy person. But however mad he looked, this was sounding horribly realistic.’
After the unexpected news was confirmed, with Cheryl’s mum sitting Cheryl and her siblings down and explaining that Andrew, Cheryl’s older sister Gillian and brother Joe also had a different dad, the family were in shock.
In Cheryl’s words ‘I was 11 years old. I remember the day like it was yesterday. We all sat around the kitchen table, me, Mad, Dad, my brother Garry, seven, and my sister Gillian, 15, and Andrew, 14. Joe, 18, was away for some reason.
‘Mam spoke softly ‘I was 21 when we met, me and your dad’. Mad nodded towards my dad to make it clear she was talking about him.
“I already had Joe, and you two” She looked at Gillian and Andrew now, but not at me. ‘
After the revelation Andrew started running away and developed a drug and alcohol addiction, starting with sniffing glue. Cheryl’s sister Gillian also disappeared for a while but was later found staying at a friend’s house, though Cheryl reveals she was taking drugs to block out what had happened. The chaos became too much for Cheryl’s parents and drove them apart.
'People were talking about prison, and I was lying awake again, worrying myself sick'
‘When Andrew was 15 he stabbed someone in a fight. Everyone was in pieces. People were talking about prison, and I was lying awake again, worrying myself sick. He got six years and was locked up.’
And sadly that was not the last time Andrew faced a jail sentence.
“When Andrew left prison I assumed being locked up would have taught him a lesson and that he’d put his criminal past behind him and start a new life. Unfortunately by the time of my wedding, he was in prison again. And to be honest I didn’t want to know the details of his latest offence.’
‘I went to see him in prison before my wedding (to Ashley Cole, in July 2006). “Why can’t you stop?” I begged him. “You’re devastating the whole family. Why can’t you change your ways?”
‘He shrugged and looked me in the face. “I’m too far gone.” I left in floods of tears.
‘He had 50 convictions by now, and was addicted to alcohol and drugs, as he was to crime. His life was bleak and hopeless. But I still dared to hope he might want to reform one day.’