Inside Sarah Harding’s glittering career from chart success to Big Brother champ

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As one-fifth of chart-topping girl band Girls Aloud, Sarah Harding defied the odds and went on to achieve astronomical chart success, jetting first class across the world and were once supported by Jay Z.

Born Sarah Nicole Hardman, Sarah grew up around her doting mum Marie and her two brothers in the Hazel Grove area of Manchester, after Marie made the decision to move up north from leafy Ascot, Berkshire.

The Threads singer, who is set to release her debut autobiography, Hear Me Out, has remained grounded throughout her eighteen-year long career, but recently revealed her most devastating news.

It was announced today that Sarah had tragically lost her battle with cancer, aged 39.

The Girls Aloud singer has achieved a staggering 21 top ten singles throughout her career, as well as taking the lead role in several movies.

As she prepares to share her story, Daily Star has trawled through the archives to uncover her biggest achievements.

Popstars: The Rivals

Harding had been surrounded by music from an early age, often recalling growing up with a pair of headphones on and listening to her parents song choices.

Sarah often performed across the country in venues such as pubs, working mens clubs and caravan parks after realising her career as a debt collector, Pizza Hut waitress and phone operator was not for her.

After chancing her luck, the blonde bombshell auditioned for the hottest television talent show of its time, Popstars: The Rivals, singing in front of Pete Waterman, Spice Girls singer Geri Horner and Louis Walsh.

Week after week, Sarah continued to impress the voting British public and eventually landed a spot in Girls Aloud alongside Cheryl Tweedy, Nicola Roberts, Kimberley Walsh and Nadine Coyle.

Both Girls Aloud and the male equivalent, One True Voice, battled it out to win the competition and bag the Christmas number one spot.

Girls Aloud landed the top spot with their debut single, Sound of The Underground, which still holds the record for the shortest time between being produced and reaching the top spot.

  • Sarah Harding feared Girls Aloud reunion after suffering side effects to chemo treatment

Chart-topping hits

Shortly after taking the 2002 Christmas number one spot, Girls Aloud soon became a household name, with Sarah's face plastered across billboards and television campaigns across all four corners of the United Kingdom.

Their debut album, Sound of The Underground (2003) went on to hit the number two spot before eventually being certified platinum.

During their ten-year reign, the girls amassed a total of 21 top ten singles, four number ones and four platinum-selling studio albums.

The group who are known for iconic hits such as Love Machine and The Promise racked up multiple awards but one holds a special place in all five of their hearts, mainly Sarah's.

In 2009, they received a BRIT Award for their single The Promise – a night that Sarah will never forget.

Upon receiving the award, she grabbed the microphone from Kimberley Walsh and yelled: "It's about time!" before the group went off to celebrate.

While their biggest hit may be Love Machine, Sarah and her bandmates initially hesitated when it came to recording the track, stating it would be "career suicide".

In the UK alone, Girls Aloud have sold around 4.3 million singles and 4 million albums, cementing them as the biggest girl group of their time.

  • Sarah Harding's bandmate Cheryl thinks of her 'every waking hour' since cancer diagnosis

Solo venture

Following the disbandment of Girls Aloud in March 2013, it emerged that Sarah was planning to release her debut solo album that she began working on in March 2010.

She went on to reveal that she had intentions of the record being released in the fourth quarter of 2013 before later saying that she was considering releasing it in 2014.

Sadly for fans of "Hardcore Harding", her full solo album was never released.

However, she did go on to release a four-track EP, bursting onto the scene with her debut solo single, Threads, adding a bit of edge to the Sarah that everybody had previously seen.

The self-confessed rock chick released her inner rockstar as she danced around in leather for the hit which was released on August 7, 2015.

In order to promote her release, Sarah travelled to the four corners of the UK, performing on television shows such as Lorraine and Sunday Brunch.

She also performed a sell-out gig at the legendary O2 Academy in Islington.

  • Cheryl admits she lost it when Sarah Harding shared 'terrible' update on cancer battle

Fashion Designer

A true fashionista, with an eye for detail, Sarah turned her hand to fashion shortly after the disbanding of Girls Aloud, alongside her then-boyfriend, music producer and DJ Mark Foster.

The former couple took inspiration from Sarah's beloved French Bulldog, Yogi and released a range of headwear, aptly titled YogiSnap.

Sarah and Mark's collection instantly sold out, with fans soon demanding more stock, however, the company has remained formant since 2016.

  • Sarah Harding turned down radiotherapy to save her hair after cancer spread to her spine

Acting success

While always having a passion for music, Sarah had always wanted to dabble in the acting world – chancing her shot, Sarah auditioned for the St. Trinian's franchise and eventually took on the role of school girl Roxy, who performed in the school band with her Girls Aloud bandmates before eventually going solo.

As well as starring opposite Gemma Arterton and Lily Collins in St, Trinian's, Sarah has landed roles across the television and film industry.

Keeping to her northern routes, Harding landed her dream part in Coronation Street, playing the role of disgruntled Joni Preston, who discovered her husband, Robert, had been living a life with Tracy Barlow.

  • Sarah Harding says Christmas 2020 was 'probably my last' as cancer spreads

Celebrity Big Brother champion

Following several years of speculation, Sarah finally emerged from the famous Celebrity Big Brother eye in 2017 as she made her way into the now derelict Elstree house.

It was during her time in the Celebrity Big Brother house that the public got to see the shy Sarah that had rarely appeared on screen before.

Ahead of her time in the house, she stated that she wouldn't be looking for love but eventually found herself in awe of The Bachelor star Chad Johnson, who she went on to forge a relationship with – sadly, they split due to Chad living in Los Angeles and Sarah in the UK.

While appearing on the show, Sarah went on to stun her fellow housemates, performing The Promise with Amelia Lily, who had supported Girls Aloud on their farewell tour.

It was announced on August 25, 2017, that Sarah was the winner of the series, receiving 35.33 per cent of the public vote.

Girls Aloud reunion

With 2022 marking the twentieth anniversary of Girls Aloud forming, speculation had been rife as to whether the group would eventually don their sparkling outfits and head back on the road together.

Nadine had teased on multiple occasions that all five members of the band were in discussions, saying: "There have been loads of conversations and people now are getting in contact, like, 'What do we do?' It's still early."

Sarah her self had added fuel to the fire, taking to social media to share a rare post – sharing a snap of a guitar as she told fans that she was "practising".

However, Sarah has revealed that Girls Aloud have reunited – but not to take their music on the road again.

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In an extract of her debut autobiography, Hear Me Out, which is released on March 18, she said the girls had met for the first time in eight years following her devastating cancer diagnosis.

The five Queens of Pop got together for a private affair at the swanky Soho Farmhouse in Chipping Norton as they rallied around to support their bandmate.

As the Every Now And Then hitmakers reunited, they sat down to watch their fly on the wall documentary, Girls Aloud: Off The Record as they reflected on their glittering career.

  • Sarah Harding

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