By ALISON BOSHOFF
Close bond: Cheryl's mother Joan is a non-negotiable part of her life and, according the Cheryl herself, the only person she actually trusts. Joan is tipped to follow her daughter to Los Angeles - if lawyers can get her a visa
You see her walking a few paces behind Cheryl at the airport and watching her carefully from the other side of the room at parties and nightclubs.
They sit together in Cheryl’s Rolls-Royce Phantom as she travels to and from the X Factor studio.
And she’s in Cheryl’s dressing room every week, supervising the team of assistants who wait on her daughter.
Determined: Cheryl has come a long way since her childhood growing up on council estates in Newcastle, but people who know Cheryl say that without her mum she would not be able to cope
The rule is this: where you find Cheryl Cole, there you will also find her redoubtable and determined mother Joan Callaghan.
Joan, a diminutive figure who is even shorter than her 5ft 3ins daughter, has been sharing Cheryl’s high life for years now.
So much so, the 51-year-old mother-of-five is now enough of a ‘face’ in London to have been invited on her own to the relaunch of the Movida nightclub in 2008, where she hung out with a selection of C-list stars.
Formidable: Joan likes fake tan, Louboutin shoes and Chloe jackets but her devotion to her daughter Cheryl is unquestionable
She likes fake tan, Louboutin shoes and Chloe jackets — but is mostly devoted to her daughter with a remarkable intensity. It was Joan who told X Factor contestant Wagner to get lost when he knocked on Cheryl’s dressing room door and tried to apologise for his comments to a journalist regarding her ‘council estate roots’ two weeks ago.
People who know Cheryl say that without her mum she would not be able to cope.
‘I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t trust anybody in life except my mother and my dogs. I love having her there,’ she told an interviewer.
Three's a crowd: Joan moved in with Ashly Cole and Cheryl soon after their marriage. Ashley would escape to his bespoke games room whilst Cheryl and Joan would cosy up on the sofas and watch TV
Anyone who doubts that their bond is special need only note that Joan will be going with Cheryl when she moves to Los Angeles next year.
Cheryl will relocate for several months to film X Factor USA, after signing a £3million deal. She is relying on the legal experts hired by Fox to iron out any visa difficulties, which remain over her conviction in 2003 for assaulting a nightclub toilet attendant.
And these same experts will also have to come up with a job description which will permit Joan to become a California resident for a time.
Firm friends: Cheryl and Will.i.am became close after her split from husband Andy Cole. Will.i.am described Joan as 'a great lady. You can see why Cheryl is such a good girl, she gets it from her mum.'
How might you describe what she does? Cheerleader, hand-holder, minder, personal assistant, cook, nursemaid and agony aunt — she is all of these and more.
Joan’s sister Ann said this week that the two of them are ‘very close’ and recalls the many sacrifices which Joan made to help her daughter achieve the stardom she craved.
‘She was quite pushy when Cheryl was little — but only because she wanted the absolute best for her,’ said Ann.
Will mum approve? You can only hope that American dancer Derek Hough, Cheryl's much rumoured new love, is happier than Ashley Cole was to share his life with Mrs Callaghan
Joan moved in with Cheryl and Ashley Cole just after they married, and Cheryl relied on her more and more as her marriage crumbled.
Ashley, it turns out, would escape to a ‘gaming room’ which he had put in, with its own spiral staircase, to get away from his ever-present mother-in-law.
Meanwhile, Joan and Cheryl would cosy up on the sofas and watch television with a packet of Hob Nob biscuits.
So who is the woman behind Cheryl Cole?
Saturday, 4 December 2010
By ALISON BOSHOFF