Sarah Harding, former member of pop group Girls Aloud, has announced that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer.
In a series of tweets and an Instagram post, she wrote:
Earlier this year, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and a couple of weeks ago I received the devastating news that the cancer has advanced to other parts of my body. I’m currently undergoing weekly chemotherapy sessions and I am fighting as hard as I possibly can … My amazing mum, family and close friends are helping me through this, and I want to say a thank you to the wonderful NHS doctors and nurses who have been and continue to be heroes.
She asked for her privacy to be respected during her treatment.
Harding, 38, shot to fame in 2002 as part of ITV talent show Popstars: the Rivals, where she formed Girls Aloud with four others: Cheryl Tweedy, Nadine Coyle, Nicola Roberts and Kimberley Walsh. Their debut single, Sound of the Underground, was the Christmas No 1 that year, and the first of four chart-topping singles during their career.
As well as reaching No 1 with covers of Aerosmith’s Walk This Way and the Pretenders’ I’ll Stand By You, their original material was critically acclaimed as well as commercially successful, including tracks such as No Good Advice, Call the Shots and Love Machine (later covered by the Arctic Monkeys).
In addition to the band’s No 1 hits, they had 17 further Top 10 songs across five studio albums, becoming one of the UK’s most successful-ever girl groups. They won a Brit award in 2009 for best single, for The Promise, another of their No 1 hits.
The group took a break in 2009, and briefly reformed in 2012. In the interim, Harding turned to acting, appearing opposite Dominic Cooper in BBC TV movie Freefall, and had roles in the films Run for Your Wife and St Trinian’s 2: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold.
Girls Aloud split in 2013, after which Harding released a solo EP, took a short-term role in Coronation Street, and successfully returned to reality TV. She was a contestant in the gymnastics talent show Tumble, and won the 20th series of Celebrity Big Brother in 2017.
She ruptured a ligament in her leg during the winter sports show The Jump in 2016 and left early, becoming one of a number of celebrities to have injured themselves on the Channel 4 TV show.
The following year she starred in a touring production of Ghost: The Musical, adapted from the 1990 movie, and spoke of “constant pain” as a result of the injury, adding: “As anyone in chronic pain will be able to tell you, it can take a massive toll on your mental as well as physical wellbeing.” She also complained of “the relentless scrutiny, the trolling and the sensationalised and often fabricated stories” she faced in the media, and has maintained a relatively low profile since 2018.
The broadcaster Piers Morgan was among those wishing her well with her cancer treatment, tweeting: “Horrible news. Good luck Sarah.”
Former bandmate Cheryl posted an emoji of a broken heart. Coyle wrote on Instagram: “I love you!!!! You have always been able to achieve miracles when needed!!” Former Olympic swimmer Rebecca Adlington, who starred with Harding on The Jump, wrote on Instagram: “Sending you a lot of love Sarah! Stay strong.”