The life of popstar Sarah Harding as she announces shock cancer battle

Britain’s most glamorous hell-raiser: How Girls Aloud’s ‘Hardcore Harding’ became famous for wild-partying, explosive love affairs and stints in rehab – but now faces a battle against cancer

  • Sarah is currently undergoing weekly chemotherapy treatment for the disease
  •  In her emotional post she told fans: ‘a couple of weeks ago I received the devastating news that the cancer has advanced to other parts of my body’ 
  • Sarah’s post was soon flooded with comments of support, including her bandmate Cheryl, who tweeted a heartbreak emoji 
  • Sarah had last posted on Instagram in April, but had been relatively absent from social media for two years 
  • It was reported last year she had quit fame followed a failed musical comeback
  • Her last TV appearance was in 2017 on Celebrity Big Brother, where she sparked up a romance with US reality star Chad Johnson, but they split weeks later 
  • Sarah first rose to prominence in 2002 as a member of pop band Girls Aloud, before the group split in 2013 
  • If you have been affected by this story, call Macmillan Cancer Support on 0808 808 00 00 

Sarah Harding revealed she is battling advanced breast cancer in a social media post on Wednesday and MailOnline takes a look at the Britain’s most glamorous hell-raiser’s life over the years. 

Girls Aloud’s ‘Hardcore Harding’ became famous for wild-partying, explosive love affairs and stints in rehab – but now faces her toughest battle yet.  

The singer first shot to fame as one fifth of uber-successful girl group, Girls Aloud, formed on 2002 reality show, Popstars: The Rivals, where she was a hit among fans.  

Party girl: Sarah Harding become known for her wild child party girl image when she shot to fame with Girls Aloud in 2002 (pictured 2007)

Winning a place in the band as a fresh-faced 21-year-old alongside Cheryl Tweedy, Nicola Roberts, Kimberley Walsh and Nadine Coyle, she was catapulted into the limelight when the quintet scooped the Christmas number one single with Sound Of The Underground.   

The musician toured the nation as part of the UK’s biggest girl band from 2002 until 2013 and quickly became known for her party girl image as well her her hits.

She also became a favourite pin-up girl for the lads’ mags, appearing in racy editorials for FHM and Arena Magazines, alongside bandmate Cheryl. 

Fan favourite: She also became a favourite pin-up girl for the lads’ mags, appearing in a racy editorials for FHM and Arena Magazines, alongside bandmate Cheryl

Pals: Sarah became a member of the pop band Girls Aloud, through talent series Popstars: The Rivals, with the band scoring the Christmas number one single in 2002 (pictured at the time)

Dubbed ‘Hardcore Harding’ by her band mates and referred to as the ‘caner’ of the group the star was often photographed swigging from whisky bottles and stumbling out of nightclubs. 

Fun-loving Sarah became a tabloid favourite after living in Primrose Hill, where other celebrity residents included the ultimate party girl Kate Moss.   

The Ascot-born star’s party lifestyle in London was a far cry from her early life in Stockport, Greater Manchester.

The budding singer followed in her musician dad John Hardman’s footsteps by striking up an interest in performing from an early age. 

She studied hair and beauty at Stockport College and worked many jobs, including as a nightclub promoter, a Pizza Hut waitress, a van driver, a debt collector and even a BT telephone operator. 

The blonde bombshell finally pursued her musical passion in her early 20s when she auditioned for both Fame Academy and Popstars: The Rivals in 2002, before getting her shot at stardom on the ITV show.   

As Sarah’s fame grew, so did her reputation as a hellraiser on the capital’s party scene. 

Back then: She was raised with her two half brothers in Ascot, Berkshire and followed in her musician dad John Hardman’s footsteps by striking up an interest in performing from an early age (pictured age 17 in 1998)

In 2007 she was photographed swigging from a bottle of scotch whisky after the NME Awards in London and, at a separate event that year, appeared a little worse for wear as she stumbled around on the phone while holding a champagne glass. 

When she wasn’t hitting up the capital’s A-list haunts like Mahiki and Gilgamesh or attending London Fashion Week, Sarah was partying in Ibiza with her then DJ boyfriend Tom Crane and friends. 

Known for her rollercoaster love life, the blonde beauty also enjoyed steamy flings with Calum Best in 2005 and Hollywood actor Stephen Dorff and presenter Steve Jones in 2006.   

Back in 2014, Calum opened up about his steamy romance with Sarah – which occurred twelve years ago.

The Celebrity Big Brother star, who has also dated the likes of Lindsay Lohan and Elizabeth Jagger, claimed their love was ‘eight months of madness.’

Speaking to The Sun on Sunday newspaper, he revealed: ‘I was crazy, she was crazy and that’s why we hit it off from the start.’

He continued: ‘Goddamn, we were going out every night, we were going nuts. She was always so adventurous and it was one mad night after another.

‘It was a whirlwind, an intense, full-on, fiery relationship. But it was a good fire.’   

After splitting with fiance Tom in September 2011, Sarah described herself as hitting ‘rock bottom’. 

This concerned her band mates Kimberley Walsh and Nicola Roberts who recommended she seek professional help.   

The final 10: She finally pursued her musical passion in her early 20s when she auditioned for both Fame Academy and Popstars: The Rivals in 2002, before getting her shot at stardom on the ITV show (pictured 2002)

Describing herself as ‘such a mess’, from October that year Sarah spent a stint in a US clinic to battle alcohol and sleeping pill addiction. 

‘I’ve been told by those close to me that was when I hit my worst,’ she said.

‘I was crying hysterically. I felt ashamed, embarrassed, terrified – my emotions were all over the place.’

In July 2009, Girls Aloud took a hiatus to pursue other projects, which lasted until 2012. 

Popstar party: Fun-loving Sarah became a tabloid favourite after living in Primrose Hill, where other celebrity residents included the ultimate party girl Kate Moss (pictured 2006)

Throughout their 10 year reign in the charts, Girls Aloud were dogged by rumours of secret feuds within the band, with Cheryl, Nicola and Kimberley forming a notably closer bond.

Nadine has previously claimed their split was due to the friction between them because she was given more lines to sing – although she has since ended her feud with Kimberley.

Kimberley has also said to MailOnline in November 2019: ‘Cheryl, Nicola and I… we were just very close. I just don’t click with the other girls. 

Party times: Sarah, Nicola, Kimberley and Cheryl are pictured on a wild night out in 2006

Romance: Known for her rollercoaster love life, the blonde beauty also enjoyed flings with Calum Best (above in 2005), Hollywood actor Stephen Dorff and presenter Steve Jones

‘There is honestly no rift, we just didn’t click in the same way with Nadine and Sarah that we’d want to see each other every week. It was more that we were work friends.’ 

After reuniting in 2012, Girls Aloud announced their split following a successful final tour in 2013. 

Following on from her bandmate Cheryl’s much-lauded solo career, Sarah dropped her debut EP Threads in August 2015, but she wasn’t set for the same level of commercial success.

Threads failed to earn a spot on the main UK music charts but managed to score the number two position on the UK Physical Chart.   

Alongside her singing career with the band, Sarah pursued acting with appearances in the two St Trinian’s films in 2007 and 2009 and Run For Your Wife in 2012 alongside Danny Dyer – with whom it was reported she had a secret fling with. 

Further acting success followed in 2015 when Sarah fulfilled a long-held ambition and landed a role on Coronation Street  

Starring as Joni Preston, the wife of Robert Preston, Sarah made a number of guest appearances in the summer. 

Split: After splitting with fiance Tom Crane in September 2011, Sarah described herself as hitting ‘rock bottom’ and entered rehab to battle alcohol and sleeping pill addiction (above in 2011)

On the mend: Sarah admitted she was ‘crying hysterically’ when she hit rock bottom before entering rehab (pictured following her rehab stint) 

Sarah’s television career post Girls-Aloud also saw her venture into the world of reality – she competed on BBC gymnastics show Tumble in 2014 where she placed third before taking part in Celebrity MasterChef the following year.

The star took on her most gruelling physical challenge to date when she joined the line-up of Channel 4 series, The Jump, in 2016, but her hopes of winning the series came to a painful end when she tore a ligament in her knee during training.

This forced her to withdraw from the series.

The knock-on effects of Sarah’s injury also scuppered further work opportunities. She appeared in a UK tour of Ghost The Musical but was replaced midway through the run due to her injury.  

Sarah made a triumphant return to screens on Celebrity Big Brother in 2017, where she found love with US reality star Chad Johnson for just three months – which set tongues wagging as the singer had a boyfriend of four weeks at the time.

Confirming their split at the time, she said: ‘It is with sadness that I can now confirm my relationship with Chad is over.

‘The distance has proved too much of an obstacle even though we both tried to make it work.

‘I wish him all the best for the future and thank him for the memories we shared during a very interesting summer.’  

Feud? Throughout their 10 year reign in the charts, Girls Aloud were dogged by rumours of secret feuds within the band, with Cheryl, Nicola and Kimberley forming a notably closer bond (pictured 2009)

Going solo: Her EP Threads was released in August 2015, which failed to earn a spot on the main UK music charts but managed to score number two on the UK Physical Chart (pictured 2015)

 During her stint, she broke down in the Diary Room when she was hit with accusations she was an ‘attention seeker’ and ‘unstable’.

After being reduced to tears by her housemates, it was claimed the socialite was being monitored by health experts while in the house. 

Amelia Lily finished in second place, while Sam Thompson left in third place, joining Derek Acorah, Chad Johnson and Jemma Lucy, who left fourth, fifth and sixth place respectively.    

The media personality has maintained a low profile in recent years and changed her Twitter bio to read ‘taking a timeout’ last year. 

In April, her ex-boyfriend Chad, 33, said that he doesn’t know where she is and nobody has ‘really heard from her’ after it was reported last year she had ‘quit fame’ to go into hiding.

Triple threat: Alongside her singing career with the band, Sarah pursued acting and appeared in Coronation Street in 2015 as Joni Preston (pictured)

Sarah made her return to social media for the first time since July 2019 in May of this year, sparking a delighted reaction from fans, as she shared a series of tweets.

The artist’s first post showed a gif of a T-Rex reaching out his arms saying: ‘I miss you this much’.

Captioning the tweet, she penned: ‘Lmfao…[email protected]….#splatchat’ with several prayer hand emojis.

Following her initial dinosaur inspired post, the blonde beauty was met with comments from delighted fans who missed her during her ‘timeout.’

Film debut: Sarah appeared in the 2007 film St Trinian’s (pictured) as a school band member

Branching out: She also appeared in the critically-panned comedy Run For Your Wife opposite Danny Dyer in 2011

The songstress then replied to fans: ‘Fankooo lovelies. Missed you all…. Hope Ur all well and staying safe xxx’

And she was not done there, the Promise singer then celebrated by Star Wars Day by adding ‘#MayThe4thBeWithYou,’ before telling fans she was a ‘new found fan girl’ of the franchise.

Finally, Sarah retweeted a post from a Girls Aloud fan that said: ’15 years ago today #GirlsAloud opened up their amazing debut Tour ‘What Will The Neighbours Say?’. What’s your favourite track from the album?’   

The singer revealed her diagnosis to fans on Instagram on Tuesday along with a snap taken from her hospital bed, and said she was ‘fighting as hard as she could.’

Sarah’s post was soon flooded with support, from fans and stars alike, including her bandmates Cheryl – who tweeted a heartbreaking emoji – and Nadine Coyle.  

She wrote: ‘Hi everyone, I hope you are all keeping safe and well during these uncertain times. I’ve not posted on here for so long, thank you to everyone who has reached out to check in on me, it really does mean a lot. 

On cloud nine: Sarah made a triumphant return to screens on Celebrity Big Brother in 2017, where she found love with US reality star Chad Johnson (pictured)

Racy: Their steamy romance, which saw them engage in intimate acts on TV, set tongues wagging as the belter had a boyfriend of four weeks at the time

‘I feel now is the right time to share what’s been going on. There’s no easy way to say this and actually it doesn’t even feel real writing this, but here goes. 

‘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.’  

Sarah continued: ‘I’m currently undergoing weekly chemotherapy sessions and I am fighting as hard as I possibly can. I understand this might be shocking to read on social media and that really isn’t my intention. 

‘But last week it was mentioned online that I had been seen in hospital, so I feel now is the time to let people know what’s going on and this is the best way I can think of to do so. 

‘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. 

‘I am doing my very best to keep positive and will keep you updated here with how I’m getting on. In the meantime I hope you’ll all understand and respect my request for privacy during this difficult time. Sending you all so much love….xx.’

Sad:  Sarah revealed she’s been diagnosed with breast cancer and it has spread to ‘other parts of her body’ on Wednesday

Tragic: Sarah took to Instagram on Tuesday to reveal her diagnosis, and told fans she’d been battling the disease for several months with weekly chemotherapy sessions

 Sarah’s post was soon flooded with supportive comments from fans, with bandmate Cheryl posting a love heart emoji.

Nadine also tweeted: ‘I love you!!! You have always been able to achieve miracles when needed!! I am here for the all the way & always will be!!!’

Steps Ian ‘H’ Watkins also wrote: ‘Sending HUGE ❤️❤️❤️ Stay Strong xx We’re all behind you xx.’

TOWIE’s Jess Wright also responded with a flurry of heart emojis, while singer Michelle Gayle wrote: ‘Love you honey. xxx’

If you have been affected by this story, call Macmillan Cancer Support on 0808 808 00 00 

Support: Sarah’s post was soon flooded with messages, with bandmates Cheryl (top)  and Nadine Coyle offering their support

 

Moving: Following Sarah’s announcement, a flurry of stars rushed to share their support

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world and affects more than two MILLION women a year

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world. Each year in the UK there are more than 55,000 new cases, and the disease claims the lives of 11,500 women. In the US, it strikes 266,000 each year and kills 40,000. But what causes it and how can it be treated?

What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer develops from a cancerous cell which develops in the lining of a duct or lobule in one of the breasts.

When the breast cancer has spread into surrounding breast tissue it is called an ‘invasive’ breast cancer. Some people are diagnosed with ‘carcinoma in situ’, where no cancer cells have grown beyond the duct or lobule.

Most cases develop in women over the age of 50 but younger women are sometimes affected. Breast cancer can develop in men though this is rare.

Staging means how big the cancer is and whether it has spread. Stage 1 is the earliest stage and stage 4 means the cancer has spread to another part of the body.

The cancerous cells are graded from low, which means a slow growth, to high, which is fast growing. High grade cancers are more likely to come back after they have first been treated.

What causes breast cancer?

A cancerous tumour starts from one abnormal cell. The exact reason why a cell becomes cancerous is unclear. It is thought that something damages or alters certain genes in the cell. This makes the cell abnormal and multiply ‘out of control’.

Although breast cancer can develop for no apparent reason, there are some risk factors that can increase the chance of developing breast cancer, such as genetics.

What are the symptoms of breast cancer?

The usual first symptom is a painless lump in the breast, although most breast lumps are not cancerous and are fluid filled cysts, which are benign. 

The first place that breast cancer usually spreads to is the lymph nodes in the armpit. If this occurs you will develop a swelling or lump in an armpit.

How is breast cancer diagnosed?

  • Initial assessment: A doctor examines the breasts and armpits. They may do tests such as a mammography, a special x-ray of the breast tissue which can indicate the possibility of tumours.
  • Biopsy: A biopsy is when a small sample of tissue is removed from a part of the body. The sample is then examined under the microscope to look for abnormal cells. The sample can confirm or rule out cancer.

If you are confirmed to have breast cancer, further tests may be needed to assess if it has spread. For example, blood tests, an ultrasound scan of the liver or a chest x-ray.

How is breast cancer treated?

Treatment options which may be considered include surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and hormone treatment. Often a combination of two or more of these treatments are used.

  • Surgery: Breast-conserving surgery or the removal of the affected breast depending on the size of the tumour.
  • Radiotherapy: A treatment which uses high energy beams of radiation focussed on cancerous tissue. This kills cancer cells, or stops cancer cells from multiplying. It is mainly used in addition to surgery.
  • Chemotherapy: A treatment of cancer by using anti-cancer drugs which kill cancer cells, or stop them from multiplying
  • Hormone treatments: Some types of breast cancer are affected by the ‘female’ hormone oestrogen, which can stimulate the cancer cells to divide and multiply. Treatments which reduce the level of these hormones, or prevent them from working, are commonly used in people with breast cancer.

How successful is treatment?

The outlook is best in those who are diagnosed when the cancer is still small, and has not spread. Surgical removal of a tumour in an early stage may then give a good chance of cure.

The routine mammography offered to women between the ages of 50 and 70 mean more breast cancers are being diagnosed and treated at an early stage.

For more information visit breastcancercare.org.uk or www.cancerhelp.org.uk

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