Girls Aloud’s tragic body battles – extreme diets, taped into outfits and ‘fat-shamed’ – Irish Mirror

Girls Aloud rose to fame slap bang in the middle of one of the most dangerous body obsessions of recent times – size zero.

Suddenly it wasn’t enough to be fit and healthy – instead, protruding clavicles and hip bones were suddenly the look to aspire to.

Thankfully, those days are long gone but for a young Cheryl, Sarah Harding, Kimberley Walsh, Nicola Roberts and Nadine Coyle – who parted ways eight years ago today – the pressure to look the part was immense.

So much so that Cheryl once told how she sobbed and sobbed because she weighed 9st 7lbs, which for her height meant she had a perfectly healthy BMI of 22.5.

“In the first year of Girls Aloud, I went up to a 29in waist. I remember crying because I was 9 and a half stone when I’m only 5ft 3in,” she told Vogue, recalling how she cut out all carbs in a bid to shed pounds.



Sarah Harding, Nadine Coyle, Nicola Roberts, Cheryl and Kimberley Walsh were barely out of their teens when they joined Girls Aloud
Sarah Harding, Nadine Coyle, Nicola Roberts, Cheryl and Kimberley Walsh were barely out of their teens when they joined Girls Aloud

“Jennifer Aniston was doing the Atkins diet at the time and I thought I’d give it a try,” Cheryl, now 37, continued.

“I remember I ate the same thing – chicken in cream sauce with a couple of carrots – every night for weeks. I felt just horrible, but I was on this mission.”

Kimberley, now 39, also tried diet after diet, attempting Atkins before moving onto the cereal diet.

“I tried the Atkins diet religiously for three weeks. I lost 8lb, but as soon as I got fed up with it the weight came back on,” she previously said.



The girls turned to fad diets as the size zero phenomenon raged
The girls turned to fad diets as the size zero phenomenon raged

“So I tried the cereal diet, which is two bowls of cereal a day and then one proper meal in the evening. It worked, but the same thing happened.”

And last year, Nadine, 35, told how their fluctuating weight between tours meant they had to be gaffer taped into their skimpy outfits.

She told the My Wardrobe Malfunction podcast: “‘So you would do tour, you’re in tour shape and you’ve been rehearsing, your dancers are throwing you around, you’re in the shape of your life and you get into the costumes and it’s great.

“Then because your body’s used to the routines you’re enjoying catering, so things are loosening up a bit and the clothes are getting tighter.



July 2003: Kimberley Walsh of Girls Aloud performing on stage at the Capital Radio Party in Hyde Park, London.
Kimberley tried everything from Atkins to the cereal diet

“Then we would take maybe a week or two off and then come back to summer festivals and basically use the same tour costumes.

“The stylist would just have rolls of gaffer tape just on the side, just knowing whoever’s going to walk off and turn around or bend over… and the gaffer tape is just out. It’s just stuck together just in an instant.”

In 2003, reports surfaced that the girls’ management had hired them all personal trainers and Cheryl once famously fell out with Girls Aloud manager Louis Walsh after she accused him of taking aim at their size.

“Louis had come out publicly and said, ‘They’re all fat. They all need to lose weight,'” she told Marie Claire in 2012.



Jun 2003: Cheryl performing with Girls Aloud at Reading Festival
Cheryl said the band was sent away to slim down at a boot camp

“And the record label sent us all to have training.”

Louis was stunned by her comments, which also included an accusation that he’d left them to manage themselves, and said: “As far as I’m concerned, our friendship is over.

“I’ve no idea why she’s made these comments but, in my eyes, it says a lot about her.

“I was always the first to defend her on the X Factor, and always watched her back. I thought we were friends.”

Kimberley also claimed Louis had an issue with their size.



Girls Aloud
Gils Aloud were teenagers when they first found fame

“We were doing our video for Love Machine in 2004 and Louis Walsh waltzed in and said to us, ‘Oh, none of you are fat any more! Brilliant, that’s great,'” she recalled in 2017.

“I was like, ‘OK! There it is …’

“That was the first time I thought, ‘OK maybe my weight is an issue.’”

However, she said they’ve since buried the hatchet, telling Buzz he’s just not the most ‘tactful’ man.

“I have spoken to Louis about it since, and we’ve joked about it. He is a character but he’s just so blunt,” she said.

“I don’t think he really thinks it through, but thankfully we were all quite strong minded so it didn’t actually have an impact on us. He’s not the most tactful man, bless him,”

These days the mother-of-two, who is pregnant with her third child, refuses to follow fad diets, explaining that age has brought her a newfound sense of peace with her body.



Girls Aloud back in 2012
Girls Aloud back in 2012

“You obviously do get happier when you get into your thirties. You’re sort of more comfortable with who you are and I stopped dieting,” she said.

“But in those early teen years I spent so much time on these stupid fad diets. The cabbage soup diet, the Atkins . . . I have done them all.

“They work for a week then you miss everything you can’t eat. It was a massive waste of time. I wouldn’t do that again. Just live.”

Were you glad to see the back of the size zero trend? Share your thoughts in the comments section below…