Cheryl 'Hurt After Criminal Brother Refused Her Help'
Chezza reveals her family was torn apart by a shock confession in new book...
Cheryl Cole has opened up about her family life in the latest extract from her tell-all book, revealing how her brother went off the rails after discovering their father was not his biological dad.
The Girls Aloud star addresses her underprivileged background when growing up in a council estate in Byker, Newcastle, recalling how older sibling Andrew was like a "crazy person" when he discovered the news - which left her feeling sick.
Writing in her autobiography Cheryl: My Story - which is being serialised in The Sun - the 29-year old says: "My brother Andrew had burst in the front door in a terrible rage. I'd never ever seen him in such a state and he started ranting and raving at my mum and dad.
"They looked really worried and my heart started beating super-fast. 'I'll explain it,' mum said. Her eyes looked sad and she had deep frown lines in her forehead.
"Dad had gone all quiet, which panicked me. The atmosphere felt chaotic. 'Is dad my real dad?' Andrew screamed in my mum's face.''I swear the clock stopped for a second. He said someone told him in the street that my dad wasn't his real dad. Andrew was going so berserk that he looked like a crazy person. But however mad he looked, this was sounding horribly realistic.''
Chezza then tells how mum Joan Callaghan gathered her children around the table to reveal how her older brother Joe, Andrew and sister Gillian had a different father to Cheryl - who was 11 at the time - and younger sibling Garry.
The Under The Sun singer tells how the shock confession tore her family apart - with sister Gillian even running away - with Cheryl stating she believes the incident caused the breakdown of her parents marriage and marked the start of Andrew's criminal behaviour.
She explains: "Andrew started running away a lot too and began sniffing glue — though I couldn’t tell you exactly when his habit started. I’d lie in bed waiting for him to come home.
"This wasn’t the first time he’d been in trouble. He was done for thieving at 13, but the bizzies, as we called the police, were always knocking on doors all over our estate.
"Andrew became more and more volatile and before long was unrecognisable as my funny brother. Mam and Dad split not long after. Dad had an affair and Mam tried to take him back, but they couldn’t make it work any more.
"The stress of bringing up five kids on her own, with the police banging at the door all the time, must have been hard to cope with.
"When Andrew was 15 he stabbed someone in a fight. This guy had punched Gillian in a pub. Everyone was in pieces. People were talking about prison, and I was lying awake again, worrying myself sick.
"He got six years and was locked up in a young offenders’ institution to start with as he was too young for adult jail."
Cheryl continues: "I’d be 18 when he got out, so felt part of my childhood was taken away too. We’d moved into a house in Heaton, not far from our old home in Byker.
"When Andrew left prison I assumed being locked up would have taught him a lesson and that he’d put his criminal past behind him and start a new life.
"Unfortunately by the time of my wedding [to footballer Ashley Cole], he was in prison again. And to be honest I didn’t want to know the details of his latest offence.
"I went to see him in prison before the wedding. 'Why can’t you stop?' I begged him. 'You’re devastating the whole family. Why can’t you just change your ways?' He shrugged and looked me in the face. 'I’m too far gone.'
"I left in floods of tears. I had the means to help him now if only he wanted to be helped — but he clearly didn’t. That hurt like hell."
Cole adds: "He had 50 convictions by now, and was as addicted to alcohol and drugs as he was to crime. His life was bleak and hopeless. But I still dared to hope he might want to reform one day.”