Noon in a hotel suite in London. Nadine Coyle flew in this morning on the red-eye from Los Angeles. Doubtless on first class, but her beautiful brown eyes look tired all the same.
She looks like she could do with a good night’s sleep. This is the perfect opportunity, perhaps, to catch her on the hop about the exact nature of the relationship with a certain other pop star.
So, do you and Cheryl Cole hate each other, I ask. “Absolutely not,” she says immediately, “I definitely don’t hate her.” Glad that’s cleared up. If not hatred, what then? How do you get on with her? “Good. Really, really good.”
She doesn’t appear to be lying through her immaculate, almost blindingly white teeth. Or maybe she is disguising it with the blurriness of transatlantic jet-lag. I bash on, nonetheless, with the same line of questioning.
Isn’t there a perception that you weren’t there for Cheryl when her marriage to Chelsea footballer, Ashley Cole, broke up last summer, and she fled to Los Angeles where you live?
“I’m not psychic,” Nadine says coolly. “So I don’t know if her marriage is broke up. I don’t know if she’s in LA unless she’ll tell me.”
And why wouldn’t she have rung you if she was in LA? “I don’t know. Ask her.”
Does it not say something about your friendship that she didn’t pick up the phone? “I don’t know.”
But you have her phone as well, don’t you? “Yes. I do. I sent her a message when her single came out. I sent her ‘Good luck. Must hook up.’ Everything’s grand, as far as I’m concerned.”
I ask if Mrs Cole replied to her text message. Nadine shakes her head. “She didn’t come back to me.”
So, what is it between you two? There must be something up in paradise. “I swear to God, I don’t know,” she says of the controversial relationship.
It is a relationship that has kept Heat and Grazia in front pages for more than a year now. It has been the water-cooler topic du jour for almost as long. We are all — even a 43-year-old, middle-aged man like me — intrigued by it. She and Cheryl have been in Girls Aloud together since 2002. Nadine denies there has been any falling-out between them.
“Never,” the Derry anti-diva says. “Never a falling-out. Never. Never a cross word. Never had an issue. There’s never been anything. No cause for us to fall out. No cause for me to fall out with any of the girls.”
But why didn’t she contact you, or you contact her when she was in LA when her marriage had broken up? “She might have other friends. Maybe she was hanging out with other friends. You know, maybe she was doing her own thing. She is totally within her own rights to do that. And just because we were in a band together doesn’t mean we have to sit in each other’s pockets and know everything that’s going on. Do you know everything about people you work with?”
Well said. It is a fair point. Nadine is padding around her sumptuous suite in Soho. She is dressed to the nines. She looks more like she is dressed to attend the Oscars rather than talk up her new album, Insatiable, for LIFE magazine.