Worried fans flood social media all asking… what’s wrong with Cheryl Fernandez-Versini?

Cheryl Fernandez- Versini’s shrinking frame isn’t a new thing. But on the 21 November show,  wearing a floor-length, one-shoulder red dress that exposed her bony shoulder and tiny arm, it was a turning point. Swarms of fans took to Twitter, accusing the 32-year old of looking ‘ill’ and ‘gaunt’.

After posting a shot of her outfit on her Instagram account after the show, it immediately attracted hundreds of comments from concerned fans who were shocked to see their idol looking so frail. ‘What’s happened, you look so unhealthy babe?!’ said one. ‘This is very worrying,’ commented another.

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In July, Cheryl defended herself against comments posted on her Instagram account by trolls calling her a ‘bag of bones’. Cheryl ranted: ‘I would never dream of calling somebody too fat and that they should maybe cut down on their food intake? You have no idea what I have been through. Just losing my father-in-law very recently and everything that comes with that. Not that I am or should justify myself to anyone. I’m so f***ing sick of people thinking it’s OK to be mean or body shame anyone. And it’s woman on woman. Have some respect and maybe think there may be reasons why before opening your mouth please.’

Then in August, a calmer Cheryl addressed her very apparent weight loss, assuring fans: ‘I’m not anorexic. I work 12 to 14 hours a day. I don’t even have time at the moment to exercise – and I don’t need to either. It’s nice that people are concerned, but… you can see I’m completely and utterly well and happy.’

Admitting that her weight has dropped recently, Cheryl – who’s always vehemently denied she has an eating disorder – posted this emotional statement on Instagram: ‘The other side of body shaming is skinny shaming. How often do you hear someone say: “Give that girl a sandwich” or: “She needs a good feed”? Everyone says they want the “perfect body” but when a girl is just that bit too skinny, in your eyes, she gets judged.’

Yet the avalanche of concern continued to gather pace across social media, with make-up contouring on her face seeming to accentuate her sunken cheeks and pinched nose.

Refusing to comment on the reaction, Cheryl stood defiant the following night, opting for a black minidress, slashed to the waist, that showed off her skinny legs – when previously she’s said: ‘I hate my legs. I cover them up as much as possible’ – and wearing her hair scraped back in a bun, which did nothing to detract from the public’s concerns about her weight.

While friends and colleagues continue to leap to her defence – even Simon Cowell has argued that she ‘eats like a horse’ and insisted: ‘This isn’t someone who’s trying to make herself thin’ – for Cheryl it’s business as usual.