Girls Aloud singer admits she felt paranoid after being charged with racial assault

Cheryl Cole has admitted that she became paranoid after being accused of racially aggravated assault in 2003.

The Girls Aloud star was convicted of punching a toilet attendant in a Guildford nightclub – but has always denied the incident was race related.

Cheryl – who was cleared of racially aggravated assault but found guilty of actual bodily harm – became desperately worried that her black pals would think she was racist.

‘I’ll never live that down,’ she says.

‘I had a phobia – if I saw a black friend of mine I was massively paranoid that they would think I said those things. I wouldn’t even look them in the eye. It was just the worst experience ever.’

And the the 24-year-old – who was branded a racist bully by the tabloids – says she still feels deeply upset by the whole episode.

‘The thing was – it couldn’t have been possibly further from what I was,’ she tells Observer Music Monthly.

‘And some of the things being written about me at the time – I was only 19. I was really disturbed for a very long time.’

The singer was ordered to undertake 120 hours of community service, pay £500 compensation to victim Sophie Amogbokpa and pay costs of £3,000.

Cheryl is now married to black footballer Ashley Cole.

Alison Adey