Chezza opens up to Now about how she really feels about the Black Eyed Peas genius

Cheryl Cole‘s been linked to Black Eyed Peas star Will.i.am but there’s no romance, she insists.

‘He’s my mentor,’ she tells Now. ‘A fairy godfather! Before him I’d never considered going solo.

‘I was doing Girls Aloud and I was very happy with that.

‘About a year before we’d agreed to take a break, I was watching MTV with the girls and Will came on the news.

‘He was asked: “Are there any British acts you’d like to collaborate with?” and he said: “There’s two: U2 and Cheryl Cole.”

‘We all burst out laughing but from then on he was persistent. He said: “What are you gonna do, take a year out or make a record? Let’s make a record.”

‘He said to the girls: “It doesn’t have to affect you. Cheryl can do it and she can come back.”

‘So why wouldn’t I? He’s a genius.

‘It’s, like, one of the biggest compliments for him to even care about who I am, let alone when I make music.’

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