Cole embarked on a solo career and released her first solo studio album 3 Words (2009) through Polydor records, 3 Words saw the release of three successful singles, the lead single from the album "Fight for This Love" debuted at number one on the UK charts becoming the best selling single of the year. "3 Words" and "Parachute" both peaked within the top five of the UK charts. 2010 saw the release of Cole's second studio album Messy Little Raindrops, which produced two singles, the first being "Promise This" which went straight to number one. Cole released her third solo album A Million Lights on 18 June 2012, with lead single "Call My Name" being released on 11 June 2012, the single became Cole's third number one single. During her solo career Cole has earned three BRIT Award nominations.
Cole has become a recognised and photographed style icon; referred to as a fashionista by the press. She has been photographed for the covers of British Vogue, Elle and Harper's Bazaar, while becoming the new face of cosmetic company L'Oreal. Cole was married to England footballer Ashley Cole from July 2006 until September 2010, when she divorced him following the announcement of their separation earlier that year. Cole became a judge on The X Factor in 2008, becoming the winning judge twice out of the three series she judged.
In 2011, Cole left the UK version of The X Factor to judge the American version. However, Cole was sacked from the show. Cole's net worth was estimated at ?15 million in April 2012. On 10 March 2014, it was announced that Cole would return as a judge on the U.K. version of The X Factor for its eleventh series, signing a ?1.5 million contract.
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