Belfast Telegraph

New hairdo for birthday girl Cole

Cheryl Cole appears to have made a fresh start following her dramatic X Factor USA exit - swapping her long brunette locks for a new blonde hairstyle.

The singer, who is celebrating her 28th birthday, was pictured with the ash-blonde, shoulder-length bob on her first public appearance since the fiasco that saw her axed as a judge just three weeks after being hired.

She has spent almost five weeks out of the spotlight, but stepped out in style on Wednesday unveiling her new image on a trip to the US Embassy in London.

Newcastle-born Cole, who will hold a star-studded birthday party on Friday, made the visit to the Grosvenor Square embassy to renew her visa.

Sporting dark sunglasses, dark trousers and leather jacket over a tulip print vest top, the star looked in high spirits, smiling and chatting with passers-by.

The location of her birthday bash - which is costing a reported £20,000 - remains a secret, but Girls Aloud band mates Kimberley Walsh, Nicola Roberts and Sarah Harding, X Factor judges and record company executives are understood to be attending.

It is not known whether ex-husband and Chelsea star Ashley Cole has been invited. The couple, who married in 2006, separated last year.

Cole was dropped from the X Factor USA show last month, with boss Simon Cowell saying he was worried she would be uncomfortable in America.

He said he offered to give her a place back in the UK show and, when she refused that, offered to take her back to the US, but she turned him down again.

Cowell has not received an invite to Cole's birthday party, according to reports.

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