She and Oti are both dance captains on the new BBC talent search, but in the lead-up to the show, they were repeatedly forced to speak out over false rumours about them in the press.
First, The Sun claimed that Cheryl was being “sidelined” by producers, who were determined to push Oti more into the spotlight, which was rubbished by the BBC. The two later clarified a false rumour that they’d been feuding on set.
When these reports were brought up in a new interview with Metro, Cheryl joked: “Never! The woman and the woman? Who’da thunk?”
She continued: “It’s interesting, isn’t it? It’s 2019 and we’re still doing this to women and there’s not one conversation about Matthew [Morrison, fellow dance captain] being mentioned, with any sort of criticism or having a bitch fight, or Jordan [Banjo, the show’s presenter].
“It’s sexism and it’s systemic in our industry and it will take a while to unravel.”
Cheryl also noted that she and Oti never had a conversation pre-empting such rumours, adding that they were “too busy enjoying what we were doing”, but in hindsight “probably should have”.
Since her return to the music scene towards the end of last year, Cheryl has had to clarify negative stories about her in the press, mostly published by The Sun, on more than one occasion.
This eventually led to her posting a statement addressing the “relentless abuse” she’d been the subject of in the media.
She wrote: “I let a lot of things lie but the sheer level of unbalanced negativity towards me in the tabloid press these past few days has been frankly shocking and I need to address it. This level of relentless abuse should not be tolerated in any walk of life.”