As the lead singer of The Pussycat Dolls, she sold more than 60 million records and helped form One Direction as a guest judge on The X Factor.
But Nicole Scherzinger says an embarrassing catsuit malfunction left her fearing her solo career would end in ruins at her first gig – when she was about to flaunt a youthful Justin Bieber.
Nicole, 45, opened up for the first time about the awkward moment, which happened on the TV talent show in front of a live studio audience in November 2010, when the Baby singer was just 16 years old.
She says: “My worst fear has come true. I went on stage and it was my first solo performance. It was on The X Factor and it was me and Justin Bieber.
“I was supposed to sing my new song Poison and I had on this catsuit that was tighter than a glove.
“I thought, ‘Here we go, are you ready for my world?’ I said, ‘Let me do my stretches’ – and the whole (crotch) area was wide open.”
The Don’t Cha singer adds with a laugh: “I have the best seamstress in the world.
“We were freaking out and they were counting down because it was live and the show must go on.
“She stitched the puppy up. I don’t know how it happened, but one movement and the whole thing could have come off my body.”
Nicole then performed in the black and red latex onesie and the show’s judges gave her a standing ovation as Poison rose to number 2 in the charts.
The mishap would have been doubly embarrassing as the star’s boyfriend at the time, Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton, was also in the audience.
Nicole spent seven turbulent years with Mercedes star Lewis until the lookalike couple split for the fourth and final time in 2015.
They reportedly split for good after the racer didn’t agree to marry her.
Family of strong women
Um, flash forward to today and Nicole is set to marry former Scottish rugby union star Thom Evans, 38, who she first met when she criticized his appearance on Celebrity X Factor in 2019.
They plan to get married in their native Hawaii.
Nicole says her beloved grandpa – a Roman Catholic priest – will officiate the ceremony and they are planning a lavish reception “somewhere in Europe.”
Nicole reveals that Thom was so nervous before meeting her people that he ended up drinking too much and taking his shirt off.
This encounter happened long before, after three years of dating, he fell on his knees and proposed marriage during a trip to romantic Vila Nova de Gaia in Portugal in June.
Appearing on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in the US, Nicole recalled: “It’s a lot to take in when you meet my family.
“My friend was a little scared, so he got drunk with my cousins and uncles.
“He got drunk and did a bit of Conor McGregor stuff and took his shirt off. I thought, ‘Your shirt is in my aunt’s living room!’ And my family was like, ‘We love it’.”
Before finding happily ever after, Nicole dated actor and host of America’s The Masked Singer, Nick Cannon.
The smitten TV star said she was the only woman he ever “chased” after they got together in 1999, but they split in 2000.
She then dated 311 singer Nick Hexum from 2000 to 2004 after meeting him backstage at one of his shows.
After Lewis, she found love with tennis star Grigor Dimitrov in 2015, but the couple split after almost four years.
The singer will eventually be eligible for a British passport following her marriage to Thom, assuming the globetrotting couple ends up settling on these shores for three years.
Nicole says her friends already see her as an “honorary British” and she has become such a fan of roast dinners that she can eat two in a day.
Even before she met her fiancé, she regularly flew to London to record music and work on television.
When she appeared as a guest judge on The
Of her role in the formation of One Direction, she says: “My thoughts were, ‘Look, I just came from a girl group and I know how successful and powerful a group can be, so we have to join.’ powers’.
“It’s amazing we didn’t have anything like this back then, so I’m glad I got to play a small role.
“When it happened and they were really successful, I couldn’t believe it.”
Simon Cowell ends up getting most of the credit for spotting the boy band potential, while Nicole appeared as a regular guest judge on the talent show.
Nicole and Simon are close friends. She says: “I think the first thing that comes to mind – I hate to say it – is that he’s really considerate and kind.
“I feel like if I really needed Simon, I could go to him and he would somehow be there.
“Even though he’s made a career out of destroying other people’s dreams and stuff like that, I think in some ways he still wants to make people happy.”
“People don’t see the charity work and the way he gives back behind the scenes. He has a good heart.”
Nicole’s glamorous life couldn’t be more different than her childhood in Louisville, Kentucky, where her mother Rosemary worked as a clerk and her stepfather Gary Scherzinger was a welder.
Money was tight and she supported her parents by working as a waitress and doing local modeling.
Her big break came when she flew to New York in 2003 to successfully audition for The Pussycat Dolls, joining her bandmates Melody Thornton, Carmit Bachar, Ashley Roberts, Jessica Sutta and Kimberly Wyatt.
Their debut album PCD was released in 2005 and with their raunchy burlesque performances and catchy songs, the Dolls scored a string of No. 1 hits until they took a break in 2009 to pursue solo careers.
Even after achieving fame and fortune, Nicole still speaks with the same southern touch she had from her childhood in Kentucky. But her heart remains in Hawaii, where she spent the first two years of her life.
She says: “I am of Hawaiian, Ukrainian and Filipino descent and in Hawaii we have large families.
“My Tutu – my grandma – and my dad have 80 grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I had to do a head count.
“My tutu had ten children, but she is only 18. We have more than 250 people in our family. It’s a whole island – seriously, it’s crazy.
“My great-grandmother had 18 natural births at home, so I come from a family of really strong, beautiful women.”
Super-fit Nicole stays in shape by exercising regularly, meditating, taking ice baths and following a strict diet.
However, occasionally she indulges in pasta, pizza, French fries, Mexican takeout, and salt and vinegar chips—and double fry, too.
The singer and Thom make raunchy workout videos in which they train in perfect sync and which receive millions of likes on social media.
But Nicole reveals they’re not as easy to film as the final product suggests because they argue frequently.
She admits, “You know, he’s a control freak and I’m a control freak.”
Ahead of the big day, Nicole continues to play Norma Desmond in the West End revival of the musical Sunset Boulevard, which runs at the Savoy Theater in London’s West End until January 6th.
While letting go of control can be scary for some people, Nicole is certainly no stranger to horrific scenarios – especially after she nearly came face-to-face with Justin Bieber, now 29, and a TV audience half-naked due to her wardrobe problem in 2010.
When asked what she thought was the scariest moment of her life, she replied: “Jumping out of a plane.
“We flew way above the clouds and I asked myself, ‘What was I thinking when I booked this?’
“And thank God I had a great teacher because he said, ‘Look up,’ then pushed me forward and said, ‘Go!’
“After two seconds it was like a bird and it was great.”