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Who is Linda Nolan? MailOnline looks back at her career in one of the world’s biggest girl groups

Who is Linda Nolan? After the singer bravely revealed cancer has spread to her brain, MailOnline has taken a look back at her career in one of the world


Linda Nolan revealed on Monday that her cancer had spread to her brain in a heartbreaking interview on Good Morning Britain.

The singer, who recently celebrated her 64th birthday, was first diagnosed with stage three breast cancer in 2005 before getting the all-clear in 2006.

Then in 2017, she was diagnosed with a form of incurable secondary cancer in her hip, which later spread to her liver in 2020.  

Linda – known as ‘Naughty Nolan’ by fans – shot to fame as one of the world’s biggest selling girl groups, enjoying seven international hits including I’m In The Mood For Dancing.

Now, MailOnline takes a look back at her successful career, which saw her outsell The Beatles in Japan, tour with Frank Sinatra and bag seven UK top 20 hits.

Who is Linda Nolan? After the singer bravely revealed cancer has spread to her brain, MailOnline has taken a look back at her career in one of the world’s biggest groups

Hot stuff: Linda became known as ‘Naughty Nolan’ due to her racy photoshoots (pictured in 1984)

The Nolans

With the band, she lent her vocals to hits including Gotta Pull Myself Together, Who’s Gonna Rock You, Attention To Me and Chemistry.

An original member of The Nolans from its conception in 1974, Linda remained a firm fixture until her departure in 1983.

Performing alongside her sisters Maureen, Anne, Bernie, Denise and Coleen, they even won the prestigious Tokyo Music Festival in 1981.

Despite leaving the group in 1983, ‘Naughty Nolan’ dusted off her microphone for TV performances with her siblings in 2005 and 2007, as well as a UK & Ireland tour in 2009.

Linda became known as ‘Naughty Nolan’ due to her racy photoshoots.

Family: The Nolan Sisters are pictured in 1981 [back left to right Maureen, Anne and the late Bernie, front left to right Linda and Denise]

Family: The Nolan Sisters are pictured in 1981 [back left to right Maureen, Anne and the late Bernie, front left to right Linda and Denise]

Musicals 

Upon her band departure, she took on the part of Maggie May at Blackpool’s Central Pier for eight summer seasons between 1986 and 93, which saw her clock up over 1,000 performances.

During the 90s, Linda also starred in Rosie O’ Grady’s on Blackpool’s South Pier before touring the UK in Prisoner: Cell Block H – The Musical, alongside Paul O’Grady.

Taking her career to the West End, from 2000 she starred in the Blood Brothers as Mrs Johnstone, following in the footsteps of Bernie and Denise and preceding Maureen.

This earned the sisters a place in the Guinness World Records, as the most siblings to play the same role in one musical.

On the road: In the 90s, she toured the UK in Prisoner: Cell Block H – The Musical, alongside Paul O’Grady (pictured in 1996)

Talented: Taking her career to the West End, from 2000 she starred in the Blood Brothers as Mrs Johnstone, following in the footsteps of Bernie and Denise and preceding Maureen

Personal life 

Linda married her late husband Brian Hudson in 1981, two years after meeting.

Originally, The Nolans’ tour manager, they remained together until his tragic death in 2007 from liver failure. He was just 60.

In 2014, Linda claimed she had fallen victim to paedophile Rolf Harris, who molested her when she was 15.

She alleged the late artist attacked her while she was backstage in South Africa – where she and her sisters were due to perform.

Then 84, he was jailed for five years and nine months at Southwark Crown Court for 12 indecent assaults on four victims including his daughter’s best friend and an eight-year-old.

Soulmates: Linda married her late husband Brian Hudson in 1981, two years after meeting (pictured in 1981)

Tragic: Linda lost Brian to skin cancer in 2007, just one year after she was diagnosed with breast cancer for the first time (pictured in 1984)

Health struggles and latest update

During Monday’s Good Morning Britain, she told presenters Susanna Reid and Richard Madeley: ‘I’ve always been hopeful with my treatment and what’s going on in my life.

‘I just want to tell you unfortunately for me my cancer has spread to my brain and that’s obviously frightening because there isn’t much treatment for brain cancer except for chemotherapy.’

She added: ‘I’m not giving up. I’m positive. I’m going to lose my hair again for the fourth time’

She told ITV viewers: ‘I’ve moved back in with my sister to live, I was having falls, the cancer in my brain was affecting my balance and I had three quite nasty falls.

‘So, as usual, my amazing family – I’m back living with my sister Denise and her partner. Maureen has been looking after me for the past few weeks.

‘I’ve bought a wheelchair, we’re getting stuff ready for the inevitable really. It’s a scary trip to be on this one.’

Linda said she’s trying to remain positive: ‘I don’t know how long I’ve got left and that’s not me being morbid or anything, but I don’t know, none of us know really. So for me, it’s making the most of every day and spending it with people I love.

‘Just being positive: ‘Yes, I’ve beaten it before,’ I’ve been fighting it since 2005 originally and then I’ve beaten it before, so hopefully I can do the same again. Obviously, with the great help I’ve always had from the NHS.’

Brave: During Monday’s Good Morning Britain, she told presenters Susanna Reid and Richard Madeley: ‘I’ve always been hopeful with my treatment and what’s going on in my life’

Diagnosis: The singer, who recently celebrated her 64th birthday, was first diagnosed with stage three breast cancer in 2005 before getting the all-clear in 2006

Linda was supported by her famous sisters as she departed hospital in a wheelchair on Saturday. 

She was helped into a car by her sister Maureen, 68, who whom she sang alongside in her family pop group The Nolans in the 70s and 80s.

Linda is said to have suffered a ‘series of falls’ due to the chemotherapy, leaving her family ‘extremely worried.’

A source told The Mirror: ‘Linda has been prone to falls, but it’s a common side-effect of the chemotherapy she was on.

‘She had a series of falls a couple of weeks ago, just after her birthday. The family are extremely worried now and are rallying round to support and care for her.

‘Linda doesn’t feel safe in her home alone now. Everyone’s hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst.’

It comes after Linda shared a new health update as she tried out a brand new treatment for her cancer diagnosis.

TV personality Linda later had a fall on her hip which is when doctors discovered a form of incurable secondary breast cancer on her pelvis.

Tough: Linda is said to have suffered a ‘series of falls’ due to the chemotherapy, leaving her family ‘extremely worried’

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world and affects more than two MILLION women a year

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world. Each year in the UK there are more than 55,000 new cases, and the disease claims the lives of 11,500 women. In the US, it strikes 266,000 each year and kills 40,000. But what causes it and how can it be treated?

What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer develops from a cancerous cell which develops in the lining of a duct or lobule in one of the breasts.

When the breast cancer has spread into surrounding breast tissue it is called an ‘invasive’ breast cancer. Some people are diagnosed with ‘carcinoma in situ’, where no cancer cells have grown beyond the duct or lobule.

Most cases develop in women over the age of 50 but younger women are sometimes affected. Breast cancer can develop in men, though this is rare.

Staging means how big the cancer is and whether it has spread. Stage 1 is the earliest stage and stage 4 means the cancer has spread to another part of the body.

The cancerous cells are graded from low, which means a slow growth, to high, which is fast-growing. High-grade cancers are more likely to come back after they have first been treated.

What causes breast cancer?

A cancerous tumour starts from one abnormal cell. The exact reason why a cell becomes cancerous is unclear. It is thought that something damages or alters certain genes in the cell. This makes the cell abnormal and multiply ‘out of control’.

Although breast cancer can develop for no apparent reason, there are some risk factors that can increase the chance of developing breast cancer, such as genetics.

What are the symptoms of breast cancer?

The usual first symptom is a painless lump in the breast, although most breast lumps are not cancerous and are fluid filled cysts, which are benign. 

The first place that breast cancer usually spreads to is the lymph nodes in the armpit. If this occurs you will develop a swelling or lump in an armpit.

How is breast cancer diagnosed?

  • Initial assessment: A doctor examines the breasts and armpits. They may do tests such as a mammography, a special x-ray of the breast tissue which can indicate the possibility of tumours.
  • Biopsy: A biopsy is when a small sample of tissue is removed from a part of the body. The sample is then examined under a microscope to look for abnormal cells. The sample can confirm or rule out cancer.

If you are confirmed to have breast cancer, further tests may be needed to assess if it has spread. For example, blood tests, an ultrasound scan of the liver or a chest X-ray.

How is breast cancer treated?

Treatment options which may be considered include surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and hormone treatment. Often a combination of two or more of these treatments are used.

  • Surgery: Breast-conserving surgery or the removal of the affected breast depending on the size of the tumour.
  • Radiotherapy: A treatment which uses high energy beams of radiation focused on cancerous tissue. This kills cancer cells, or stops cancer cells from multiplying. It is mainly used in addition to surgery.
  • Chemotherapy: A treatment of cancer by using anti-cancer drugs which kill cancer cells, or stop them from multiplying.
  • Hormone treatments: Some types of breast cancer are affected by the ‘female’ hormone oestrogen, which can stimulate the cancer cells to divide and multiply. Treatments which reduce the level of these hormones, or prevent them from working, are commonly used in people with breast cancer.

How successful is treatment?

The outlook is best in those who are diagnosed when the cancer is still small, and has not spread. Surgical removal of a tumour in an early stage may then give a good chance of cure.

The routine mammography offered to women between the ages of 50 and 70 means more breast cancers are being diagnosed and treated at an early stage.

For more information visit breastcancernow.org or call its free helpline on 0808 800 6000

In 2020 she was diagnosed with the terrible disease for the third time, and has since received ongoing treatment which has seen her lose her hair and eyebrows, and has even caused her toenails to turn to ‘chalk’.

Since then, the star has been open with her fans about her journey to ‘do anything to stay alive’.

Writing to her followers on Tuesday, Linda posted on Twitter: ‘Had another great day today, trying out a brand new lymphedema treatment.

‘I’m astonished by the results and a little bit emotional. Can’t wait to show you the full before and afters in a few weeks time ❤️❤️❤️’

In 2021, Linda started treatment again but was left devastated when she learned it had not had the affect she’d hoped for.

She explained to The Sun: ‘I started the chemo again in September but the doctor said it hadn’t done what they hoped it would do. The tumours on my liver were enlarged and were growing, so they had to put me back on chemo again.

‘It was a shock. But I’ll do anything to stay alive. We agreed on a 12-week course, once a week every Friday.’

She said she spent two days in bed crying after being told the difficult news, questioning if she would be with her family for much longer.

Heartbreaking: In 2017 was diagnosed with a form of incurable secondary cancer in her hip, which later spread to her liver in 2020

‘I was thinking, ‘Will I see my great-nieces and nephews? Will I see them grow up and get married?’ But then I thought, ‘I don’t want to let cancer win.”

Her last sister Bernie was also a member of The Nolans but she died of breast cancer in 2013 aged 52.

Anne was previously diagnosed with breast cancer but is now in remission.

She went on to explain how she doesn’t say certain things about her illness to her family as she doesn’t want to upset them but finds comfort in humour, although she admits sometimes it is a little dark.

Linda has a WhatsApp group so she can update her family on any progress or test results and often jokes over the messenger service that she hopes the next family event they go to is not her funeral.

She says she has asked her doctors not to tell her how long they think she has left as she just wants to ‘make memories’ and she asked for a break from treatment, rescheduling her December chemotherapy so she could enjoy Christmas.

The star concluded: ‘Three of my nephews are getting married and Denise has her 70th coming up. My godson Danny, who is Maureen’s son, is getting married in Italy and that is my goal — to make sure I am there in August.

‘I am going to be there for all of those things. They are milestones. I am determined.’

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