Cheryl Cole was hit by storms as she conquered Mount Kilimanjaro yesterday… and now flies home to give shamed husband Ashley Cole a blast of his own.
Exhausted and frozen to the bone, Geordie Cheryl Cole, 25, and eight other members of the Comic Relief mountaineering team, saw four of their tents blown away after reaching the 19,300ft summit.
The Girls Aloud singer and X Factor judge said of the climb: “It has been without question the single most mentally and physically challenging experience of my life.”
Tomorrow she heads home for a war summit with Chelsea and England star Ashley, 28, after his nightclub arrest for being drunk and disorderly.
Cheryl will demand to know why Ashley – photographed deep in conversation with a beautiful woman in the bar – had broken a promise not to go out clubbing while she was away. His lawyers claim he was having an “intellectual conversation”.
Pals say Cheryl’s priority is to grill Ashley about exactly what happened late on Wednesday night in West London when she was suffering in the cold on her gruelling eight-day ascent.
A friend of Cheryl said: “She wants to hear the truth about what happened from Ashley’s lips. He made a series of promises last year after he was accused of cheating. He vowed to stay out of trouble and to stop going out clubbing without her. But she is distraught that he appears to have breached that trust. Cheryl showed sheer grit to reach the top, especially as she had been suffering altitude sickness. She should be celebrating. Instead, she is heading home to confront Ashley.
“She was informed about what was happening back home as she crossed the halfway line on her ascent. She did not say anything but focused her emotions on the climb. She has proved what a tough woman she is.”
Cheryl could barely muster a smile in the early hours of yesterday as she posed with fellow climbers Denise Van Outen and Fearne Cotton at the highest point in Africa, where temperatures had fallen to -15C.
Cheryl said: “Nothing could have prepared me for what I was up for. I’m so proud of all of us for making it to the top but it is the end result that was the sole purpose of this trip and one of my most rewarding experiences.”
A Comic Relief source said: “The conditions on the summit were so bad the climbers only paused briefly to have pictures taken. Then they retreated to a nearby campsite where they were supposed to spend Saturday evening. Conditions were too treacherous and they had to start their descent two hours later. It took enormous courage and stamina to start walking again so soon after a nine-hour climb. They showed real guts.”
Ben Shephard, Fearne, Denise, Cheryl, bandmate Kimberley Walsh, Ronan Keating, Gary Barlow and Chris Moyles and Strictly Come Dancing star Alesha Dixon all reached the peak in the early hours yesterday. They raised more than £1.4million for charity.
They are due to catch a flight back to London which will land tomorrow afternoon. Chelsea left-back Cole was arrested on Thursday after kicking off at police, furious that he had been photographed inside The Collection club chatting to the blonde on a night out with Blues skipper John Terry.
Last year Cheryl walked out on Ashley amid claims he bedded a hairdresser. She eventually moved back in and decided to stand by him – but only after insisting on a series of promises. Ashley spent three hours in custody in Chelsea police station after his arrest and was released with an £80 fine for being drunk and disorderly.
He will be with Chelsea in Italy until Wednesday, when he will return for the summit with Cheryl.