cheryl's honesty is rare, and refreshing
Imagine this. Your husband cheats on you and you split up.
You are mocked for your weight loss, your clothing and your accent. Then you lose your job. All in the space of a couple of years.
Everything you thought you had achieved in life disappears. Washed up and spat out at 31.
It'd be hard for any of us, and for someone like Cheryl Cole - whose recent life I have just described - even harder. Because doing that with every tabloid and gossip website following your every move must be torture.
The Geordie singer has been off the radar for a while now. After her very public sacking from US X Factor in 2011 she spiralled into what she now knows was a breakdown.
In 2013 she decided to take a year out to sort her mental health, and is back on the UK X Factor judging panel.
Simon Cowell gave her the heave-ho in a text message. But Cole now says she knows that it was the right decision, because she "wasn't well in the head".
In an interview, she describes a type of remoteness from her own life that, once she identified it, worried her sick.
"I'd look in a mirror and think 'who the hell is she?' I didn't know what I thought or felt about anything,couldn't make decisions - I didn't even know what to eat or drink."
Aged 31, one of the most famous women in the UK had a nervous breakdown. There was no head shaving, no car crash, no drug or alcohol binge.
Like so many other people of every age, gender and profession, she gradually lost control of her thoughts and her health, and found herself sleepwalking through her own life.
"I became so desensitized, you could say terrible things to me and I wouldn't even think about it. I'd read awful stuff about myself and not blink. I shut down because I didn't know what else to do."
There is no shortage of celebrities with mental health problems. But what is unusual is that Cole was able to find some space to sort her head out.
She has come out the other side sure of who she is again. The tone of her comments is matter-of-fact. It's straightforward - this happens, it was terrible, but it's survivable - and honest.
That honesty will be worth a lot to people who, in their own way and for their own reasons, are going through similar tough times.
Every person in the public eye who can say in total honesty that yes, there have been bad times, and yes, it is possible to survive them, is valuable.
Too often there is a focus on tragedy and the seemingly inevitable deaths of 'troubled' stars.
But Cheryl's honesty shows that there is no such thing as inevitable.