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Linda Nolan reveals she's ready for love amid her cancer journey

The star has just toasted her 65th birthday with her loved ones

Linda Nolan poses for HELLO! photoshoot
Emily Horan
Entertainment Editor
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Her blue eyes twinkling as she strikes a pose for the camera, Linda Nolan is in the mood to celebrate as HELLO! joins her for our exclusive interview and photoshoot. 

The star has just toasted her 65th birthday – a milestone that, at times, she thought she might never reach. "I'm 65; my god! It's unbelievable," says Linda, who remains radiant and upbeat despite living with incurable but treatable cancer.

And the best gift of all was receiving last week the good news that the cancer in her brain has not spread. "On my 60th birthday, my wish was that I could make it to one more birthday. I said to one of my sisters the other day: 'Oh my god – it's been five years since then.'"

Linda Nolan poses for HELLO! photoshoot
The star has just toasted her 65th birthday – a milestone that, at times, she thought she might never reach

Indeed, if anyone understands the importance of not taking such occasions for granted, it's Linda. 

"People have been asking me what's on my bucket list. Meeting George Clooney would be nice," quips the star, adding with a glint in her eye that she is keen to find love again, after being married to her late husband Brian for 26 years. "If a George Clooney lookalike came along, it would be hard to resist, but if he had the personality of a mouse, I wouldn't be interested," she says. "There has to be humour and romance. Not too much to ask for, is it?"

As well as joining HELLO! at the five-star Boulevard Hotel in Blackpool, Linda has been celebrating her birthday with her close-knit family, which includes her beloved sisters Coleen, Maureen, Anne and Denise, with whom she skyrocketed to fame in the 1970s as part of award-winning group The Nolans. 

They count the international hit I'm in the Mood for Dancing and tracks including Attention to Me and Gotta Pull Myself Together among their back catalogue, and have sold more than 30 million records worldwide, making them one of the most successful girl groups of all time.

"Even at 65, there's still a cake hidden from me, which is brought out while everyone sings Happy Birthday," says Linda, who spent her special day last Friday going out for brunch in Blackpool's Stanley Park, near to where she lives with older sister Denise. Joining the party were Anne, Denise and her partner and a group of Linda's school friends, before the celebrations ended with a relaxing evening at home with a Chinese takeaway.

Linda Nolan poses for HELLO! photoshoot
"If a George Clooney lookalike came along, it would be hard to resist," she said

Spending time with her loved ones has been Linda's priority since she was told her cancer was incurable but treatable. She was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006, after finding a lump. She then discovered that she had cancer in her pelvis in 2017 after she fell up the stairs. A scan revealed not only a crack between her pelvis and her hip bone, but also the presence of cancer. By 2020, it had spread to her liver, and last March, it spread to her brain.

Despite all she is going through, Linda's irrepressible spirit and wicked sense of humour still shine through – as is the case when she tells us about a recent wild night out at the opening show of her younger sister Coleen's solo tour. 

"I got so tipsy," she says with a laugh. "We were nervous for Coleen, so we had a glass of prosecco. I'm not sure my oncologist would be too happy with that. I always say to him: 'I do avoid alcohol – it just keeps bumping into me!'"

Linda is currently having immunotherapy and radiotherapy, having halted weekly chemotherapy sessions when they stopped working.

Linda Nolan poses for HELLO! photoshoot
"It's great to have a strong family around me; I can't imagine doing it on my own," she said

"Don't get me wrong; I'm so angry [at the situation], but I think that's what makes me fight it so much," says Linda, whose younger sister Bernie died of breast cancer at the age of 52 in 2013. Her elder sister Anne has also had breast cancer twice. "Somebody once asked Bernie: 'Do you ever think: 'Why me?'" and she replied: 'No. Why not me?'"

The day before her birthday, Linda received the results of her latest three-monthly CT and MRI scans, which showed her treatment is working. "I thought: 'Whatever the news is, I'll still be having a party,'" she says. "I was a bit more stressed this time, because I've noticed my mobility is wobbly and my speech is starting to sound like I'm drunk. But I'm in a boxing match against cancer. My oncologist always says: 'We're in a marathon, not a sprint.'"

When her balance and mobility started to be affected – which also, sadly, forced her to stop performing – Denise insisted that Linda lived with her.

Indeed, her loved ones are a vital pillar of strength. "It's great to have a strong family around me; I can't imagine doing it on my own," she says. What's more, Linda's sisters have several children and grandchildren between them, and she has found that having little ones around can be refreshing amid the challenges of living with cancer.

"When I told Maureen's granddaughter Roma [now eight] in 2020 that I was going to lose my hair again, Roma went: 'Oh no!' Maureen said: 'Roma! Auntie Linda looks beautiful even without hair,' and Roma replied: 'No she doesn't,'" says the star with a laugh. "Sometimes our humour is a little dark, but it's our way of dealing with it."

Linda Nolan poses for HELLO! photoshoot
"Don't get me wrong; I'm so angry [at the situation], but I think that's what makes me fight it so much," said Linda

Linda, who now rocks a stylish silvery blonde pixie cut, has lost her hair to chemotherapy four times. "When we were in the group, like with the Spice Girls, you all have your 'thing'. I was the blonde with big boobs, so to lose my hair and have a mastectomy, everything was taken away. I felt like half a woman, initially," she recalls. "It's all right to be down about losing your hair, but it will grow back." With her quick wit never far away, she adds: "I'm identifying as a sheep! It's all white and curly."

Linda's glittering career in showbusiness started at the tender age of four, in 1963, when she formed The Singing Nolans with four of her sisters and two brothers, Tommy and Brian, after the clan moved from Dublin to Blackpool. She went on to light up the theatre stage, including playing Maggie May in Blackpool in the 1980s, starring alongside Paul O'Grady's Lily Savage in Prisoner Cell Block H: The Musical and joining the cast of West End musical Blood Brothers.

Although her singing career has touched the hearts of many, it's helping people by sharing her experience of cancer that Linda considers her biggest legacy.

Recently, she received a letter from a man whose late wife had been inspired by Linda during her own illness, explaining that she'd tell people she was "doing a Linda Nolan". The star says: "I was so moved by that. If I can just help one person, that's worth it." She also admires the King for speaking out about his own diagnosis, adding: "A lot of people will get checked because of him."

Linda Nolan poses for HELLO! shoot
"All that matters is getting my family together. I'm just happy to be here," she said

Naturally, Linda is fearful of what lies ahead. "When I was told I had brain cancer and that it was treatable but not curable, I was devastated. But that night I went to bed and dreamt of Bernie all night. We were laughing together," she says. "I woke up, went downstairs and told my sister Maureen: 'I'm not scared of dying any more. I've just dreamt about Bernie and she's going to be there – that's amazing.'"

The next thing to look forward to is celebrating Maureen's 70th birthday in June with a big family bash. "I'm doing the invitations and guest list. She just has to turn up and look nice, which won't be hard. I'm looking forward to that." Aside from that, Linda is taking each day as it comes. "All that matters is getting my family together. I'm just happy to be here," she says. "I look forward to tomorrow, because it's another day."

For more on Blackpool's Boulevard Hotel, visit

Photographer: Nicky Johnston 

Fashion stylist: Lorraine McCulloch

Makeup/hair: Hollie Fitzmartin

To read the rest of this interview, pick up the latest issue of HELLO! on sale in the UK on Monday. You can subscribe to HELLO! to get the magazine delivered free to your door every week or purchase the digital edition online via our Apple or Google apps.

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