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Coleen Nolan says she fought off celebrity 'sleaze bags' as a teenager in the ‘80s

Jayne Cherrington-Cook
·3-min read
Coleen Nolan revealed that she had fought off the unwanted advances of some 'sleaze bags' back in the day (Getty)
Coleen Nolan revealed that she had fought off the unwanted advances of some 'sleaze bags' back in the day (Getty)

The entertainment scene in the ‘70s and ‘80s was a very different place to what it is now, especially since it was discovered that big household names such as Jimmy Saville and Rolf Harris were involved in shocking sexual abuse scandals.

The era is also one in which singing sisters, The Nolans, were huge stars, selling over 30 million records worldwide and touring with the likes of Frank Sinatra. However, as Maureen and Coleen Nolan reveal on White Wine Question Time, not everyone was as great to work with as the legendary crooner.

“We worked with some great people, but also we worked with people that have since been found to be not so great – and had experience of that MeToo sort of scenario,” Maureen told podcast host Kate Thornton.

Read more: Coleen Nolan opens up about her worst decade, saying she felt 'redundant as a woman'

The sisters, who have reunited for new TV show The Nolans Go Cruising, went on to tell Kate that Coleen, at just age 14, had experienced inappropriate behaviour from male stars who were on the same bill as them.

The Nolans, photographed here in 1986, sold over 30 million records worldwide (Getty)
The Nolans, photographed here in 1986, sold over 30 million records worldwide (Getty)

“Looking back, you think that it's absolutely vile,” Coleen said about one particular incident. “I was 14 and he was still old and ugly.”

The Loose Women presenter believes they didn’t go through too many bad experiences because they always had each other as protection.

“In some respects, we were protected from it because we were always a big family,” she said. “We weren't like a single woman on our own on the bill with the men or going on tour.

“There was always the four of us, so you'd have to be an idiot to think that you could never do anything to any of us without the rest of the sisters coming down hard on you!”

Portrait of the Irish girl group The Nolans, London, England, 1981. (Photo by George Wilkes/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Portrait of the Irish girl group The Nolans, London, England, 1981. (Photo by George Wilkes/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

When asked by podcast host Kate if the sisters had ever challenged any of these perpetrators, Maureen admitted that they hadn’t.

“I don't think it was an era where you didn't challenge,” she replied. “It was just, like, ‘Oh, you know, men!’”

Read more: Has #MeToo changed the world?

She continued: “Coleen was very street savvy really – even from the age of two – to be fair. To her, he was just a sleaze bag, you know and I remember her saying to us ‘Oh god, he gives me the creeps!’”

Thankfully for Coleen, the incidents have had no lasting effect on her.

“I don't think anything happened in my earlier teens - even all of that - where it's affected me,” she told Kate.

“I would hate to jump on the bandwagon of ‘Oh yeah, that happened to me’ to any degree of affecting my life because there's some people it genuinely did. Terrible things happened.”

Hear Coleen and Maureen Nolan talk more about growing up in the spotlight, their new show and more on this week’s White Wine Question Time. Listen now on iTunes and Spotify.