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JLS on Sarah Harding’s death: ‘Losing a bandmate is devastating’

JLS have nothing but ‘beautiful memories’ of fellow pop star Sarah Harding (Picture: Getty Images)

JLS have paid tribute to ‘fun-loving’ Sarah Harding after the star’s death last weekend, while sharing sympathy for Girls Aloud over the ‘devastating’ death of their bandmate. 

Harding died on September 5 at the age of 39 after battling breast cancer for more than a year. 

Marvin Humes, Aston Merrygold, JB Gill and Oritse Williams had the pleasure of meeting Harding over the years, with JLS and Girls Aloud two of the biggest pop groups of the past decade. 

They both had similar rises to fame, with Girls Aloud formed on Popstars: The Rivals in 2002, and JLS appearing on The X Factor in 2008. 

Sharing their sympathy for the remaining members of the girl group – Cheryl, Kimberley Walsh, Nicola Roberts and Nadine Coyle – Oritse told Metro.co.uk: ‘Loss is difficult no matter what you do or who you are. Losing someone that’s close to you and that you love is difficult.

‘A bandmate, from a band’s perspective, is devastating for its own reasons. I can’t imagine what the girls are going through. Obviously it’s something that the girls knew was coming and they had time to prepare and deal with it, but I don’t think you can prepare how you’re gonna feel if that moment ever came.’ 

He continued: ‘It’s tragic. From my interactions, she was always super fun-loving, bubbly, full of life, had a massive zest for life and really appreciated everything she achieved in life so, nothing but good, beautiful memories when it comes to thinking about Sarah.

Harding died after a battle with breast cancer (Picture: Rex Features)

‘Our hearts break for her and her friends and family.’ 

JLS have made their anticipated comeback this month with the release of their new single, Eternal Love, their first in more than eight years, which has been written by pop legend Ed Sheeran. 

It’s a full circle moment for the Beat Again hitmakers as Ed actually penned his debut single, Lego House, intentionally for JLS but it was never to be. 

Marvin revealed: ‘He actually wrote a song for us years ago but we never actually got the record, which ended up being Lego House, obviously a massive hit for Ed. 

‘Then we got in touch again this year, he said he’d love to work together, he was going into the studio with Steve Mac who did Beat Again for us and that’s exactly what he did in the studio and wrote Eternal Love.’ 

Aston chimed in: ‘We never heard it!’ to which Marvin confirmed: ‘It never got to us.’ 

According to Aston, Lego House was ‘done very different’ to the version Ed released as his official single so it was ‘never in that format’. 

They’re not too disappointed about it anymore, as Oritse said: ‘Yeah, but everything happens for a reason, that record was supposed to be Ed’s record.’ 

JB added: ‘Had he not released that, we might not be here talking about Eternal Love today.’ 

Eternal Love is as smooth as an original JLS song with heartwarming lyrics and a slick beat. 

Oritse said of the single: ‘Ed Sheeran and Steve Mac specifically wrote Eternal Love for us as a reference to one of our other hits in the songs and it’s just amazing to know that Ed and Steve Mac specifically wrote Eternal Love for us. 

‘That doesn’t happen often, a lot of artists get songs that they inherit because somebody else turned it down. But for us, the song was written for us, it went directly to us and we released it as soon as we could. It’s a blessing.’ 

JLS are back with new single Eternal Love (Picture: BMG)

JLS will be heading on an arena tour around the UK later this year after having to postpone the dates due to the Covid pandemic. 

Touring will look a little different these days as all members have become fathers over the past eight years. 

So are they cool dads to their kids? 

Marvin, who shares three children with wife Rochelle Humes, revealed: ‘They love it – I’ll speak for my own children – especially my eldest, she’s eight and listens to TikTok – she even introduces me to new music sometimes. Now that her dad’s releasing new music, they hear the record before anybody else. I’ll definitely play stuff for her and see how she’s feeling.’ 

He added: ‘They’re really excited about the tour, keep saying they want to come out on stage, it’s gonna be great because eight, 10, 12 years ago the kids weren’t around, so for them to see us on stage together at sold out O2 and all the other arenas around the country… 

‘Very few children get to experience their parents doing that so it’s going to be really special.’ 

JLS’ new single, Eternal Love, is out now and they’ll be performing at the National Television Awards airing tonight on ITV at 7:30pm. Their new album, JLS 2.0, is set for release on December 3.

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