| 11.5°C Dublin

Singer's heartache Brave Linda Nolan opens up about facing cancer battle with sister Anne

Nolan singer reveals she and sister Anne went public with cancer battles to help other women going through illness

Close

Linda Nolan toured Europe with the legendary Frank Sinatra as part of the The Nolan Sisters

Linda Nolan toured Europe with the legendary Frank Sinatra as part of the The Nolan Sisters

National Pictures/ Joe Newman

Linda Nolan toured Europe with the legendary Frank Sinatra as part of the The Nolan Sisters

From touring with Frank Sinatra as a teenager to performing on Top of the Pops and selling out shows around the world with her singing sisters, Linda Nolan has enjoyed incredible highs in her life.

But the Irish-born performer from Dublin's Raheny, who hit the big time with The Nolans, has also been dealt a cruel hand that has forced her to endure trauma, pain and unbearable heartache.

• Linda was treated for breast cancer and had a mastectomy in 2006;

• She had watched older sister, Anne, overcome breast cancer six years earlier;

Close

Linda Nolan went public with her cancer battle

Linda Nolan went public with her cancer battle

Linda Nolan went public with her cancer battle

• In 2007, her husband of 23 years, The Nolans' former manager Brian Hudson, died from liver failure after battling cancer;

• In 2013, her sister Bernie died from breast cancer at the age of 52 following a long illness, and;

• In 2017, Linda was diagnosed with secondary cancer in her pelvis.

Then last August, shortly after returning from filming their hit TV show, The Nolans Go Cruising, Linda (61) and her sister Anne (70) announced that both had been diagnosed with cancer within days of each other.

This time, the cancer has spread to Linda's liver, while Anne has stage three breast cancer, the most serious being stage four.

"If it wasn't so tragic it's quite hilarious that they two of us have got cancer at the same time and are going through our treatment together," Linda tells the Sunday World.

Close

Linda and The Nolans sold 25 million records

Linda and The Nolans sold 25 million records

Linda and The Nolans sold 25 million records

"Anne said we actually look like a tribute act to Right Said Fred with no hair."

Linda and Anne posed together with bald heads after losing their hair in the hope that it might help others in a similar situation.

"I hate to think of a woman at home who is going through this on her own because she has no family, and then she's embarrassed because her hair is falling out. She's more worried about that than the chemo. I just want to go, 'that's alright because that was me.'

Vain

Close

The Nolan Sisters in 1977

The Nolan Sisters in 1977

PA

The Nolan Sisters in 1977

"I was more traumatised by the fact that I had to lose my hair than having breast cancer [in 2006].

"You think it's just ridiculous, 'that's so vain'. But it's not, apparently. When men are told they've got cancer, the first thing a man says is, 'will I die?' And the first thing a woman says is, 'am I going to lose my hair?' because it's such a massive part of your identity being taken.

"In the group I was known as the Nolan sister with the blonde hair and the big boobs, and all of a sudden it was being taken away from me."

Recalling her 2017 diagnosis of cancer in her pelvis, Linda says that it was discovered after she fell on the stairs at home.

"I tripped on the stairs and the crack I heard was my hip and my pelvis, the cancer had been eating through there," she reveals. "The crack I heard was the top of the bone that just came off."

At the time, Linda, who never had children of her own, was minding three of her young grand nieces on a sleepover.

"I was going up the stairs to get their pyjamas when I fell and I couldn't move. One of them came out to the hall and said, 'Auntie Linda is pretending to cry.' But they were great and one got the mobile and I called for help.

"As I was being taken away in the ambulance the six-year-old was crying. I said, 'Don't cry, I'm going to be alright.' She said, 'I'm not crying over that, I wanted a sleepover.'"

Linda has always maintained a positive attitude to life.

Close

Frank Sinatra

Frank Sinatra

PA

Frank Sinatra

The Nolans sold 25 million records at the height of their fame and enjoyed smash hits with songs such as I'm In The Mood For Dancing, yet they've struggled financially all their lives.

Accent

"Our money was squandered, but instead of wondering where did the money go I've always just got on with life.

"Of course it would be gorgeous to have some money now. They say that money doesn't make you happy, but it makes it much easier to be miserable," she says.

Looking back, Linda says the highlight of The Nolans' career was touring Europe with the legendary Frank Sinatra in 1975. She was just 15 and still in school at the time.

When he first met them, Linda says Sinatra "put on a really bad Irish accent" and said, "These are me daughters here."

"He was really good to us, he made sure we travelled in a limo and were well looked after. When we played the Albert Hall in London our dad, who was a huge fan, got to meet him and he was so kind to Dad.

"It was an absolutely amazing time. If anybody asks us the highlight of our career, it's always the Sinatra tour. Dreams do happen."

  • The Nolans: Gold, a 3-CD compilation package celebrating their 40 years of hits, will be released next Friday.