In 2002, English girl group Sugababes recorded a cover of "Freak like Me". This version was conceived of and produced by English producer Richard X. It uses as its backing track a sample of the 1979 song "Are "Friends" Electric?" by Gary Numan and Tubeway Army. In 2001, Richard X had created a bootlegmashup of the original recordings of "Freak Like Me" and "Are "Friends" Electric?", titled "We Don't Give a Damn About Our Friends", which he released under the alias "Girls on Top". That song became a successful underground dance track. Richard X wanted to release the mashup commercially, but he could not get permission from Adina Howard to use her vocals, so he decide to re-record the vocals, and enlisted the Sugababes to do so.
"Freak like Me" was released on 22 April 2002 as the lead single from their second studio album, Angels with Dirty Faces (2002). It was the first Sugababes single to feature Heidi Range, who joined after the departure of Siobhán Donaghy in June 2001. The Sugababes version of the song used the radio edit lyrics of Howard's song ("brotha" is used instead of "nigga"). Numan was now credited as a co-writer of the song.
The sound effect featured at the beginning of the song is the coin-insert tone from the popular 1981 video game Frogger. (The sound was also used to begin the song "Froggy's Lament", about the video game itself, on Buckner & Garcia's album Pac-Man Fever.)
In 2012, The Guardian named "Freak like Me" as the best number-one single of 2002.NME complimented the track as "genius" and claimed, "if this gets to number one, we'll be grinning all summer. Yes, even the Critics."
On April 22, 2002, "Freak like Me" was released in the United Kingdom. The song became Sugababes' first number-one single when it debuted at number one in the UK Singles Chart, remaining in the top ten for four weeks. It remains one of the best selling singles released by the group, selling over 275,000 copies since its release and being certified Silver.
Outside of the United Kingdom, the song was also successful. While it reached the top ten in Ireland, Norway and Belgium, the song entered the top 30 of most of the charts it appeared on. In Australia, "Freak like Me" became the fourth single by Sugababes to make the singles chart, reaching number 44. It would be their lowest-charting single in Australia until the release of "Shape" in 2003.
The music video was directed by Dawn Shadforth and Sophie Muller and was filmed in London. It uses the "We Don't Give a Damn Mix" of the song, which is more faithful to the original mash-up. The video is set in a strange nightclub, and acts as an introduction for the recent addition of Heidi Range. It begins outside the nightclub with a man tumbling down the stairs, with Keisha Buchanan in a long coat, seen only from below the knee, walking out of a door, over the man's body and up the stairs. Mutya Buena is seen standing on the stairs facing the direction where the man is lying. Inside, they spot Range dancing and flirting with many guys. They both quickly clash with her, and a fight between them ensues, which ends with Range falling to the floor unconscious. A man tries to help her up, but Buena grabs him by the neck and throws him away from her. Range wakes up again soon after, and stumbles out of the club with another man, where they begin to kiss, until she suddenly bites hard into his arm. Meanwhile, Buchanan takes a man outside, and she leads him into a dark alley, where they flirt briefly, before she scares him away. Buena then goes outside as well, and overpowers a man who towers over her. The music video ends with Buchanan and Buena accepting Range into the group, and dancing into the night. The demonstrations of supernatural strength shown throughout the video and Range biting the man on the arm are generally understood to imply that the women are, as the song suggests, vampire-like "freaks". Julian Morris stars in the music video as one of the boys running from Buena.
In The Story of Tracy Beaker episode "Music", Adele is singing part of the first verse of Freak Like Me in her bedroom when Tracy approaches her and compliments her voice and asks if she could also be in the band Adele is auditioning for.
In honor of the song's 20th anniversary, a documentary focusing on its (and singer Adina Howard)'s impact was released titled Adina Howard 20: A Story of Sexual Liberation. It received a nomination for "Outstanding Independent Documentary" at the 2016 Black Reel Awards.
Rapper Pitbull sampled the song on his 2015 single "FREE.K" off his album Climate Change.