She’s lived a seriously low-key life over the past 15 months, almost entirely stepping away from the spotlight. But last week, Cheryl made a welcome return, posting a selfie and a group snap with her glam squad alongside the caption, “We back.” The 37 year old didn’t share any details about the secret project she was working on, but it didn’t skip anyone’s attention that her timing was impeccable, as days earlier, her ex Liam Payne had revealed that he’d split from his fiancée Maya Henry.
According to insiders, Cheryl’s stepped up to support Liam – with whom she has four-year-old son Bear – in a big way over the past few months. And while fans and A-list friends celebrated her return to their Insta feeds, it’s her support for her ex behind the scenes that’s been most valuable.
“She’s been really rallying round Liam and making sure that she and Bear are there for him,” says an insider close to the singer, who split from the former One Direction star in 2018, after two years together.
“He has been really up and down about it. Things had been going wrong with Maya for a while, and the engagement [which they announced last August] had just made things worse. As soon as they started planning the wedding, it went sour, as Liam was feeling the pressure to change a lot of things in his life. It was Cheryl who was telling him that, if he wasn’t happy, then he needed to ‘grow a set’ and speak out. She saw it as her responsibility to be the voice of reason, as Liam’s choices have a direct impact on Bear.”
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Last week, Liam got candid about his recent break-up while appearing on the Diary Of A CEO podcast, and said he wasn’t “very good at relationships”. He explained, “I’m more disappointed in myself that I keep on hurting people… I know what my pattern of things is with relationships, at this point. I’m just not very good at them, so I just need to work on myself before I put myself on to somebody else.”
This came two months after he praised Cheryl yet again, saying in an interview, “[She] is literally the best person to co-parent with. No stress involved… And I’m closer to them than I’ve ever been before, actually, which is really nice.”
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It’s no secret that Cheryl and Liam, 27, have stayed good friends, and Liam’s been known to turn to her for support advice – whether that’s for his parental duties or his career. In fact, his reliance on her proved to be a real sticking point with Maya, who moved to the UK from Texas to be with Liam. Last year, Liam and Maya moved from London to Buckinghamshire to be near Bear and Cheryl, and according to insiders, Maya struggled with the isolation, especially when Liam was visiting his son.
According to our insiders, as tensions grew between them, Liam would spend even more time with Cheryl, who provided a listening ear and some tough love when needed. “Instead of dealing with his issues, Liam would be around Cheryl a lot, off-loading all his problems on to her,” we’re told. “She knows his behaviour in relationships as she’s been through it all herself, so she could be really blunt with him. She just wants him to be the best dad he can be, and since the split, he’s been around more than ever.”
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