Cheryl’s despair over Liam Payne’s wedding

He’s moving on with the future Mrs Payne – where will Cheryl fit in?

Cheryl, Liam Payne and Maya Henry

by Charlotte Oliver |
Updated on

With two divorces behind her, Cheryl knows that happily ever after isn’t always so simple. But over the past few years, the singer’s found a sense of stability and contentment after settling down in her Buckinghamshire home with her three-year-old son Bear and maintaining a good co-parenting relationship with his dad Liam Payne.

So, understandably, the singer is despairing at her life being thrown into disarray again after it was revealed that Liam had got engaged to his girlfriend of a year, Maya Henry. According to insiders, Cheryl’s feeling like she’s been “shoved to the back of the room”, and is worried she’s now a spare part in Liam’s life.

Liam Payne and Maya Henry

Couple that with the fact that Maya will be Bear’s stepmum, and Cheryl’s feeling even more insecure. We’re told the singer may be putting on a brave face, but she’s dreading the fallout of Liam’s happy news, which he confirmed for the first time last week during an interview with Good Morning America.

“Cheryl and Bear have been the centre of Liam’s life for a while now, but in the last few months, she’s felt things shifting,” says an insider close to the 37 year old, who was in regular contact with Liam over FaceTime during lockdown – they decided to keep Bear in isolation with Cheryl, while Liam stayed in London with Maya.

“He’s become very close to his future in-laws and now Liam’s parents are involved, too. Everyone is so excited about the wedding. Maya is from Texas and they’re all getting excited for a big party in the US. The Paynes have become like family to Cheryl, so it’s a very funny feeling to be separate from the excitement.”

While Liam has been open about how much time he spends away from Bear while working and travelling around the world – recently saying, “If I could fit one person in my bag, it would have to be my son” – his parents Karen and Geoff, alongside Cheryl’s mum Joan, have been an ever-present part of Bear’s life. Last year, Cheryl spoke about her early days of motherhood, saying in an interview, “Liam was away working in the first four months, so I got totally used to doing everything. And if I needed more help, I’d be on the phone to the grandparents – his parents and my mum – and they’d come down.” So, it’s no surprise that now that Liam and Maya’s families are getting closer and planning nuptials, Cheryl’s struggling to find her place.

Suddenly, things like birthdays, Christmases and group family holidays are feeling distinctly problematic.

“There’s no more talk of doing little family getaways,” says our source, pointing out that things have changed since last year, when Liam said Cheryl was “one of the most, if not the most, important people” in his life. “It’s now all starting to be about Liam and his ‘new’ family.

Cheryl was once at the top of the list in the Payne household, but she now feels like she’s an awkward presence to have around. She knows Liam would never try to take Bear away from her – the plan is that he is going to be spending more time in the US with Maya, but always on a schedule that will ensure he’s back with Bear – but Liam is already talking about how much he’s looking forward to having Bear spend his holidays with them in the States. It just feels, for Cheryl, like a big kick in the teeth.”

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Then, of course, comes the singer’s fears about her ex and his future wife having more kids, and what that might mean for her and Bear. According to our insider, Liam and Maya – who first met in 2015 at a 1D gig when she was a fan – haven’t considered having children anytime soon as Maya’s only 20 and Liam’s diary is already very busy.

But them getting engaged symbolises a new chapter in their lives, and Maya taking on an important new role in Bear’s life, too. Liam has spoken in the past about how Cheryl was “always really glued” to their son in the early days, and not much has changed since, so making way for a new woman in his life will be an uncomfortable change.

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What’s more, over the past 12 months, Cheryl has been candid about her desire to have more children, saying at the beginning of the year that she’d consider using a sperm donor – there have also been rumours that she’s looking at surrogacy. Of course Liam’s news won’t derail her plans, but it puts her situation into stark contrast. While she’s still single and struggling to move on, Liam is making big plans for his future.

“Maya is going to be Bear’s stepmother, and that’s hard for Cheryl,” says our source. “She can’t help worrying about another woman having such a big role in her son’s life. It makes her think back to her past and wonder what life would have been like if things had worked out with her ex-husbands [Ashley Cole and Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini] or with Liam.

“She’s doing amazingly as a single mum, but she is desperate for that fairy-tale ending.”

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