Have Cheryl and Liam split up? An investigation.


When my English teacher told me I was “wasting some potential talent” at my Year 11 parent/teacher interview I just knew a moment to prove her wrong would manifest years later.

Look at me now, Ms Kelleher. Look at me now.

For those of you who don’t fill your days with meaningless celebrity news and gossip like I do, let’s set up the clustermuck that is Cheryl Cole and Liam Payne‘s relationship.

Both Cheryl and Liam are British singers; they met in 2008 when Cheryl was 24 and on the X Factor talent judging panel while Liam was 14 and on the cusp of One Direction infamySlightly unconventional, yes, given that there is a 10-year age gap between the pair, but it wasn’t until early 2016 – after Cheryl’s second marriage had disintegrated – that their friendship developed into something romantic.

You can watch the moment Cheryl and Liam met below. Post continues.

Video via X-Factor

Things moved fast. Within a few months Cheryl, now 34, fell pregnant. By March 2017 she had given birth to their first and only child, a son named Bear.

Okay, so have Cheryl and Liam split? What’s the story here?

The speed with which the relationship moved, Cheryl’s historically drama-filled love life, and the disparity in age was like crack cocaine for the British tabloids. Every photo and crumb of new information has been snorted daily and with reckless abandon.


Here’s a brief synopsis: They’re engaged! Wait, no, married! Now they’re on the rocks! Now they’re engaged again! Now there’s a love triangle!

Most of the commentary has been as legitimate as pineapple’s place on pizza.

Until last week, when celebrity writer and editor Dan Wootton reported that the couple are “ready to split” despite their son not yet turning one.

have cheryl and liam split
Cheryl Cole and Liam Payne at the Brit Awards. Image: Getty.

Before you roll your eyes (actually, given the topic we're dissecting, go right ahead) if any journalist is well versed in the machinations of Cheryl Cole's personal life, that person is Wootton; The Sun columnist has broken every significant development in the last decade. From her second divorce, to her unexpected pregnancy, and Liam seeking "legal advice about a potential split", Wootton has been first to it all.


In Wootton's piece, he discussed how the couple "have held crisis talks" and how "the success of the former One Direction singer’s solo career has meant Cheryl, is left with their 11-month-old son Bear for weeks at a time." The reports were not denied by the couple's teams.

Reportedly, close friends believe the relationship will be over within months, if not weeks.

How could a writer possibly know all this, you ask?

Wootton has, somehow, developed close working relationships with those in Cheryl's orbit - even those who she trusts. His ability to not only break a story, but know an impossible amount of detail about matters of her heart, indicates this is a reporter with his tentacles embedded in Cheryl's life.

If you're thinking, 'Well, uh, this is all very screwed up and creepy' then yes, you're probably right. But this is also Wootton's job, and publicity like this isn't only something Cheryl profits from - it's something she facilitates.

In a story where the truth is messy and unclear, we do know this: A whole lot of PR cogs are spinning in overdrive.

WTF happened at the Brit Awards

Days after the headlines that they were on the rocks, Cheryl and Liam made a rare public appearance together at the British version of the ARIAs, looking every bit the doting couple.

Not only did they get all touchy-feely on the red carpet, there was also a curious mid-awards show interview with the couple at their table, where comedian Jack Whitehall quizzed them about their sex life and Cheryl divulged her "safe word". How delightful.


For many, it was an indication the couple had put on a "united front". For others, it was yet another example of Cheryl's PR prowess.

At the Brit Awards after-party, Wootton reported the couple the cameras captured was entirely different to the one away from flashing lights. In fact, when the celebrities were afforded some privacy he says a "deeply miserable" Cheryl sat alone in a booth and played with her phone, while the father of her son was nowhere to be seen.

Wootton wrote:

The reality of the troubled couple’s big night out was in stark contrast to their lovey-dovey display...

But this is just another sad chapter in the highly publicised personal life of the so-called “Mistress of PR”, whose every heartbreak is surrounded by perfectly staged appearances and performances.

The crux of Wootton's opinion is this: Cheryl Cole sought to dominate the coverage of the Brit Awards for a very simple and effective reason. She and her  is using her relationship breakdown as a marketing opportunity for an upcoming single or album.

He continued:

It was the same story in 2008 and 2010 when Cheryl used the Brits to boost her music career, first with her band Girls Aloud and then as a solo artist after ex-husband Ashley Cole cheated on her.

There are a multitude of other instances when some type of relationship drama ends up being milked for publicity purposes, usually to push another futile attempt to crack the charts.

It is, potentially, a tactic that has made Cheryl Cole relevant for over a decade, something only a sliver of determined and sometimes ruthless A-listers manage to pull off. As a former best friend told Wootton, "this type of circus is all Cheryl knows."

If that's true - and Wootton's track record of getting these things right indicates it is - Cheryl Cole and Liam Payne's relationship is yet another example of how bizarre and foreign the lives of celebrities are.

An example of how a loss of love can be very lucrative for those willing to sell it.

Perhaps Cheryl and Liam haven't heard Osher Gunsberg's advice for spicing up relationship sex. He walks us through it, on Love Life.