Liam Payne won’t let rumors drag him down. In a new interview, the “Strip That Down” singer addressed recent reports that he and his longtime girlfriend, Cheryl Cole, are on the verge of a split.
“The funniest thing was a week before we were getting married. The next week we’re splitting up,” Payne said in his cover story for London’s ES magazine. “And the thing for me is, I just like to think we’re somewhere in the middle. You know, we have our struggles — like, of course I’m not gonna sit here and say that everything’s absolutely fine and dandy, because of course you go through different things, and that’s what a relationship is. But we go through them together as a family and that’s the most important thing for me.”
Payne, 24, and Cole, 34, first met when he auditioned for The X Factor in 2008, when she was a judge on the U.K. singing competition. He tried out again in 2010 and eventually became a member of the boy band One Direction. Payne and Cole began dating in 2015 and welcomed their son, Bear, in March 2017.
The “Bedroom Floor” crooner and the former Girls Aloud member shut down breakup rumors in February with a rare public appearance at the 2018 Brit Awards, where he performed his Fifty Shades Freed song “For You” with Rita Ora. The couple even shared a kiss on the red carpet.
“This part of our relationship was never not going to happen,” Payne told the publication of his and Cole’s rough patch. “There was always going to be a little bit of tenseness in the way we sort ourselves out, but tell me a relationship in the world that doesn’t go through a spot like that? It’s about whether you make it through or not, together, is the main point there I guess.”
He continued, “[I’m] very fortunate that I partnered up with someone who’s … very understanding with what I do. Because I don’t think anybody else could take it. … It is about making it work for us, not making it work how people think it should work.”
The former boy bander, who will release his debut solo album later this year, also told the magazine that he and Cole are in “full agreement” that Bear should be kept out of the public eye for now. “Rather than being pictured and being put in places, I wanna give him the chance [of a life outside of the public eye],” he explained. “If I take it away from him now, he never has the chance to go back.”
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