Cougar Alert: Liam Payne And Cheryl Dating Or Another Stunt?

Liam Payne managed to avoid the annual round of One Direction “winter girlfriend” dating rumors. Whilst Liam’s bandmates Louis Tomlinson, Harry Styles, and Niall Horan have all been the subject of dating rumors since One Direction rounded off their “On The Road Again” tour, Payne has been keeping a low profile. As the last tour finished, it was widely reported in the media that Liam was laying low because he was heartbroken after splitting with Sophia Smith. Claims are now being made that Payne has hooked up with Cheryl Fernandez-Versini.

Back in November, the Daily Mail reported that Liam had told the Sun that he was totally heartbroken after splitting with Smith.

“I’m absolutely devastated to have split with Sophia.

” ‘Being on the tour all this year and being away from her was so hard,’ he explained. ‘We spent so much time apart. But in order to do right by somebody sometimes it’s better not to do what your heart wants, but to do what’s better for them.’ “

If the Sun is to be believed, Liam’s heartbreak was short-lived, as the tabloid claims that within weeks of splitting with Sophia, Payne was dating X-Factor judge Cheryl Fernandez-Versini. Claims that Liam and Cheryl are an item were “exclusively” revealed by the Sun’s Dan Wootton, and that fact alone will have Payne’s fans rolling their eyes skyward and shaking their heads.

Apparently, Liam has told friends that he is “madly in love” with Cheryl, and it is even claimed that Payne’s new ink, a rose tattoo, is a tribute to Cheryl, who has roses tattooed on her butt. The Sun quotes its usual “unnamed source,” who says that Payne’s relationship with Cheryl is “the real deal.”

“Cheryl and Liam are in a relationship. It was unexpected but they’ve both made each other incredibly happy.

“Cheryl has obviously known Liam for many years. They’ve always got on well because they are both northern and share many of the same interests.”

The Daily Mail report that Liam’s new love is still married to French businessman Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini, and is 10 years Payne’s senior. They report that Liam and Cheryl have enjoyed romantic breaks together in the Caribbean and the Maldives since they hooked up after the final of last year’s X-Factor.

Apparently, a friend of Liam’s has said that Cheryl is helping Payne to get over his split from One Direction.

“Liam was really struggling with the idea of life after the band to begin with — being in the spotlight and that level of fame had started to get to him.

“But Liam has been so happy with Cheryl. He’s been telling people close to him that he’s madly in love.”

News that Liam has split from One Direction is sure to be big news to many of Payne’s fans. After all Liam has been adamant that One Direction are on a temporary break and that they have not split up. In fact, One Direction’s hiatus has not even officially started as yet.

Payne’s fans will be amused at pictures that emerged last night. The Mirror reports that a couple were spotted pushing a trolley down the aisle in a Tesco supermarket, and the snapper claimed that it showed Liam and Cheryl doing a late night shop.

Of course, Liam and Cheryl may be emerging as the latest celebrity “power couple,” but One Direction fans will not be rushing to buy into the latest One Direction romance story. Fans have got used to fake relationship stories about Payne and his bandmates circulating on an almost daily basis.

Payne’s fans have become so used to being fed lies and misleading stories about One Direction that they now distrust any and all stories about the boys until they can verify them with irrefutable evidence. Liam’s fans will be wondering today if Payne’s new romance is genuine, or yet another PR stunt designed to keep the media chattering.

[Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images]