Liam Payne: Is Cheryl's Divorce Drama The End Of Another Winter Girlfriend?

If it seems like it is just days since Liam Payne was "madly in love" with Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, that is because it is just days. For a couple of months now, we have been bombarded by tales of Liam and Cheryl's domestic bliss and regaled with stories claiming that the pair were all set to marry, settle down, and raise a brood of little Paynes. Of course, this is Liam Payne we are discussing, and where One Direction members are concerned, nothing ever seems to be straightforward.

Over the years, Payne's fans have been told so many lies that the now assume any story about Liam or One Direction is false until proven otherwise.

The story of Liam's romance with Cheryl did not get off to the best of starts, when it was reported by the Sun in February. Many of Payne's fans do not believe a word the U.K. tabloid writes about Liam or One Direction, and the level of trust falls further still when the story is by their head of showbiz reporting, Dan Wootton. As was previously reported by the Inquisitr, the Sun has far too many close links with Simon Cowell and SyCo for any story about One Direction to be taken at face value.

Of course, it wasn't just the source of the story that set off the alarm bells for Liam's fans. Cheryl had just signed with One Direction's management team and is working on a new album. After the failure of her last album and the likelihood of her being dropped from The X Factor, many of Payne's fans were skeptical about the veracity of the story. Once you add in the fact that Cheryl is 10 years Liam's senior and still married to her estranged husband, Jean-Bernard, levels of suspicion went through the roof.

The Sun's early report claimed that Liam and Cheryl have been inseparable since early December. Once again, Payne's fans were suspicious about the timing. If Liam and Cheryl were together in December, then it would seem that Payne bounced back from his heartbreak over former girlfriend Sophia Smith pretty quickly. Just weeks earlier, the Daily Mail was reporting that Payne was "absolutely devastated" over his break-up with Smith.

"Being on the tour all this year and being away from her was so hard. 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."

Doubts about Liam and Cheryl's relationship have been expressed very publicly by her husband. Early last month, the Sun claimed that Cheryl's husband had said that Liam's romance was a PR stunt. Stories then emerged claiming that Payne and Cheryl had, in fact, gotten together last August. If true, then both Liam and Cheryl were cheating on their respective partners but, of course, Payne and One Direction were on the U.S. leg of their tour last August.

Now, the Independent says that Liam has "pulled back" from his relationship with Cheryl, because her divorce battle is getting ugly. It seems that a source has told Heat magazine that Payne is keeping his distance.

"Liam is clearly overwhelmed by the divorce battle and how messy it's getting. He's been distant since they got back from L.A. as he feels like it's best for Cheryl if he takes a step back to let her deal with what's clearly a very stressful situation.

"Cheryl's assured Liam that he doesn't have anything to worry about and her divorce doesn't need to come between them, but the cracks are starting to show and the age difference could soon prove to be an issue.

"Liam's never had to deal with the kind of issues Cheryl has. Cheryl already has one bitter divorce behind her and a chequered family history."

Of course, many of Payne's fans will point to the fact that Cheryl is just the latest in a long line of "winter girlfriend" stories. It is something of a tradition that Liam, or more usually Harry Styles, is linked with a woman in December. Established photo opportunities take place over a couple of months before the so-called romance fades just as the spring bulbs begin to bloom.

With no One Direction tour this year, Payne's relationship with Cheryl has perhaps lasted a little longer than normal, but it may well be in its death throes now.

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