Cole, who was Cheryl Ann Tweedy and is known professionally by her first name, is well-known in the U.K. as a television host, solo artist and model. She tried to find success in the U.S. as a judge on the American version of The X Factor, but that job didn’t last long.
The 33-year-old Cole has been married twice before. She was married to footballer Ashley Cole from 2006 to 2010. She married Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini in July 2014, and they divorced in October 2016, as rumors about her relationship with the 23-year-old Payne began to swirl.
Here’s a look at Cole’s relationship with Payne and her career.
1. Payne Auditioned for ‘The X Factor’ When Cole Was Still a Judge & She Gave Him a ‘Yes’ Vote
Cole first joined The X Factor as a judge in 2008 and remained with the show until 2011, when she left for a brief sting on the American version. In 2014, she returned to the show, but left the show before the 13th series started.
In 2010, Payne auditioned for a second time at age 16. He was on the show in 2008, but Simon Cowell didn’t let vote for him because he thought he was too young. Two years later, Cowell, Cole and the other judges were so impressed that all four voted yes.
There were rumors of tension between Cole and Cowell during the making of the American version of The X Factor. In an interview with the Radio Times in 2014, after the U.S. X Factor was cancelled, Cowell said he thought Cole “lost her confidence” after her divorce from Ashley Cole. Cowell said he regretted her departure from the show.
“If I could go back in time I would have kept her on the show. It was stupid doing what I did,” Cowell said. “I didn’t sack her personally. That was the second-biggest mistake I made. When you’re under pressure you make stupid mistakes.”
He said in 2014 that they are now friends, but their relationship almost crumbled after she left the U.S. X Factor. He said she told him that he “betrayed” her and sent him a text message, telling him that he hurt her.
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2. Cole Has an Estimated Net Worth of $30 Million
Cole is easily one of the most successful female solo music artists in U.K. history. Celebrity Net Worth estimates that she has a net worth of $30 million.
Cole’s music career began as a member of Girls Aloud, which was formed on the show Popstars: The Rivals. Although the group didn’t split until 2013, she started a solo career with 2009’s 3 Words. Her most recent solo album is Only Human, which was released in November 2014. Some of her hit singles include “Fight for This Love,” “3 Words,” Parachute,” “Crazy Stupid Love,” “I Don’t Care” and “Only Human.” She was also featured on the Nicki Minaj song “Check It Out” with will.i.am.
Payne appeared on a remix of “I Don’t Care.”
“There are big downsides that come with having money,” Cole said in a Telegraph interview. “As many as with not having money. I mean, they’re different types of stresses, but they’re both stresses.”
3. Rumors of Payne’s Relationship With Cole Started Back in February When She Was Still Married
While Cole was still married to Fernandez-Versini, a French businessman, rumors of a relationship between Payne and Cole began to swirl in the U.K. press in February. The Sun first broke the news, reporting that the two are in a “secret relationship” as Cole began the process of divorcing Fernandez-Versini. E! News also confirmed the relationship.
The Sun reported that Payne was telling friends hat he’s “madly in love” with Cole. “Cheryl and Liam are in a relationship. It was unexpected but they’ve both made each other incredibly happy,” a friend told the site.
The two first met during those 2008 and 2010 X Factor auditions and started dating in late 2015 after Cole signed with One Direction’s management company.
The relationship appears to have Simon Cowell’s sign of approval. “I saw them together and we had a really nice dinner. They were on good form. They’re like two little chipmunks madly in love. Literally, they were so cute,” Cowell told The Sun. He said he wasn’t aware of the romance before the February Sun report.
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4. Cole Showed off Her Baby Bump on November 29 & a Report Says She’s in Her Second Trimester
After the couple were seen at a charity Christmas concert in London on November 29, it will be hard for Cole and Payne to deny that they are expecting a baby. She was clearly showing a baby bump at the event.
A source told E! News that Cole is in her second trimester.
As early as September, rumors that Cole is expecting started to appear. The couple haven’t confirmed it yet, but the photos from November 29 did it for them.
5. Payne’s Rose Hand Tattoo Is Believed to be a Tribute to Cole’s Infamous Rose Bum Tattoo
Earlier this year, Payne was seen with a new rose tattoo covering his hand. It’s believed that this was a tribute to Cole’s own rose tattoo, which covers her bum. You can see it in the above segment on The Graham Norton Show in 2014. Cole got the tattoo in 2013.
“If it was up to me — and I could be brave for one day — I would have my whole back done,” Cole said in 2014. “My friends say, ‘Cheryl, please, you might regret it,’ but to me, it’s art.”
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