Stressed Cheryl: “I don’t want to go back to that dark place”
Insiders say Cheryl is nervous as she tries to juggle her X Factor and solo comeback with motherhood
After she made a shock return to The X Factor last month to help Simon Cowell at Judges’ Houses, it was reported last week that Cheryl was in talks to rejoin the panel for next year’s series with a generous £1.5million deal.
The star is also said to be working hard on her fifth album and had sparked rumours she was set to fly to LA to start recording when she was spotted outside the US Embassy.
Now insiders say despite an exciting year ahead, Cheryl, 34, is struggling with the idea of missing her eight-month-old son Bear as she launches her hectic career comeback.
To add to her woes, sources say the star, who has been dating 24-year-old Liam Payne for a year and a half, is still haunted by her history of anxiety, depression and panic attacks – which she has been open about in the past.
A source says, “Cheryl’s embarking on a new stage in her life – putting her back in the limelight while also raising her young son and, at times, it’s been really overwhelming.
“She knows that she’s in a completely different place now she’s settled with Liam and Bear, but there will always be a part of her that is terrified of going back into that dark place. Having the panic attacks and anxiety return would be her worst nightmare.
“She had a heart-to-heart with Liam and her family about it – they are worried about Cheryl taking on too much, but Liam in particular is doing his best to reassure her. He hates seeing her get worked up and is trying to make her see that they’re a team. Cheryl’s mum Joan is also a huge support and they’re reminding her they’ll figure everything out together.”
She has spoken about suffering from anxiety during her teen years, the breakdown of her marriage to Ashley Cole in 2010 and when she was humiliatingly sacked from US X Factor just a year later.
In her Girls Aloud autobiography, she bravely described her difficult years growing up, saying, “I’d been clinically depressed and dangerously underweight. I was having terrible panic attacks and suffered from anxiety and, as a result, my appetite went.”
Following the collapse of her marriage to Ashley – amid claims he’d been unfaithful – she said, “I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat properly. Trying to go to sleep, and suddenly when you’re sleeping, the world gets loud.”
Speaking about being sacked from X Factor in her autobiography two years later, she said, “I wasn’t well in the head. It felt like a nervous breakdown. I had to stop, get out of my life I’d been living and find myself again. The consequences if I didn’t were just too frightening.”
And during her last stint on the X Factor in 2015, Cheryl shocked fans with her dramatic weight loss – which she later blamed on the stress of her marriage to second husband Jean-bernard Fernandez Versini – and reportedly took a month off after the series ended due to exhaustion.
A pal says, “Cheryl knows the warning signs of when things are getting too much and she knows now Liam will be by her side to make sure she’s all right. Next year is going to be really tough workwise, so she’s trying to
mentally prepare herself now.”
The couple hit the headlines last week when Jason Derulo mocked them during a rap battle with Liam on US show Drop The Mic, saying, “Your biggest win is havin’ an older woman. Your son is Bear Payne, yeah that’s cool, I’m sure that will go well with the kids in high school.”
Liam blasted back, “Yes, my girlfriend is older, ya ain’t wrong. Older women love me, especially your mum.”
The source adds, “Cheryl’s fed up with being described as the older woman and doesn’t like their age gap or their son’s name being mocked. She knows it’s all light-hearted, but she’s got a lot on her mind right now.”
❛HER FAMILY AND FRIENDS ARE WORRIED SHE’S TAKING ON TOO MUCH❜