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

Closer (UK) - - Inside This Issue... - By Kather­ine Romero

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.

HAUNT­ING PAST

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.”

BREAK­DOWN

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.

WARN­ING SIGNS

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❜

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