ch­eryl’s christ­mas

Why the singer is go­ing all out to pro­tect her spe­cial fam­ily Christ­mas

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Beam­ing. Glow­ing. Smil­ing. Re­laxed. What a dif­fer­ent Ch­eryl we’re see­ing com­pared to last year. In De­cem­ber 2015, Ch­eryl was fin­ish­ing up her ex­haust­ing X Fac­tor judg­ing du­ties in the wake of her ac­ri­mo­nious split from hus­band of 18 months Jean-bernard Fer­nan­dez-versini, 36. Fast-for­ward to now and the singer has fi­nally found love with 1D’s Liam Payne and is look­ing for­ward to ‘the per­fect fam­ily Christ­mas’. ‘They’re de­ter­mined to make the most of their time to­gether and have a huge fam­ily gath­er­ing planned,’ says our source. ‘Ch­eryl’s so happy.’

‘I have so many spe­cial mem­o­ries [about Christ­mas],’ says Ch­eryl. ‘When I got into Girls Aloud it was this time of year. Then we got the Christ­mas No 1 and ever since then there’s al­ways been some­thing event­ful around Christ­mas so it’s re­ally spe­cial.’

Event­ful is about right. This year might have been rough for the rest of the UK but it’s been life-chang­ing for 33-year-old Ch­eryl. Back in Jan­uary, the singer was beam­ing with joy on a yacht in the Caribbean cel­e­brat­ing the wed­ding of BFF Kimberley Walsh. But once she came back to Blighty, times got tough.

She faced a huge back­lash from 1D fans over the 10- year age gap be­tween her and Liam, 23, when it was re­vealed they were dat­ing in Fe­bru­ary. Then, when she fi­nally filed for di­vorce from ex JB, the fall­out was bit­ter, with ex­plo­sive rows and wild ru­mours he was set to ‘tell all’ about their whirl­wind mar­riage.

Her ca­reer changed, too. Her fifth stu­dio al­bum was pushed back and she quit The X Fac­tor. The pres­sure was said to be too much for the star, who spent most of the sum­mer away from the show­biz cir­cuit, re­cov­er­ing.

But it’s a dif­fer­ent story now. Re­cently ap­pear­ing at a carol con­cert in London, she re­port­edly ac­cepted con­grat­u­la­tions from fans and showed off a bump de­spite re­fus­ing to clar­ify the preg­nancy ru­mours.

The star is bring­ing fam­ily to the fore­front for Christ­mas, with our sources say­ing she’s been plan­ning an epic fes­tive time at home.

‘It’s my fave time of year,’ she ad­mits. ‘I have aun­ties and un­cles and cousins and nieces and neph­ews ev­ery­where, and it’s the one time of year when every­one is around.’ Look can re­veal there’s an­other rea­son why she’s keen to have her fam­ily close by. The singer, who ad­mit­ted she gets ‘bluesy’ af­ter the fes­tive sea­son is over, is set to have a dif­fi­cult 2017. Lone­li­ness lies ahead for Ch­eryl, as she’ll be sep­a­rated from Liam for most of the year while he pre­pares to launch his own solo ca­reer.

‘It’s go­ing to be a bit­ter­sweet Christ­mas for Ch­eryl,’ says a friend. ‘In many ways this is her most ex­cit­ing Christ­mas ever, with all that’s new in her life. But she’s also pretty scared about what 2017 will bring.’

Next year, Liam will re­lease his first solo al­bum with gi­ant US la­bel Capi­tol Records, which will mean months of in­ter­na­tional pro­mo­tions and tour­ing for him.

While we’re told Ch­eryl is also plan­ning on head­ing back into the stu­dio by sum­mer, it’s bound to be a tough time and now that the pair are liv­ing to­gether in Liam’s Sur­rey man­sion, a bit of ‘empty nest’ syn­drome is bound to set in. That’s why she’s pulling out all the stops for a close-knit fam­ily fes­tive pe­riod.

‘You should see how Ch­eryl has done the house,’ adds our in­sider. ‘It’s stun­ning, with beau­ti­fully un­der­stated dec­o­ra­tions.’

When it comes to presents, how­ever, Liam and Ch­eryl will be do­ing things dif­fer­ently. For her 33rd birthday, the for­mer 1D star made a ‘size­able do­na­tion’ to Ch­eryl’s Trust and he’s ap­par­ently put a lot of thought into what he’ll do for her Christ­mas gift – which is good, be­cause there’s noth­ing on Ch­eryl’s Christ­mas wish­list.

‘I don’t need any­thing,’ she says. ‘I just love the quiet time, the fam­ily time. Be­ing with peo­ple – that’s what’s im­por­tant to me. I like giv­ing gifts more than re­ceiv­ing them, self­ishly. I ac­tu­ally get more plea­sure out of watch­ing their faces, giv­ing them some­thing they re­ally want.’

Re­ally, Ch­eryl? Can we be on your Christ­mas gift list?

At Christ­mas I just love quiet fam­ily time

Ch­eryl’s bump was ap­par­ent at a carol con­cert last month

It’s the star’s favourite time of year

All Ch­eryl wants for Christ­mas...

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