Why the singer is going all out to protect her special family Christmas
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
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It’s the star’s favourite time of year
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