‘I feel close to Liam again’
Cheryl’s ex, Liam Payne, has been a shoulder to cry on after her comeback single flops and her X Factor performance is slated
She’s no stranger to a setback, with two failed marriages, a criminal conviction for actual bodily harm in 2003 and a sacking from the US X Factor in 2011 behind her.
But last week, Cheryl hit a major stumbling block when her comeback single, Love Made Me Do It, tanked. It only sold 5,000 copies and dropped to number 48 in the charts, while I’m A Celeb! star Nick Knowles’ single, Make You Feel My Love, reached the top spot.
But it was her sexually suggestive performance on The X Factor that caused the most uproar. Her routine – which involved licking her hand and gyrating against her male dancers – was met with a barrage of criticism, with viewers branding it “cringe” and “too sexualised.” Ofcom confirmed they were assessing complaints about her routine, aired before the 9pm watershed. It prompted Cheryl, 35, to post a rant on Twitter that included, “The sheer level of unbalanced negativity towards me in the tabloid press these past few days has been quite frankly shocking and I need to address it. This level of relentless abuse should not be tolerated in any walk of life.” She added, “I did watch my performance back and I LOVED IT!”
Now pals reveal that her ex, Liam Payne – father to her 20-month-old son, Bear – has offered his support, despite their split in July.
The source says, “Liam has been in touch with Cheryl as friends and is offering her a shoulder of support. He told her to vent at him following the reaction to her X Factor performance.
“He sent her a touching message, telling her how great she was, how proud he was of her and that he thought she was kick-ass – he’s really cheering her on. There’s no chance of romance right now, but he wants her to succeed, be happy and find fulfillment again. He knows what upsets her and is one of the only people in her life who understands how hard it is when the world is always taking a bash at you.”
Pals say that in an intimate heart-to-heart over the phone, Liam – who’s had a successful solo career since One Direction went their separate ways in 2016 – urged her not to give up and told her he’d help ensure she continued to be a success in the music industry. He even offered to actively get involved in helping her career and offer his guidance for her next single.
The source says, “Liam told her to ignore the haters and just focus on all the people
❛HE SENT A TOUCHING MESSAGE, TELLING HER HOW GREAT SHE WAS & HOW PROUD HE WAS OF HER❜
who love her. He’s told her not to give up and that together they can try again. His advice was if she didn’t want to carry on performing, she should go into music management. She had a lot of input when he was launching his solo career and he really valued all her experience. She’s not quite ready to give up yet, and not like this, but she still appreciates what Liam is saying.
RETURNING THE FAVOUR
“Cheryl’s told pals Liam is helping her through this. And she’s happy they can be friends. It’s brought them closer again.”
The source adds, “Liam doesn’t want Cheryl to feel like she’s alone in any area of her life – be it bringing up Bear or fighting against the brutality of the music industry. He will never forget how she supported him when he launched his solo career, regularly Tweeting and giving constructive criticism. He’s determined to return the favour, even though they’re not together any more.”
In a recent interview, Cheryl vowed to quit music if her comeback single flopped, saying, “If the song goes in at 80 [in the charts], it’s time for me to move on with my life.” And pals say she’s now realising that may well become a reality.
To make matters worse, in the same interview, Cheryl branded being questioned about the incident where she punched toilet attendant Sophie Amogbokpa in a club in Guildford, Surrey, in 2003 “irrelevant” and “boring.”
But hours after her outburst on Twitter about the negativity surrounding her, comedian Kathy Burke brought up Cheryl’s conviction on the site, saying, “Maybe if Cheryl hadn’t punched that toilet attendant more people would buy her records,” followed with a face-palm emoji.
The source says, “One of the worst moments in Cheryl’s life was the conviction, and people bringing it up makes her prickly and defensive, so to have it happen twice in one week was a double hit. She feels she can’t move without someone wanting to take a swipe at her.”
Cheryl’s fans also noticed a striking similarity between her latest single and Paul Young’s track, Love Of The Common People. One Tweeted, “Is it just me or does the new Cheryl song (Love Made Me Do It) sound a lot like your hit @ Paulyoungparlez, Love Of The Common People. Especially the verses. @ Cherylofficial.” Another wrote, “Sounds canny familiar to Love Of The Common People, just adding a very poor wardrobe.” Paul, 62, replied saying, “I have to say, quite a few people have said this, but I’m not getting it!” Now pals say Cheryl doesn’t know what to do next. A source says, “She really thought her single would be a hit – she loves it and worked tirelessly on the X Factor routine.
“She adores performing and singing, but feels she doesn’t have much of a choice. If she can’t make a success of it, then she may be better off quitting now than going through more negativity with the next thing she does.”
Pals say the constant abuse has really knocked her after so long away from the spotlight.
Following the backlash surrounding her “raunchy” track, she released a clean version of the song, but cynical fans claimed it was an attempt to boost flagging sales.
The source says, “Cheryl is humiliated. She’s a proud person and is defiant about everything she does, which is why she Tweeted her thoughts. She’s a strong woman, but there’s only so much fight she’s got in her – the negativity is a bitter pill for her to swallow, and it makes her so angry. She was once the nation’s sweetheart and could do no wrong, but she can’t get back to that time.
“The recent slamming touched a nerve. She was expecting for people to say it was an ‘amazing comeback’, but they haven’t and it’s got to her. She feels desperate about what to do next – she doesn’t know whether to fight back with a new track or give up on music for a while.”
Liam has been offering his ex support
Viewers were left unimpressed by her sexy routine
She licked her hand during the performance