OK! (UK)

LIAM PAYNE

AFTER GOING PUBLIC WITH HIS NEW LOVE, LIAM PAYNE TALKS OF HIS CHILDHOOD, SPOILING SON BEAR AND WORKING WITH ED SHEERAN

- INTERVIEW BY SAMANTHA FRASER/ HOTFEATURE­S EDITED BY SARAH PACKER

ON HIS ‘NORMAL’ UPBRINGING AND SPOILING SON BEAR

Liam Payne is embracing a new chapter in his life. The pop star has found love again with model Maya Henry, following his split from Cheryl Tweedy, 36, last year.

After going public, no one can deny the chemistry between the new couple after they were pictured together in London last week.

‘She’s awesome,’ says Liam of Maya, 19. ‘It’s got to the point with my life where I’m like, screw this – it’s not worth my happiness. The difference with her is she’s so relaxed that it helps me relax in a situation,’ he added.

The former One Direction star, 26, is currently promoting the release of his new single Stack It Up. He says the track, cowritten by Ed Sheeran, is about inspiring others to work hard and earn money, just as he’s done to support his two-year-old son Bear, who he shares with Cheryl.

Here, Liam reveals how his son is spoilt rotten compared to his own working class background and why he feels overwhelme­d by the success of his solo career...

Is earning money important to you?

A hundred per cent – especially now I have a son who I want to give everything to, everything that I might not have had when I was a kid. Also when you end up in this position, you look after your own family – so my mum and dad, and everybody. I’ve always been quite business orientated, too.

It’s so hard to control that. We have a lot of extended family between me and my former partner and they buy him stuff all the time. I can’t really say: ‘Don’t buy him stuff.’ But we were actually talking about it recently, because he has so many toys in the house and I’m like, I will literally get him one toy. Because he doesn’t need loads, he’s got loads. I couldn’t believe it when I walked in on Christmas Day. I’ve never seen so many presents in my life for one very small child. I was like: ‘How the hell do I explain to him this isn’t normal, this doesn’t happen for everyone?’ It’s a bit ludicrous really but I can’t help the fact that people love him and they want to spoil him. I just think as he gets older I’m going to have to teach him the value of what it is. No, my family were in debt – we lived in a very small house. I had a very normal upbringing. So to go from that to getting to this point, that’s where this song comes from. You’ve got a car you can’t afford an MOT for, and you can’t tip the guy at the valet. That was very much my life when I was a kid so to now be in this position is the best thing ever.

Tell us more about the inspiratio­n behind your new track Stack It Up…

It’s a lot from my own life actually, throughout my career.

Nearly 12 years I’ve been doing this now, which is crazy. I started at 14 and had a few knock backs here and there. But I’ve had to work very hard to get to where I am in life. The song is supposed to inspire people to want to go to work and earn money and achieve their dreams.

How closely did you work with Ed Sheeran about the meaning behind the song?

Ed Sheeran and I had a really long conversati­on about the fact the song was very money orientated. It’s my message and I’m putting it out there, but I have to be very careful about the way people perceive it. I’ve been very lucky to earn money and have a really nice lifestyle but if you don’t have anyone to share it with it’s pretty pointless. There’s definitely been times in my life where I’ve been very much on my own with loads of great stuff and it’s like, well this is s**t.

Do fans have to wait much longer for your debut solo album?

The album was actually finished a while ago but I’d say probably next year, more likely. I feel like it’s now exactly how I’d want my first album to sound. It’s very hip hop and R&B orientated, with lots of artists that I like – an Usher and Justin Timberlake reference throughout. I’m really happy with it.

Has your solo career succeeded your expectatio­ns? Massively, in every single way. I’m so happy about it, it’s the wildest thing ever.

 ??  ?? Do you spoil Bear? Did your family have a lot of money growing up?
Do you spoil Bear? Did your family have a lot of money growing up?
 ??  ?? Above: Liam, who dated Cheryl (below) for three years, recently went public with his new girlfriend Maya
Above: Liam, who dated Cheryl (below) for three years, recently went public with his new girlfriend Maya
 ??  ?? Ed Sheeran cowrote Liam’s new song Stack It Up
Ed Sheeran cowrote Liam’s new song Stack It Up
 ?? PHOTOGRAPH­S BY BACKGRID UK, GETTY IMAGES, INSTAGRAM ?? Above: ‘I’ve had to work very hard to get to where I am in life,’ says Liam, who is father to son Bear (top right)
PHOTOGRAPH­S BY BACKGRID UK, GETTY IMAGES, INSTAGRAM Above: ‘I’ve had to work very hard to get to where I am in life,’ says Liam, who is father to son Bear (top right)

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