Liam Payne, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini

Getty Images

Liam Payne, 22, is dating The X Factor judge Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, 32, E! News has confirmed.

Fernandez-Versini, formerly known as Cheryl Cole, first met him when he auditioned at age 14 for the U.K. singing competition series in 2008 and then saw him again at age 16 when he tried out in 2010, which led to the formation of One Direction.

Payne and longtime girlfriend Sophia Smith broke up in October. It was reported last month Fernandez-Versini seeks to end her married to second husband Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini. The two wed in 2014.

The U.K. newspaper The Sun, which first reported Payne and Fernandez-Versini's romance, said the two became friends in recent years after she signed with 1D's management company and began dating late last year. The outlet quoted a friend of the pair as saying, "It was unexpected but they've both made each other incredibly happy."

Happy Valentine's Day baby ...????????

A photo posted by Liam Payne (@fakeliampayne) on

While Liam and Fernandez-Versini have kept mum about details on their love lives, the One Direction singer changed his Instagram profile pic to a photo of the two.

He had also posted on Instagram on Valentine's Day a photo of a rose, writing, "Happy Valentine's Day baby."

Liam Payne

GVK/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

Last month, he got a rose tattoo on his hand. Fernandez-Versini has a huge rose tattoo on her butt and lower back that bears a similar design. 

At his 2010 The X Factor audition, Payne had wowed all four judges with a rendition of the hit '50s song "Cry Me A River" and he and four other finalists, Louis TomlinsonNiall HoranHarry Styles and Zayn Malik were grouped together to become One Direction, later placing third but becoming one of the biggest pop groups in the world. Malik has since left the band.

"You've definitely got it, whatever it is that you've got it, and I thought your voice was really, really powerful," Fernandez-Versini had told Payne after his audition.

"I knew Liam was always good and he always looked like a pop star, a typical pop star," she said on the show. "But I actually didn't realize how much he could grow by being in a group."

  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share

We and our partners use cookies on this site to improve our service, perform analytics, personalize advertising, measure advertising performance, and remember website preferences. By using the site, you consent to these cookies. For more information on cookies including how to manage your consent visit our Cookie Policy.