Liam Payne and Cheryl Split: A Timeline of Their Relationship

"We still have so much love for each other as a family."
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Liam Payne and Cheryl Split: A Timeline of Their Relationship John Phillips/Getty Images

British singers Liam Payne and Cheryl have taken to social media to announce the end of their almost three-year relationship.

There were reports that Cheryl, 35, and Liam, 24, separated two weeks ago, but the couple confirmed the split today by tweeting near-identical statements.

Liam posted: "Cheryl and I are sad to announce that we are going our separate ways. It's been a tough decision for us to make. We still have so much love for each other as a family."

He continued: "Bear [their son] is our world and we ask that you respect his privacy as we navigate our way through this together," referring to the couple's son who was born in March last year.

Tabloid speculation around the couple has been rife over the last six months, with Liam acknowledging he and his wife sometimes experienced rough patches in their relationship. There are reports that Liam has already moved out of the couple's $6.5 million mansion in Surrey, England.

The couple made a rare appearance at the Brit awards in February. Cheryl responded to speculation that their displays of affection looked staged by posting: "Oh stop. No one cares who's been speculatively arguing or not in their relationships."

The couple has known each other for a decade, first meeting when Liam was a 14-year-old hopeful on The X Factor talent contest. He went on to join the band One Direction, who sold 50 million records worldwide. The band went on hiatus in 2016.

Just hours before the split was announced, Liam reminisced on Twitter: "[W]hen I auditioned for X factor 10 years ago I had a hole in my George Asda shoes, borrowed Armandi jeans from a friend just a 14 year old boy with big dreams ... crazy what ten years can do... thank you."

Cheryl had already suffered two divorces before her romance with Liam blossomed. She married soccer star Ashley Cole in 2006, but they were divorced four years later after she discovered he had been unfaithful.

She then wed Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini in 2014 after a whirlwind three-month romance. They divorced in 2016.

After dating for a little over a year, Liam and Cheryl had their first child, Bear, in March 2017. But Liam soon admitted that his busy schedule was contributing to the couple's struggles.

We look back on the couple's long history together, from their teenage talent show successes, through to domestic bliss and the trials of family life.

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2002: Nineteen-year-old Cheryl Tweedy auditions for talent show ITV's Popstars: The Rivals. She becomes one of the winners, joining successful pop group Girls Aloud. Steve Finn/Getty Images