Cheryl and Liam Payne announce split

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Liam Payne, CheylImage source, Getty Images

Singers Cheryl and Liam Payne have announced they are splitting up after more than two years together.

The former Girls Aloud star, 35, and One Direction member, 24, split up two weeks ago, according to the Sun.

The couple have a son, Bear, who was born in March last year.

They confirmed the split on social media, saying they were "sad" and it had been a "tough decision to make", adding: "We still have so much love for each other as a family".

Cheryl tweeted: "Bear is our world and we ask that you respect his privacy as we navigate our way through this together."

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Payne posted an almost identical message to his 33m followers on Twitter.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Newcastle-born Cheryl started her career on ITV's Popstars: The Rivals in 2002 as one of the members of Girls Aloud. She then went on to launch a solo career and became a judge on The X Factor in 2008.

She met Payne when he auditioned for the reality show that year, aged 14.

"I think you've got charisma," she told him, after he performed the jazz standard Fly Me To The Moon. "I think you're really cute".

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Payne failed to make it past the judge's houses stage but, following a second audition in 2010, was drafted into One Direction, who became a global chart phenomenon.

Cheryl's relationship with the star began after her divorce from French restaurateur Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini in 2016. She was previously married to the former England footballer Ashley Cole.

Following the end of her second marriage, the star, who was born Cheryl Tweedy, said she wanted to be known just by her first name.

Payne, originally from Wolverhampton, has gone on to forge a successful solo career after One Direction decided to take a break in 2015. His single Strip That Down, which was written by Ed Sheeran, was streamed globally more than a billion times last year.

In March, Payne admitted he and Cheryl had relationship "struggles", amid tabloid press reports about their life together.

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