London: One Direction band member Liam Payne is reportedly dating “The X Factor” judge Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, who is 10 years his senior.
The relationship is not just a fling because Payne is “madly in love” with her, and “this is the real deal”, a source close to the pair was quoted as saying by The Sun, reports aceshowbiz.com.
“Cheryl and Liam are in a relationship. It was unexpected but they’ve both made each other incredibly happy,” the insider said, while adding that Cheryl is “carefree and happy again”.
According to the report, their romance bloomed in December last year.
(Also Read: Cheryl may not change her surname after divorce)
Their matching tattoos could be taken as evidence. Last month, Payne inked black and white roses on his hand and it has the same design with the coloured roses on her buttocks.
She is in the middle of divorcing her husband Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini whom she married in July 2014 after dating for only three months. They split in August 2015 before his 35th birthday.
Earlier last month, she cited “unreasonable behaviour” as the reason of the split. Payne split from Sophia Smith, his girlfriend of two years, in November 2015.
Cheryl had been friends with Payne ever since she signed with One Direction’s management company Modest.
“…there was never anything romantic between them in the past,” the insider said.