Liam Payne, 24, and singer Cheryl Cole, 35, are going their separate directions ways.
The former One Direction singer and the “X Factor UK” judge announced their split on Sunday after nearly two years together. The two have a 1-year-old son together, Bear.
“We are sad to announce that we are going our separate ways. It’s been a tough decision for us to make,” the joint statement said, which appeared somewhat differently on the pair’s respective Twitter accounts. “We still have so much love for each other as a family. Bear is our world and we ask that you respect his privacy as we navigate our way through this together.”
After his audition, Cole said, “I like you, I think you’re really cute. I think you’ve got charisma ― you know ― when you give us that cheeky little wink.”
Though Payne didn’t advance in the show at the time, he later locked eyes with Cole when he reappeared on the show in 2010 and was paired with his future One Direction stars.
“X Factor UK” gave Payne the career of a lifetime, but the 24-year-old told the radio station “The Hits” that his favorite moment on the show involved Cheryl, saying “I think when I winked at my Mrs. on the show, before she was my Mrs. I think it’s just the best thing ever.”
The two began dating in 2015 shortly after Cole split from her second husband, Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini (she was previously married to soccer player Ashley Cole). They made things official — with an Instagram photo, of course — in early 2016.
The two announced that Cole had given birth to their first child, a son named Bear, in March 2017. People first confirmed the pregnancy in November 2016.
“On Wednesday 22nd March Liam and I became parents to an incredibly beautiful, healthy baby boy, weighing 7lb 9 and looking like a dream,” Cole wrote in an Instagram post. “Although he still doesn’t have a name he is already stealing hearts. We are all madly in love and overwhelmingly happy with our little arrival. Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers around the world. A day that now has a different meaning to me forever.”
Shortly afterward, Payne opened up about dating his “dream girl” in an interview with the U.K. magazine Rollacoaster.
“She is a wonderful, wonderful person and it’s amazing to have someone who can relate to so much of things — someone who’s taken greater steps than me,” Payne said. “She’s been my dream girl since I was younger. She’s so ace.”