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Signs Cheryl and Liam were heading for a split: From weeks spent apart to awkward red carpet appearances

Mirror logo Mirror 02/07/2018 Zoe Shenton
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Cheryl Cole and Liam Payne have split following two and a half years together.

However, the annoucement came as little surprise to most as rumours of relationship troubles have been dogging the now former couple since the start of the year.

The pair - who have a 10-year age gap between them - got together as Liam was throwing himself into his solo work following One Direction's hiatus.

In February, just 11 months after Bear's arrival, news breaks that the couple are reportedly having problems due to not spending enough time together.

Cheryl Cole and Liam Payne have split following two and a half years together. © getty Cheryl Cole and Liam Payne have split following two and a half years together. Liam, 24, was away working a lot and Cheryl, 35, was at home bringing up their son alone.

"There are very real strains of trying to adapt to parenthood whilst being in the spotlight and having to appear as though everything is rosy all of the time," a source told the Daily Mail.

"It's is fair to say at the moment there is a lot of pressure on both her and Liam. Being apart isn't helping that."

Despite not commenting on the split rumours, the couple make a very public statement by attending the Brit Awards together.

During a live TV interview with Liam and host Jack Whitehall , Cheryl reveals her 'safe word' in sex, much to the surprise of even Liam himself.

Liam Payne holding a sign posing for the camera: It was their last public outting © Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited It was their last public outting The pair go all out on the red carpet with a seriously loved-up display, but are pictured looking glum as they leave the bash.

Insiders later said the pair appeared strained behind the scenes.

"They barely spoke when they were waiting backstage - occasionally, Cheryl would whisper into Liam's ear, but they were mainly speaking to the people around them," the source told The Sun.

At the end of March, Liam then admitted that he and Cheryl were having issues in their relationship and confessed the two were having "struggles" and admitted that not everything was "fine and dandy".

"The funniest thing was a week before we were getting married. The next week we’re splitting up," he told the Evening Standard's ES magazine .

a close up of a couple of people posing for the camera: Cheryl celebrated her birthday with her Girls Aloud pals © Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Cheryl celebrated her birthday with her Girls Aloud pals "And the thing for me is, I just like to think we’re somewhere in the middle. You know, we have our struggles — like of course I’m not gonna sit here and say that everything’s absolutely fine and dandy, because of course you go through different things, and that’s what a relationship is."

It was then reported that Cheryl was furious that the singer had spoken so publicly about their relationship troubles.

And just a day before the split news was announced, Cheryl celebrated her birthday with Girls Aloud pals Nicola Roberts and Kimberley Walsh. Liam was nowhere to be seen.

a cat with its mouth open: Liam with son Bear © Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Liam with son Bear The following day, they announced they had made the decision to split two weeks ago and Liam had moved out of the house.

Both Liam and Cheryl broke the news to fans with a joint statement shared on Twitter, saying they were 'sad' and it had been a 'tough decision' to make.

One Direction star Liam tweeted: "Cheryl and I are sad to announce that we are going our separate ways. It's been a tough decision for us to make.

a man wearing glasses and looking at the camera: The pair released a statement on Sunday evening © Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited The pair released a statement on Sunday evening "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."

But no one seemed that shocked by the news, with one fan writing in response: "Surprised they last this long."

A second shared: "No news really, I'm surprised they lasted as long as they did."

Another said that their ten-year age difference no doubt played a factor, adding: "He's very focused on his career around the world."

Related: Liam on 10-year age gap between himself and Cheryl (People)

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