'I was watching her when I was a kid and now we're together with a kid' - Liam Payne gushes over Cheryl
Liam Payne has gushed over his relationship with girlfriend of nearly two years Cheryl, describing himself as "X Factor's biggest winner".
The One Direction star (24) first met his other half back in 2008: he was a 14-year-old aspiring singer auditioning on the reality show, where she was a judge, which is where his crush first developed. They remained friends throughout his time on the show and in January 2016, they went public with their relationship, four months after Cheryl (34) divorced her second husband Jean Bernard Fernandez Versini.
It's clear Liam always harboured a flame for his teenage crush and still can't believe his luck that they're an item - and have a son Bear (six months) together.
"It's a ridiculous place to be in. She's even more amazing than I thought. I was watching her do Fight For This Love [her debut solo single, from 2009] when I was a kid, and now we're together with a kid. I feel like I'm X Factor's biggest winner," he told the Telegraph magazine.
Payne identifies as feeling exceptionally mature for his age, balancing being a teenager in the public eye, while also keeping his feet on the ground.
"I was put with a group of rowdy teenagers, and when I was a teenager, I had mates, but I was always with my dad. I'd go out to the pub and chat with him. So when I was stuck with these boys I was thinking, "f*** me, I don’t know how to do it."
"When something was going wrong, I’d get a phone call. If there was an apology needed, it was me. I was the spokesperson for the band, as it were, with the press and the label."
He has never been shy about gushing over his love for his girlfriend, who is considerably more press shy after being bitted badly over the years.