Cheryl and Liam Payne announce split

Cheryl and Liam Payne have announced they have split.

The pair called it quits after two-and-a-half years together, revealing they will share custody of their son Bear.

Both Liam, 24, and Cheryl, 35, broke the news to fans with a joint statement on Twitter, admitting 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.

"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."

A day before the break up was announced, Cheryl celebrated her 35th birthday with her close friends and Girls Aloud bandmates Nicola Roberts and Kimberley Walsh.

It was reported Liam had been in the UK but did not attend.

Rumours of a rift between the couple were first reported in February this year, as the launch of Liam’s solo career saw him jetting off around the world while Cheryl took care of son Bear back at home.

A friend close to the couple has called the split amicable and said there is no third party involved.

The insider also told The Sun that the break up had been a ‘mutual, loving decision’ between Cheryl and Liam.

"They get on great and this was a decision they made taking into account what’s right for their son.

“But they are adamant they will be the best possible parents to Bear by both being in his life.

"Liam is living elsewhere but he still sees Bear all the time," they added.

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Reports that Cheryl and Liam’s relationship had turned sour began swirling in February this year.

The pair appeared to hit back at the claims by putting on a united front at the 2018 Brit Awards that same month.

Arriving together on the red carpet, Cheryl and Liam wrapped their arms around each other and giggled for the cameras.

But just weeks later Liam admitted they were going through a rough patch.

"The funniest thing was a week before we were getting married. The next we are splitting up.

"And the thing for me is, I just like to think we are 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, "he told the Evening Standard’s ES magazine.

The couple, who first met when Cheryl was a judge and Liam a contestant on 2008’s X Factor , are thought to have got together in early 2016, soon after Cheryl split with second husband, Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini.

She was also previously married to footballer Ashley Cole, although they split in 2010.

A year after Liam and Cheryl made their union official, they welcomed son Bear on March 22 2017.

But Just 11 months after Bear’s arrival, it was reported the couple were having problems due to not spending enough time together.

"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."

In April the pair jetted off on a reported ‘make or break holiday.’

A defiant Cheryl told fans at the time: "Now.. off on our holiday. And the only thing we’re making are memories. And breaking is our healthy eating. Toodles."

But just three months later, after months of rumours, the pair announced on Twitter they were splitting after two-and-half years together.

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