Liam Payne seemed to be on top of the world during his boy band days with One Direction. He was just 16 years old when he was grouped into the band with fellow X-Factor contestants Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, and Zayn Malik and became a global superstar producing hit after hit. However, it seems like his life following the band’s indefinite hiatus has not been so smooth; particularly, his love life.
Since leaving One Direction, the British singer welcomed a child with ex-girlfriend and fellow British artist Cheryl Cole. Then, he dated and got engaged to Texan model Maya Henry, but their relationship was full of its own issues. Following Liam’s quiet-yet-confusing split from Maya, he got together with Instagram model and influencer Aliana Mawla. Read on to learn the specifics about Liam’s above-mentioned relationships and all the ones in between.
Liam began dating dancer Danielle Peazer after meeting her at auditions for the X-Factor in 2010. Sadly, after two years together, the pair broke up. “They have split in the last few days because it has been more and more difficult to keep the relationship going with Liam spending more and more time away,” an insider told the Daily Mirror in 2012. “He has hardly been able to see Danielle in recent months and the band have a world tour next year so it was only going to get harder.”
The following year, Liam started dating childhood friend Sophia Smith. Their romance lasted until 2015, when Sophia apparently dumped the “Get Low” singer because she wasn’t ready for such a serious relationship. “Sophia felt that their relationship was at a point where they either made a decision to get married and settle down, or they go on and do something else and experience more of the world,” an insider told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY in October 2015. “She chose the latter because she’s still so young. Sophia has always been an independent woman and believes she has a lot to achieve. She wants to remain amicable with Liam, but knows that’ll be harder now.”
Things came full circle for Liam in 2016 when he and British singer and X Factor judge Cheryl Cole got together. While fans were shocked about the relationship due to their 10-year age gap, it may have been less of a surprise if they knew how giddy Cheryl was after Liam’s audition for the talent scouting show. “I like you,” Cheryl told a bright-eyed Liam during his first audition in 2008, according to People. “I think you’re really cute. I think you’ve got charisma. You know, you gave that really cheeky wink,” she gushed. Two years later, she praised his “really powerful” voice.
Furthermore, Liam’s ex Sophia admitted she wasn’t at all surprised about the romance. “I wasn’t shocked when it came out because they’re in the same industry,” she told MailOnline in July 2016. “I’m five years older than him so I know that he maybe has a thing for age gaps. I mean look at her, I’d go out with her!” She also said she is happy to see him happy.
The pair began dating in late 2015 and made their red carpet debut in May 2016 at Eva Longoria’s Global Gift Gala, where Cheryl was the recipient of the Global Gift philanthropist award. Soon after, the two lovebirds got pregnant and Cheryl stepped out in London with a growing baby bump in November of that year, per People. And in March of 2017, they welcomed their son, Bear. “On Wednesday 22nd March Liam and I became parents to an incredibly beautiful, healthy baby boy, weighing 7lb 9 and looking like a dream,” Cheryl announced via Instagram, per CBS News. “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.”
Liam shared his own post of him cuddling his newborn and wrote, “I’m incredibly happy to welcome our new baby boy into the world, it’s a moment that I will never forget for the rest of my life and my favourite memory I have so far.” He continued, “I’m completely in awe of his incredible mother and how she has been the whole way through this, she’s really made my dreams come true. We haven’t named him yet but he’s already capturing hearts including mine. I feel very blessed.”
Unfortunately, the happy times wore out and Cheryl and Liam went their separate ways. “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,” Liam tweeted in July 2018. In a November 2018 interview, Cheryl hinted that Liam’s new life may have been too big of a change for him. “So [Liam] wanted to settle down and have a family and not do the solo thing. Then we encouraged him to to that,” she told The Sunday Times (via Mirror). “And then it didn’t work out.”
It seems that there is no bad blood between Liam and his former girlfriend, as the “Polaroid” singer gushed about co-parenting with her in 2021. “Cheryl is literally the best person to co-parent with. No stress involved. It’s very, very relaxed, and we spend a lot of time on FaceTime,” he told Glamour.
Sadly, the same cannot be said for Liam and Maya Henry. The two began dating in 2019 following Liam’s split from Cheryl. In August 2020, Liam asked for Maya’s hand in marriage. Unfortunately, the two ended up calling it quits and ended their engagement by June of 2021.
In an interview that month, Liam hinted that his personal issues were at least partly to blame for the split. “I’ve just not been very good at relationships,” Liam admitted to Steven Bartlett, the host of The Diary Of A CEO YouTube show. “I know what my pattern is with relationships at this point. I’m just not very good at them. I need to work on myself first before I put myself onto somebody else. I just wasn’t giving a very good version of me and I didn’t appreciate or like me. I feel better out of it. I didn’t feel good for doing what I did, but it had to happen. It was what’s best for both of us.”
However, they found their way back to one another two months later. The pair seemed to be going strong until April 2022, when rumors of a split circulated. Their official breakup was confirmed after Instagram model Aliana Mawla posted photos of Liam cuddling her and holding her hand on her Instagram story on May 23. The situation was a bit confusing because neither Liam nor Maya had publicly confirmed their split, and in a since-deleted comment, Maya pleaded with fans to stop showing her pictures of her man with another woman. “I love all of the fans so much but please stop sending me these pictures of my fiancé wrapped around another woman. This is not me and it’s hard enough knowing this has happened without seeing it. Enough now,” she wrote underneath fan account images of Aliana’s story posts. Liam’s representative has since confirmed that Maya and Liam are no longer together.
It is not clear exactly when Aliana and Liam started dating, but if he and Maya broke up in April, he appears to have moved on quite quickly. Aliana and Liam met while shooting the music video for “Familiar,” which served as a collaboration between the father of one and J. Balvin. The new couple made their first public appearance together on May 24. They were photographed walking arm-in-arm through London’s Heathrow Airport.