Wait, is Liam Payne back together with Cheryl Cole? That seems to be the question on everyone’s minds after the One Direction member was spotted hanging with his ex-girlfriend. Yep, the former flames were just caught spending some time together again — just one month after Payne split from Maya Henry — and we’re all pretty shook over the reconciliation.

According to Daily Mail, the exes publicly reunited (for the first time in three years) to attend Payne’s niece’s first birthday party in Wolverhampton, England, on Wednesday, June 23. The outlet obtained photos of the pair, who looked in high spirits as they exited the celebration side by side and got into a car together. So are these two dating again? Here’s what you need to know…

What Happened Between Liam Payne And Cheryl Cole?

Liam Payne Cheryl Cole

For those who missed it, the “Strip That Down” crooner dated Cole for more than two years before they split in 2018. They first went public with their relationship in February 2016, and they quickly became couple goals — constantly sharing cute pics together, gushing over each other in interviews, attending events side by side, supporting each other’s work and more. And get this — they even welcomed a son together, named Bear, in March 2017! Everything seemed picture perfect between them, but in June 2018, the 1D heartthrob shocked the entire world when he announced that they had broken up.

“Cheryl and I are sad to announce that we are going our separate ways,” he said in a Twitter statement at the time. “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.”

But Why Did They Split Up?

Liam Payne

The Girls Aloud singer later opened up about what went wrong between them, and she admitted that it felt like Payne was struggling to balance being a dad and working.

“He wanted to settle down and have a family and not do the solo thing,” she explained. “Then we encouraged him to do that. And then it didn’t work out. He was almost having two lives. You have to switch your head onto pop star and then switch it back to daddy.”

Where Do They Stand Now?

So are they back together? Well, unfortunately it’s still unclear what is going on between them, but it definitely hasn’t been a secret that the two stars have stayed cordial since their split. Payne spoke out about his ex during an interview last year, and he had nothing but nice things to say about her.

“[Cheryl is] one of the most, if not the most, important people in my life. I’m lucky I have someone who understands what I’m going through. The one thing I was missing as a man in the relationship I had was a level understanding about what she was feeling about stuff. I think I learnt through being away that while I want to protect her, there’s a big part of her that wants to protect me,” Payne gushed.

He also complimented her on Mother’s Day, writing on Twitter, “Thanks to two very special ladies and a very special little man… Happy Mother’s Day mum and Cheryl you two are the most amazing mothers Bear and I could have asked for, thanks for raising me right and thank you Cheryl for showing my son all the love in the world.”

Cole also previously praised the musician for being a “great dad” while chatting with the British newspaper The Telegraph.

“I’m the strict one, Liam isn’t. I’ll be the one saying, ‘just one square of chocolate.’ Liam is a great dad. He’s much softer than me,” she told the outlet, adding that she doesn’t mind co-parenting with her ex. “It is what it is, and I’m OK about it. When you have a baby, you are not consumed with just thinking about yourself. It’s your responsibility to keep things settled and happy, so you make the best of everything. And we have.”

Plus, after he split from Henry, a source told Heat World that Cole was the “voice of reason” behind it.

“It was Cheryl who was telling him that if he wasn’t happy, then he needed to ‘grow a set’ and speak out. She saw it as her responsibility to be the voice of reason, as Liam’s choices have a direct impact on Bear,” the insider explained.

What Went Down Between Him And Maya Henry?

Liam Payne and Maya Henry

For those who don’t know, Henry actually met Payne all the way back in 2015 at a 1D meet and greet as a fan! But it wasn’t until August 2018 (right after he and Cole went their separate ways) when they reconnected that feelings started to develop. At the time, they were photographed hanging out in Italy together, but when the pop star was spotted packing on the PDA with model Cairo Dwek a few weeks later, everyone assumed things had ended.

But things didn’t end there! Then, one year later — in August 2019 — they were caught holding hands while leaving a nightclub in London, confirming that they were back on. At the time, a source told The Sun, “Liam and Maya have been together for several months now. He is besotted and they get on very well. He wanted to wait before they started going public. He is close to Cheryl and, out of respect to her, only wanted to go public with a girlfriend when he knew it was right.”

They went Instagram official one month later, when Payne shared a super cute pic of him and the model, which he captioned, “Sometimes I don’t recognize this happy guy… Sure glad you brought him back though. All smiles over here.”

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Liam Payne (@liampayne)

In August 2020, rumors started to swirl that the model and the pop star were engaged, after she was photographed wearing what appeared to be a diamond ring on that finger. His rep confirmed that exciting news to Us Weekly, and naturally, fans were pretty excited for them! It definitely seemed like things were going great between them, but he admitted during an interview with People Magazine that it wasn’t as perfect as it looked online.

“It’s been a blessing, but we’ve had our ups and our downs,” he explained. “This has been a very strange year and we were really living on top of each other at one point. It’s a full-time job and sometimes it’s really draining, but she’s very understanding and we’re getting on really really well and having a great time.”

Then, in June 2021, Payne announced that they had broken up, and he admitted that he was the one to end it, since he “wasn’t giving a good version” of himself anymore.

“I’m disappointed in myself that I keep hurting people. That annoys me. I’ve just not been very good at relationships,” he admitted. “I know what my pattern of things is with relationships at this point. I’m just not very good at them so I just need to work on myself before I put myself on to someone else. That’s what happened with my relationship [with Henry]. I just wasn’t giving a very good version of me anymore. I feel better out of it. I didn’t feel good doing what I did but it had to happen.”

The 27-year-old added that it was the “best for both of them” and that he “hopes she is happy.”