Cheryl Tweedy and Liam Payne have split up after a two-and-a-half-year relationship, The Sun can reveal.
But friends insist the pair will remain close friends to continue to parent their 1-year-old son Bear together.
A pal revealed: “Cheryl and Liam worked really hard on their relationship – they had troubles earlier this year and were able to get through them.
“But they’re in different stages of their lives and, after a lot of careful thought, came to a decision that it’s best for everyone if they do go their separate ways.
“He still cares for her and she cares for him. They still have an ongoing relationship together. They have a baby together.
“Both Cheryl and Liam have successful careers that take a lot of time, which didn’t always make things easy. There were ups and downs for a long time.”
After being approached by The Sun, Cheryl, 35, and Liam, 24, released a statement confirming their break-up.
They posted a message on social media that read: “We 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.”
Sources close to the couple say the split is amicable and there is no third party involved.
A friend explained: “This was a mutual loving decision. There is no animosity – they made the call based on what’s best for their family.
“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.”
Cheryl celebrated her 35th birthday on Friday night with close pals, including her Girls Aloud bandmates and best friends Nicola Roberts and Kimberley Walsh. Liam was in the UK but did not attend.
Cheryl posted a birthday a picture of herself on Instagram with the caption: “Go shorty it’s my birthday.”
We first told in February how Liam and Cheryl were discussing ending their relationship.
But they were able to work through their problems at the time and put on a very public display of affection at the Brit Awards to quell speculation about their future.
However, Liam soon opened up about their problems, admitting there was “tenseness” in the relationship.
He said: “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.”
The unlikely couple fell in love after Cheryl ended her marriage to French playboy Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini, 37, at the end of 2015 after a troubled 18-month marriage.
Cheryl and JB got a quickie divorce after she said she suffered “stress and weight loss” due to their marriage.
More from OkHithq.com: