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Fans have been left baffled by the 'strange' comments Liam Payne made about ex Cheryl Cole while appearing on Logan Paul's Impaulsive podcast.
Rewind all the way back to 2010. Lady Gaga had walked down the red carpet in a literal meat dress, Wills and Kate had just put a ring on it... and a 14-year-old Liam Payne met Cheryl Cole for the first time.
I'm pretty sure we all remember that series of The X-Factor – it produced One Direction, after all – but it was also the point Liam apparently tried to 'stand out' by 'winking' at Cheryl during his audition, unbeknown to the fact that years later she would become the mother to his child.
"Listen, when I was 14 I was hot... just kidding," he joked to host Paul this week.
"There's a bigger part of the story... What happened in one of my auditions is that they put a female judge in front of me and I had to make myself stand out – half way through the song I winked at her.
"Don't judge me.
"So, like I went back to school the day after [I'd] winked at Cheryl in the audition and my friends had gone 'what the f**king hell do you think you're doing winking at Cheryl Cole on TV?'."
Explaining the whole thing 'came naturally', the ex One Direction bandmate added: "And then fast forward years later we ended up having a baby together."
When asked how 'much of it do you attribute to that wink?', he replied: "I guess it is a registered weapon – I have to check it in.
"It's the weirdest how I met your mother story ever because she was the judge on the show – I had a hole in my shoe at the time."
Cheryl and Liam first went public with their relationship back in 2016 after eagle-eyed fans spotted the pair together in a local supermarket.
Just a year later they welcomed their son Bear, before calling quits on their romance in 2018. Liam was quick to praise his ex, however, telling Paul: "It all worked out great and she's the best mum in the world."
Safe to say, fans were less than impressed with the remarks, with one writing: "It’s just weird like even if it is a joke why would you joke about that."
it makes me uncomfortable like he clearly isn’t being serious but I really hate that he said that and didn’t make it obviously clear that they came in contact again until years later— Anj🍷in a daydream (@otb_daffodils) June 1, 2022
It’s just weird like even if it is a joke why would you joke about that— avi is home !! (@hbwvol28) June 1, 2022
Meanwhile, another said: "it makes me uncomfortable like he clearly isn’t being serious but I really hate that he said that and didn’t make it obviously clear that they came in contact again until years later."
A third added: "Did he say anything not weird as sh*t in this interview bc everything i'm seeing is ????"
Elsewhere in the episode, Liam spoke of his ex bandmate Zayn Malik, telling Paul: "“If I had to go through what he went through -- with his growth and whatever else... My parents are overly supportive to the point where it's annoying at times. Zayn had a different upbringing in that sense.
"You can always look at the man for where he is and say, 'Oh yeah, whatever, that guy's a d**k.' But at the end of the day, once you're understanding what he's been through to get to that point -- and also whether or not he wanted to be there.”