Liam Payne shunned the dating scene for “the longest time” following his high-profile split from ex-girlfriend Cheryl amid fears his every move would be reported in the press.
The One Direction star called it quits with Cheryl, the mother of his two-year-old son Bear, in July, 2018, and he has since found love with model Maya Henry, who he has been linked to since the start of 2019.
It took him a while to feel comfortable stepping out with a new love interest again, but now he’s found happiness with Maya, and he’s keen to protect the romance by keeping it largely out of the public eye.
“For the longest time, living such an exposed life made dating really hard…,” Liam told MTV News.
“I’m kind of at the place in my life now where I just realise it’s not worth sacrificing my happiness just because somebody might see something. I don’t have anything to hide, so I’m really happy right now and things are good.”
The Strip That Down hitmaker reveals he still has to deal with “300 girls chasing after” him whenever they go out, but so far, the fan “frenzy” hasn’t turned Maya off, and he’s grateful to have her in his life.
“Now that I’ve found someone who’s genuinely my best friend – as well as my partner – it’s massively changed things for me,” Liam shared. “She’s just so relaxed about everything and someone who’s completely got your back with everything, (it) is just the wildest thing. I don’t think I’ve ever really experienced that before in someone, so that’s quite a wonder to watch actually.”
The pop star also feels he’s in a better place now emotionally to appreciate the kind of relationship he has with Maya: “A lot of things in my life have happened very quickly, and I’ve not had the sense of stability with somebody in the way that I have it with (Maya),” Liam said. “She keeps me calm and grounded about a lot of stuff that I am usually not so at ease about. There is never a lack of trust.
“It’s about having someone you can hang with, where you’re never pressured to fill the silence. Everything outside and around me is so high intensity right now. She brings the calm.”