After all, Cheryl is ten years Liam's senior, and their relationship seemed like a classic rebound fling.
(Cole was still married at the time she started dating Payne.)
Now, however, it looks like millions of hopeful Directioners have cause to be disappointed, as Liam and Cheryl have apparently taken a major step forward together.
No, they're not getting married - but they'll definitely be tied to one another til death do they part.
Back in October, several media outlets reported that Cole is pregnant with Payne's baby.
Today, that rumor seems to have been confirmed by Payne's former bandmate and close friend Niall Horan.
Asked about the Payne's forthcoming bundle of joy in a recent interview, Horan slipped up and said he's "looking forward to meeting" Payne's baby.
"Liam hasn't said he nervous but I'm sure he is. I bet he can't wait as well. It is a very exciting thing in your life," the 23-year-old added.
"He's great and she's lovely, it will be a lovely child."
Considering Cole and Payne have both been mum on the subject, we're guessing they were planning to keep it under wraps a little while longer.
So much for that plan.
Of course, they weren't making much of an effort to keep the pregnancy on the down-low.
The first round of rumors began when Liam proclaimed himself "the luckiest man in the world" in his Twitter bio.
Shortly thereafter, the media noticed that Cole appeared to be sporting bump-concealing clothing.
No word on the due date, but if Cole was already showing in early October, the little one should be along in the next three or four months.
Liam, of course, won't be the first bloke to expand the One Direction family.
Louis Tomlinson became a father when his former girlfriend Briana Jungwirth gave birth in January of 2016.
Little Freddie Reign celebrated his first birthday just last week.
Tomlinson has gushed about the joys of fatherhood in several interviews in the year since he welcomed his baby boy.
Maybe seeing how happy his friend is inspired Louis to take a shot at being a dad.
Of course, he and Cole seem a bit more serious as a couple than Louis and Briana ever were.
Sorry, 1D fanatics.
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