cheryl liam
Cheryl Cole, 33, and Liam Payne, 23, have been dating since December 2015Getty

Former One Direction star Liam Payne has admitted he is thrilled with life ahead of impending fatherhood with his girlfriend Cheryl Cole.

The 23-year-old made the claim during an #askLiam Twitter Q&A held on Saturday (17 December).

Answering a fan who asked "are you happy honey", he responded "the happiest I could be," a clear implicit reference to the heavily rumoured arrival of his first child.

The baby, rumoured to be due between Christmas and New Year, is set to mark a whirlwind 12 months for the couple.

Cheryl, 33, did not have children during previous marriages to footballer Ashley Cole and model Jean Bernard Fernandez-Versini, whom she divorced earlier this year.

Payne first met his current girlfriend as a 16-year-old when auditioning for the X Factor in 2010.

The youngster went on to be placed in pop group One Direction, created by boss Simon Cowell throughout the series, who quickly achieved global fame.

The band split in 2015 and Payne released his long-rumoured first solo single earlier this year.

The news comes as Cheryl, free from work commitments, inadvertently revealed herself as a secret Snapchat user with a festive post, reveal The Mirror.

Posting a cute picture of herself with a doe deer filter, the Girls Aloud star appeared to forget that the filter is only available on Snapchat, leaving many fans to ponder the username for her "private" account.

Despite the couple's clear suggestions of impending parenthood, neither have made an official announcement about the pregnancy, instead leaving pictures to speak for themselves and friends to provide updates.

Former bandmate Kimberley Walsh said: "I'm just happy that she's happy. And she'll be a brilliant mum. She has loads of nieces and nephews, so she's used to the madness of children."

Kimberley went on: "Both she and Nicola [Roberts] are naturally good with kids. I think they've both always planned to settle down and have a family."