Cheryl Fernandez-Versini
Cheryl and Liam appear loved-up as they pose for another selfie together Liam Payne/Instagram

The former girlfriend of One Direction star Liam Payne has admitted that she was left stunned by news of his new romance with Cheryl Fernandez-Versini . Speaking to Now magazine, Sophia Smith, who dated the heartthrob for two years, said: "It's SO weird. I knew about them a little bit ago, but who thought it would actually come out?"

The fashion business student, who kept a dignified silence after she split from Payne in October 2015, added that despite her initial shock she has accepted the relationship: "Yeah... I'm okay. I'm all good."

In recent weeks Smith has been licking her wounds by spending time with Louis Tomlinson's ex Eleanor Calder, who knows her pain first-hand. The new BFFs recently shared a black and white snap of themselves pouting for the camera.

Although Payne appeared to move on quickly, at the time he said he had been left "devastated" by the break up and even pulled out of a gig in Belfast at the eleventh hour because he was unfit to perform. The pair had known each other since their school days, and finally hooked up in 2013.

Liam Payne and Sophia Smith
Liam Payne and Sophia Smith split after two years of dating LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images

"We spent so much time apart while I was on tour. In order to do right by somebody, sometimes it's better not to do what your heart wants, but to do what's better for them," he said.

Payne first met Cheryl when he was a 16-year-old hopeful auditioning for the X factor. The History hit maker went public with their romance by sharing an Instagram snap of them cuddled up with the caption: "Happy".

Details of the romance emerged amid reports that the former Girls Aloud singer's estranged husband Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini was trying pulling out all the stops in a bid to win back his wife.

While speculation is rife that it is nothing more than a show romance, some One Direction fans are refusing to give their blessing either way. Payne's new 'cougar' girlfriend has been subjected to a barrage of abuse and branded a 'cradle snatcher'.