Barely a week goes by when Cheryl is out of the press. Sometimes it's speculation over a potential return to The X Factor as a judge, other times it's tidbits of information about her lifestyle gathered from interviews with her boyfriend Liam Payne. Most recently though, it's been about her forthcoming album. Which is great, or so you'd think. Except much like everything Cheryl does, it's being talked about in connection with her relationships. So when is Cheryl's new album out and why is it attracting a load of sexist nonsense?
Fans have had a long wait for new music from the star. It's been four years since her last album so understandably people are pretty excited. While the release date is yet to be announced, producer Naughty Boy teased some details about the upcoming tracks, he told The Sun: “Cheryl has got back in the studio just after having a baby and it’s still very personal, but she is a real artist and a perfectionist. She does up to 12 hours a day and I just feel that shows how ready she is.”
Ok, so Cheryl's hardworking and a perfectionist. I salute her. Except that article everyone seems to be far more interested in her personal life than her professionalism. Singer songwriter Raye, who has been working on new material with Cheryl told the Mirror: "We've gone proper personal and opened up some layers. She was really open and I think she's got her head on straight. She wanted a young up-and-coming writer to help her put her perspective out there and into a song. The music is really good. I think she's got something really exciting coming up."
So far, so straightforward, you'd think. It's hardly unusual for artists to look to their personal lives for inspiration, and Raye hasn't given away any juicy info about just exactly what side of Cheryl's "personal" life the album is going to tap into. It could be her son Bear, as Naughty Boy previously hinted, it could be her close relationship with her mum, who reportedly helps out with childcare, it could be her personal views on Love Island, or her favourite type of biscuit (I reckon she's a digestives fan myself), but that hasn't stopped people reaching the conclusion that it's about her boyfriend Liam Payne. And specifically about their "rocky relationship".
Why does the media struggle to discuss Cheryl without making reference to her relationship to Payne or her status as a mother? You could argue that the fact she's no longer an X Factor regular and combined with her break from music, make it difficult to talk about her work. So a press in need of stories latches on to the smallest sign of upset in her personal life. Except it's now common knowledge that Cheryl is releasing new music soon, which should make it much easier to talk about her work. Except as I mentioned, people are still finding a way to make her work, which is, in case anyone was confused, about her, all about somebody else.
But the media has been playing this game with Cheryl for a long time. As a woman who has been through several break ups in the public eye, it loves nothing more than to fixate on her so-called "failed" relationships and scrutinise her every move for any hint of unhappiness.
To me it's all proof of something all women know to be true — in some people's eyes, you just can't win. Take a break from music and people will say your career is over. Dare to want to keep your relationship out of the spotlight, and people will claim it's on the rocks, return to work and people will still somehow manage to make it all about your boyfriend. Sigh.
Are you tired yet? I know I am. And I'm sure Cheryl is too. Maybe everyone should agree to wait until her new music actually comes out before making any judgements? It can't be long now, surely!