There’s nothing juicier that people love to obsess over than the love lives of celebrities.
From whether a marriage is on the rocks to rumoured hook-ups, we can’t get enough of speculation over the romances of the rich and famous.
But it’s split rumours that land celebs on front pages the most.
Over the past few months, we’ve had two high profile couples – Cheryl and Liam Payne, and Kevin and Karen Clifton – plagued by split speculation, with their relationships coming under the microscope.
In Karen and Kevin’s case, the pair kept quiet on rumours that their marriage was ending – even as Karen was spotted leaving her home with accountant Stuart Wood, and Kevin was pictured without his wedding ring.
And in the case of Cheryl and Liam, the couple stayed silent on reports that they were heading for a break-up in the run up to the opening of Cheryl’s Trust in Newcastle.
As of this week, both couples have finally put an end to the rumours. Cheryl and Liam put on a PDA display at the Brit Awards, with Cheryl lashing out at claims the appearance was a stunt, tweeting: ‘No one cares who’s been speculatively arguing or not in their relationships use your platform to put something productive in your columns I opened a centre this week that could help thousands of youth!!! ..Oh and your “stunt” theories are just ludicrous and a bit weird.’
And Karen and Kevin posed together with the arms around each other at The Bruce Forsyth Celebration at the London Palladium.
But if all is well at home, why do couples not speak out the moment a newspaper claims they’re heading for splitsville?
For some celeb couples – particularly reality TV pairings that need press coverage to survive – allowing the speculation to continue is a career move.
Hayley Smith of Boxed Out PR told us: ‘When it comes to celebrities, everything is managed, and calculated. They are surrounded by lawyers, and managers telling them what to say, when to say or what not to say. Also, in some cases, those closest to them will be asked to sign an NDA [non disclosure agreement].
Oh stop no one cares who’s been speculatively arguing or not in their relationships use your platform to put something productive in your columns I opened a centre this week that could help thousands of youth!!!! ….
— Cheryl (@CherylOfficial) February 22, 2018
..Oh and your “stunt” theories are just ludicrous and a bit weird
— Cheryl (@CherylOfficial) February 22, 2018
‘They will also have a solid plan in place that will help them maximise their PR and negotiate the best opportunities. Most of the time, it will be one major outlet that breaks a news story first. This “breaking news” story would have been a while in the works, with information fed to the reporter, a carefully placed quote or interview and photos. Planning is everything in the celebrity world.’
She continued: ‘Many celebrity couples who are media darlings will plan more than most. Couples like Cheryl and Liam, though they may want privacy, especially as there is a child involved, would have been carefully briefed and media trained to deal with these situations.
‘There is no coincidence that after every break up rumour, the couple in question will put on a united front at a national event to try and steer the press away. And they will play cat and mouse with the press until it’s the right moment before announcing or releasing a statement. Then the cycle starts again.
‘Every couple is different and some genuinely want their privacy, but they are all part of the fame game, and it’s stories like this that get people talking, and gets them front page news.’
However, some couples may genuinely not want to draw attention to the stories – even if they’re on the national front pages.
Helen O’Brien from Impressive PR said: ‘Not speaking out can lead to on going stories speculating, there are column inches to be had from “still wearing wedding ring”.
‘I think high profile celebs like Cheryl and Liam are keeping a dignified silence on it. Fanning the flames is more of a reality TV strategy to keep them in the press for as long as possible.’
Whether trying to maintain a dignified silence or angling for publicity, the stories definitely draw attention. At the Brit Awards on Wednesday night, Dua Lipa was the first solo female to ever garner five nominations and Stormzy made history with his British Album win. But it was Cheryl and Liam’s public appearance – and their oversharing about their sex life – that made the most headlines.
Even bad publicity can be good publicity for people who depend on press attention to keep their careers going – so split speculation will continue to thrive as long as the concept of celebrity exists.
Metro.co.uk has contacted Cheryl, Liam, Kevin and Karen’s reps for comment.
Got a story?
If you've got a story, video or pictures get in touch with the Metro.co.uk Entertainment team by emailing us email@example.com, calling 020 3615 2145 or by visiting our Submit Stuff page – we'd love to hear from you.