Liam Payne and Sophia Smith 'split after two years'

They seemed like one of the stronger One Direction couples but according to new reports, Liam Payne and his long-term girlfriend Sophia Smith have split. The Kiss You singer, who dated Sophia for over two years, is said to be "incredibly sad" about the break-up.

"Liam and Sophia have split up," a source confirmed to The Mirror. "Liam is incredibly sad, but is going to keep busy. He really hopes that everybody will respect both his and Sophia's privacy and stop speculating."

Liam, 22, and fashion business student Sophia went to school together in Wolverhampton, but didn't start dating until 2013.

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Liam Payne and Sophia Smith went to school together in Wolverhampton

Earlier this week fans of the boy band – who have dubbed themselves One Directioners – began to speculate about Liam and Sophia's relationship status.

The singer posted a melancholic tweet in the early hours of Saturday morning, writing: "I love how music is always there for you when you need it most x."

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"Liam is incredibly sad, but is going to keep busy," a source said

Liam was also forced to pull out of a Belfast concert half an hour before he was scheduled to appear on stage, with a statement revealing at the time that he was "too sick" to perform.

The heart-throb updated fans on Twitter, writing: "I'm so sorry to everybody I disappointed last night. I'm feeling better now. I really hope everyone can make the rescheduled date on Friday.

"Thank you so much for all the trends and lovely messages you guys did for me it really shows how amazing u guys actually are. As I said I'm feeling much better now and I really can't wait to perform and make it up to everyone later."

The singer was "too sick" to perform at a Belfast gig last week

Liam is not the only band member who has gone through a break-up this year.

Fellow bandmate Zayn Malik called off his engagement to Little Mix's Perrie Edwards in August after three years together.

In March, Louis Tomlinson and Eleanor Calder called it a day after nearly four years. A few months later it was announced that Louis is expecting a baby with Los Angeles-based stylist Briana Jungwirth.