Cheryl and Derek: an affair created for photographers
Boxer friend Amir Khan tells magazine it’s all a cover-up but then retracts his story
It had been generally assumed by those who read the London tabloids that Cheryl Cole, 'the nation's sweetheart', had now moved on to become the sweetheart of a dancer called Derek Hough. He was supposed to be the man who brought a little love back into her life after she decided to divorce her errant husband, footballer Ashley Cole.
Now, it seems, Derek is a 'fake' or a 'cover-up', take your pick.
The boxer Amir Khan, who professes to be a friend of Cheryl, has supposedly told Grazia magazine that the relationship between the pop star and the dancer is all a ruse to fool the paparazzi.
"I had dinner with Cheryl and Derek in LA last week," the 23-year-old light-welterweight was quoted as saying. "He's not her boyfriend. They're not going out. It's all just a cover-up to keep photographers at bay."
This, say the tabloids, explains why Derek and Cheryl, who have been photographed together in London, Los Angeles and Tanzania - where Cheryl contracted life-threatening malaria earlier this summer - are never seen kissing or holding hands in public.
Another unnamed 'source' confirmed to Grazia that the pair are only friends and that Derek is "more like one of her girlfriends".
This has raised the question - not for the first time - as to whether Derek, as well as being a friend of Cheryl, might be a friend of Dorothy - i.e. gay. Derek denies this.
Amir Khan has now denied ever telling Grazia that the relationship was a sham. He has written on Twitter: "Good luck to Cheryl Cole and Derek if they are together, just want to make it clear that I DID NOT say they are just friends and its a cover up relationship".
However, another report, from the 'Goss' column of the Daily Star, says Khan was spot on and that Cheryl's fake affair with Derek Hough helps shield her real boyfriend from the photographers - a backing dancer with the Black Eyed Peas whom Cheryl met when she toured with the band in Europe earlier this year.
He doesn't have a name yet - but doubtless he soon will. ·