Cheryl Fernandez-Versini is to divorce her French husband after 18 months of marriage, it has been revealed today.
The X Factor judge has begun formal legal proceedings by filing paperwork which cites irreconcilable differences between her and partner Jean-Bernard.
We can disclose the former Girls Aloud singer secretly split with Jean-Bernard FIVE MONTHS ago.
But they are determined to remain close friends.
An insider said today: “In the end Cheryl realised she had married too soon and had been swept away by a bit of a whirlwind romance.
“Over time it became clear to each of them that they were very different people and from very different worlds.
“They are now focusing on making sure they stay friends. The divorce is amicable and they have both said they will always be there for each other.”
The pair were last seen together in public in October – hand-in-hand at the joint 40th birthday bash for I’m A Celeb hosts Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly. Fans saw it as a united front but in reality the relationship had ended two months earlier and the pair attended the party together as close friends.
Cheryl and Jean-Bernard married on the island of Mustique in July 2014.
The surprise wedding followed a courtship lasting just a few months and Cheryl has told those close to her she now realises it was too soon.
The couple have taken their time to file divorce papers because they wanted to be absolutely certain about their decision to call it a day. Cheryl is worth an estimated £20million but is understood that they have no pre-nuptial agreement.
A source confirmed that the former couple have completed legal documents to end their marriage citing “irreconcilable differences”.
The source explained: “They actually split up in August. They are still very good friends but are now getting a divorce.
“By the time of Ant and Dec’s party they were just close friends who still enjoy spending time together. They were having a great time with their friends but there was nothing intimate by that stage. In the end they found they got on well but in reality probably got married too soon.
“But JB has said he’ll always be there to support her when she needs him and he’s a very honourable guy.”
The insider said that reports of Jean-Bernard “abandoning” Cheryl to go on business trips to Miami had been completely unfair to him – insisting that the pair had stayed very friendly throughout.
The source added: “It was unfair for people to criticise him for being away on business.
“He hadn’t done anything wrong.”
Jean-Bernard has now completely moved out of the London home he shared with Cheryl and is spending most of his time in the United States. Rumours of a rocky patch in the marriage surfaced at the end of last year after JB failed to attend filming of The X Factor.
His absence meant Cheryl faced a barrage of speculation about the marriage and even cruel questions about her slimline appearance.
But the rumours subsided slightly when Jean-Bernard made a public statement of support for his wife in November – insisting he would “put my life on the line” for her.
The nightclub and restaurant entrepreneur wrote on his Instagram page: “I normally don’t read or comment. But the truth is that even when my dad died I put my life on the line for my wife.
“Yes I am working like everybody else to put food on the table but my priority is my wife as this is the last person that is family. This is just nonsense.
“What matters is family and my wife is my only one left so if she needs me I am always going to be there. My wife Cheryl is my priority, nothing else.”
That heartfelt statement came despite their decision to separate and JB remains committed to supporting Cheryl in her personal life and career.
It read: “Sending love to women out there trying to love themselves in a world that constantly tells them not to.”
The upbeat messages came following Cheryl’s admission on New Year’s Eve that she was “happy to see the back”
She wrote: “You have taught me a lot but I am happy to see the back of you! Happy New Year everyone.
“I hope this year brings you everything you wished for and is filled with happiness, love and laughter!”
Cheryl met Jean-Bernard through mutual friends in early 2014 and became close during the Cannes Film Festival where he was running his Cosy Box pop-up restaurant.
The venue is a haven for celebrities and Jean-Bernard has hosted A-listers including The Rolling Stones and mixed with stars including Ryan Gosling and Benicio del Toro.
But even Cheryl and JB’s closest friends had no idea of what was to come when the pair went abroad to marry a few months later.
The pair haven’t been spotted together for weeks but Jean-Bernard was pictured wearing his wedding ring in a photograph on Instagram yesterday.
The wedding was attended by just four guests including Cheryl’s mum Joan and her personal assistant and close friend Lily England.
Cheryl was previously married to footballer Ashley Cole. She filed for divorce in 2010 after four years of marriage after reports he’d cheated on her.
A representative for Cheryl refused to comment.