“Liam and Maya get on well — and she’s a stunning girl,” a friend said.
“They have kissed a couple of times, but he is in no rush to date again and certainly isn’t ready for a serious relationship.
“Liam is simply focusing on work at the moment, and above all else obviously his main priority is Bear.”
But the news is sure to make painful reading for Cheryl, 35.
While her young rival may not have sold millions of records, she does have millions in the bank.
Her father Thomas is a multi-millionaire Texan lawyer.
With more than 80,000 Instagram followers, and her own YouTube reality show, Maya is something of a celebrity in her own right.
For her 15th birthday she was thrown a lavish $7 million bash with 400 guests.
With rapper Pitbull and singer Nick Jonas performing, Maya wore two designer dresses for the evening and sliced into a six-tier cake.
Former US First Lady Michelle Obama’s official photographer documented the evening — which was organised by 150 planners. Cherry trees towering nine metres high and rose bushes lined the sprawling arena.
Maya’s model brother Thomas Jnr, 18, who made his catwalk debut alongside Naomi Campbell in June, is believed to have introduced his sister to Liam.
On August 2, Maya Instagrammed a photo of herself in a bikini, posing in the Bulgari’s spa pool, with the caption: “Hot summer”. It received more than 10,000 likes.
The following day Liam checked into the five-star hotel where the pair were said to have enjoyed a low-key date. Maya left the next morning, catching a flight back to Los Angeles for a photoshoot.
Liam was seen leaving the Knightsbridge hotel a few hours later. And within minutes of checking out, he had “liked” one of Thomas Jnr’s Instagram pictures.
“Liam gets on really well with Thomas and Maya, and all of their gang,” a source added.
“But he’s too savvy by now to follow Maya on social media, as he knows he will be linked to any girl he does. He enjoys hanging out with the family because they’re a great bunch and, clearly, have no interest in his money or fame.”
The duo also spent time together in Italy and France last month.
They were pictured together for the first time in years as they attended the D&G show and invite-only dinner in Lake Como.
They were seen aboard the yacht in Cannes a couple of weeks later.
Liam was pictured leaping off the top deck, while a One Direction fansite posted a video of him and Maya sitting together poolside.
The Bedroom Floor singer appears to be making the most of becoming one of pop’s most eligible bachelors. Last month he was linked to US model Cairo Dwek.
A Snapchat video emerged showing the pair dancing together in a Cannes nightclub, with onlookers claiming they were flirting heavily.
X Factor star Liam — who originally auditioned before Cheryl when he was aged 14 — announced the couple’s separation last month after just over two years together.
Liam tweeted: “Cheryl and I are sad to announce that we are going our separate ways. It’s been a tough decision for us to make.
“We still have so much love for each other as a family. Bear is our world and we ask that you respect his privacy as we navigate our way through this together.”
Cheryl issued a similar tweet.
This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission.