Kimberley Walsh is adamant pressures from the music industry are to blame for the breakdown of Cheryl and Liam Payne's relationship.

Cheryl and the former One Direction star, who are parents to 15-month-old son Bear, announced they were going their separate ways earlier this month (Jul18) after nearly two years of dating.

The pair is yet to comment on the reasons behind their split, but Cheryl's close friend and former Girls Aloud bandmate believes the relationship suffered as a result of Liam's burgeoning solo career, which regularly took him out of the country.

"I guess it's just hard, isn't it? When you have a baby, your whole being and whole life changes," the Love Machine hitmaker shared in an interview with OK! magazine. "For her (Cheryl), obviously having a relationship in the public eye just makes it even harder. His career obviously takes him out of the country for long periods so it's hard."

Kimberley, who shares sons Bobby, three, and 19-month-old Cole with her husband Justin Scott, also spoke about how having young children of a similar age had strengthened her friendship with Cheryl.

In fact, the 36-year-old revealed that toddlers Cole and Bear are now good friends due to their mothers' bond.

"They're both walking and saying odd words. They're very similar. They've just started to have a real interest in each other," the star smiled. "They pass each other bits of food and go to hug each other if one of them is upset."

During the interview, the mum-of-two also reflected on how far the friends have come since the formation of their band, which was created through British talent show Popstars: The Rivals in 2002.

"It's crazy to think that 16 years ago we started in a band together and now we're going through a whole other chapter of our lives together," she gushed. "It's really nice we're going through the same stage."