Olly Murs now counts himself as a friend of Cheryl, having known the singer for nine years after he found fame on The X Factor.
However, the Essex singer admits it took him "years" to form a friendship with the Geordie star because of her "hard exterior".
The 34-year-old was working in a call centre and a wannabe singer when he first met Cheryl – who was then at the peak of her fame with topping the charts and her judging role on The X Factor in 2009.
Despite ending up the runner-up, Olly has gone on to have a successful pop career and has now sold more albums than Cheryl.
Having become acquainted with Cheryl as a reality show contestant, Olly admits it took him a long time to cross the line into genuine friendship with the Girls Aloud star.
Like many celebrities, Cheryl is understandably guarded about who she lets into her life so it took some time for her to trust Olly.
He told The Sun: "It was quite a hard exterior to break down to get to know Cheryl.
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"She’s been in the industry such a long time and she’s very thick skinned. It took her years to see I’m a genuine person."
Olly bonded with Cheryl when he hosted the X Factor in 2015 and spent more time with the singer during her relationship with his close pal Liam Payne.
Admitting he can now count the Geordie as a friend: "When I worked on X Factor I actually got to know her really, really well. She’s a lovely person."
Before becoming friends with Cheryl, Olly openly admitted to having a crush on the singer and even jokingly asked for a date over Twitter back in 2012.
He tweeted at the time: "Haha sod it @cherylCole I’ll ask for your number then #cantblameaguyfortrying #worthashot lol haha x."
In 2010, he gushed over the singer, saying: "I’m not going to lie, she’s unbelievable. She smells good, she looks good. If I go back on The X Factor this year, I’m going to go straight to her dressing room."
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