Cheryl Cole’s new boyfriend Derek Hough is “head over heels in love” with the X Factor star, his stepdad has revealed.
Proud Aaron Nelson exclusively told the Sunday Mirror how the American dancer is completely smitten with the Geordie singer – and is planning on whisking her away on a romantic holiday later this month.
Confirming the widely-rumoured romance for the first time, Aaron says Derek wants to settle down with Cheryl and mend her heart after her break-up with her cheating husband, Chelsea ace Ashley Cole.
He says: “For Derek, this is true love. There is no doubt about it. He is totally in love with her. And it’s easy to see why. She is one hell of a girl. Very talented and incredibly beautiful. I know Derek is in love with her because he has told me he is in love with her and I think she feels the same way about him. She is the girl of his dreams and he is desperate to be with her. He would follow her to the ends of the Earth.”
Speaking from the Las Vegas home he shares with Derek’s mum Marriann, 53, Aaron adds: “Derek is in London at the start of a five-week break. But he won’t be spending all his time there. He and his new lady are going off on a romantic holiday. I can’t say where as he’d kill me.
“He does not want the paparazzi following him there. But it’s somewhere very nice. After that, who knows what is going to happen? But this girl is very special to Derek and he is at a point in his life where he is ready to settle down. He is ready to be in love and make that commitment.
“Derek is looking for a new home in Los Angeles, so he can have his own space – and we will just have to wait and see what the future holds.”
Rumours about Derek, 25 and Cheryl, 26, have been circulating for months, and they hotted up after the couple’s steamy stage routines. The London show, on the last night of Cheryl’s tour with the Black Eyed Peas left the audience gasping at their raunchy moves.
As she sang her hit single Parachute, Derek made an unexpected entrance dressed in a tight tuxedo. And from that moment, the stage began to smoulder.
Cheryl writhed with her back against Derek, then she wrapped her legs around him while they gazed into each other’s eyes. The passion stopped short of an embrace – but Cheryl blew Derek a kiss as he left the stage. (lol. wtf. is this a fanfic? )
On several nights before the show, he had stayed at her £6million Surrey mansion – her former marital home. But according to Aaron, Derek is well used to the company of beautiful women.
“It’s amazing the women he has been around,” he says. “People think he is gay because he is a dancer, but that boy is about as far from being gay as you can get. He is a stud.”
Financial consultant Aaron, 54, says his family has been disgusted by the way Cheryl has been treated by her estranged husband. He says: “What he did to her was terrible. I can only imagine what she has been through. These sports players make a load of money, become famous and suddenly they have all these girls throwing themselves at them.
“It must be difficult for them to resist, but that is no excuse. Derek has been through that stage of partying and going crazy, hooking up with loads of different girls. There was a time when he first got to Hollywood when he was going to all these parties and his head got turned a bit. People were giving him all these free drinks and if someone hands you 10 free drinks, what is going to happen? You get drunk.
“Derek has been through that wild phase – but he pulled through it and came out OK.
“It’s not the life he wants for himself. He wants to be in a stable relationship. And I think he might have finally found the right girl.
“Derek is a good kid with good morals and he is a real catch for any woman. He would never cheat around like some other guys would.” He adds: “But we hope to meet her real soon. Derek’s mom is very happy he has found someone so special.”
During our interview mum Marriann was away in Nashville visiting Derek’s four sisters, Sharee, 32, Marabeth, 30, Katherine, 27, Julianne, 21, and her new grandchildren.
The Sunday Mirror was the first to reveal how Derek and Cheryl, who met when he choreographed one of her videos, enjoyed a string of romantic dates together in Los Angeles after she finally split from Ashley.
Our reporter witnessed first-hand the chemistry between the pair as they nuzzled at a private table at the exclusive Katsuya restaurant in Hollywood back in February. Derek was said to be sneaking in and out of Cheryl’s West Hollywood hotel on her second trip to LA. In recent weeks she has been spotted flirting with musician Will.I.Am as she toured Europe with his band the Black Eyed Peas which was said to make Derek mad with jealousy.
But sources close to the couple say Cheryl never considered turning her back on Utah-born hunk Derek, who she has described as her “rock” – the man who helped support her through the trauma of her split with Ashley.
Two weeks ago, he won the US version of Strictly Come Dancing – Dancing With Stars – after wowing the judges with his performances alongside Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger, girlfriend of racing driver Lewis Hamilton.
As soon as his media obligations with the show were fulfilled, he raced to London to be with Cheryl. He was spotted sitting in the back of a limo alongside her as they sneaked into her Surrey mansion.
And on Thursday night Derek was at Cheryl’s side at a music party at the VIP Room club in Paris. Now sources close to the couple say they are considering going public with their relationship, possibly once Ashley has finished competing in the World Cup.
Derek, whose dad Bruce Hough divorced his mum when he was just 12, has until recently been living with his childhood friend and fellow Dancing With Stars competitor Mark Ballas in Los Angeles. But he is now looking to buy his own home as Cheryl gets ready to move to America.
One pal says: “It’s getting increasingly difficult for Cheryl and Derek to disguise the feelings they have for each other and they are growing tired of sneaking around.
“If they are photographed on holiday together it will be very tough to deny they are an item. Cheryl is making another trip to Los Angeles soon and she has even talked about getting a place with Derek.
“Derek is actively house hunting and while he is considering buying a place with his sister Julianne, he has not ruled outthepossibility of moving in with Cheryl instead.”
Derek has dated a string of beautiful women over the years, according to his stepfather. Showing off pictures of him kissing exgirlfriend Shannon Elizabeth, famed for her sexy role in the American Pie movie, Aaron says: “Derek knew what he was doing when he got into a career in dancing. All his life he has got to dance with these incredible, hot women.
“Women go crazy for him. But at the same time he is a gentleman and has impeccable manners. He is a good man – he is kind and considerate, very intelligent and philosophical. He’s a caring, sensitive guy with a very bright future ahead of him.
“I’m sure whatever he puts his mind to he will be brilliant at it.
“And with the right woman at his side, anything is possible… ”