Kimberley Walsh has claimed that music industry pressures contributed to Cheryl's split from Liam Payne.

Kimberley Walsh, Nicola Roberts and Cheryl

Kimberley Walsh, Nicola Roberts and Cheryl

Kimberley, 36, has been supporting her friend Cheryl, 35, as she tries to get over her separation from Liam, 24, after two years together and she has suggested that the former One Direction member's touring schedule for his solo career was tough on the 'Parachute' hitmaker.

Despite the separation, Kimberley is adamant that Cheryl - who has 16-month-old son Bear with the pop hunk - is "doing great".

In an interview with the new issue of OK! magazine, she said: "She's doing great but I guess it's just hard, isn't it? When you have a baby your whole being and your whole world changes. And for her having a relationship in the public eye just makes it even harder, and his (Liam's) career obviously takes him out of the country for long periods, so it's hard. But she's doing great."

Kimberley has two sons, Bobby, three, and 19-month-old Cole, with her husband Justin Scott, and she admits that she and Cheryl both having children of a similar age has strengthened their friendship.

Revealing that Cole and Bear are becoming pals, the 'Ackley Bridge' actress said: "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. Cheryl and I do try and get the kids together. I wish we could do it more but it's hard with both our schedules. But we do make the effort so that they have a strong connection, because when you're friends you want your kids to be friends!"

And Kimberley admits it's amazing to think about how many experiences she and Cheryl have shared since being put with Sarah Harding, Nadine Coyle and Nicola Roberts to form Girls Aloud on British talent show 'Popstars: The Rivals' back in 2002.

She said: "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. It's really nice we're going through the same stage."