Now uncovers the truth behind the pair's mysterious 'relationship'

There’s one question that’s been on our minds lately: is Cheryl Cole in a fully fledged relationship with Derek Hough?

They may be getting sweaty together in South Africa, but Now can finally reveal the truth, courtesy of those close to Derek.

There’s no doubt that they’re an item in the mind of Derek’s oldest friend, former world ballroom champion Corky Ballas.

‘I don’t think it’s a secret they’re dating,’ reveals Corky, 49. Maybe, but ‘dating’ in America can mean anything from casual dinners to a full-on affair.

‘They see each other but he doesn’t come out and say that she’s his woman,’ admits a cagey Corky.

‘He likes her but he doesn’t talk about her. Derek’s a quiet guy. He’s all about dancing and singing.’

Surely if you were locking lips on New Year’s Eve with one of the hottest women in the world you’d shout it from the rooftops?

But when we met up with Derek’s stepmum Debra Hough, she admitted she’s still waiting for an introduction.

She exclusively reveals to Now that the closest she’s got to Ms Cole is checking out her music on YouTube. Tut tut, Derek.

Debra, 54, who’s married to Derek’s politician dad Bruce, tells Now she’s dying to meet the Brit superstar but isn’t even sure when – or if – Cheryl’s moving to the States.

‘It hasn’t been convenient to meet her yet but I’m looking forward to it,’ says the elegant brunette. ‘I’ve listened to her music and I’m a big fan.’

So what’s going on with their ‘romance’ then? Is it genuine?

‘I decline to talk about their relationship,’ says a sheepish Debra.

‘I can’t say.’

All very Mission: Impossible…

Debra can rest assured she’s not the only family member to be frozen out by the Cheryl publicity machine.

Even Corky, who raised Derek as though he was his son for 10 years when Derek moved to London aged 12 to train with him, hasn’t met her yet.

Despite talking almost every day, Corky says Derek, 25, is remaining tight-lipped about when his surrogate dad can meet Cheryl, 27.

‘I haven’t met her yet. I’m sure I will eventually. She’s in England a lot and the couple of times she’s been in LA it’s been a very quick trip.

She seems a lovely lady. I’ve watched her videos on YouTube and I think she’s terrific.’

Er, yeah, but you still haven’t met her, Corky!

Although mum’s the word on when Cheryl’s moving to the US, Corky does reveal that he’s been advising Derek on his blossoming relationship with the Girls Aloud singer.

‘My advice to Derek is just relax, take it one day at a time. I guess they’re testing the waters.

If I was in his shoes I wouldn’t say anything until they know it’s going to work. I wouldn’t announce anything. You know how people like to gossip.’

We do indeed Corky, we do indeed!

Read all the latest about Cheryl Cole and Derek Hough in Now magazine – out every Tuesday.

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