Rita Ora “tried to respect” Liam Payne’s girlfriend Cheryl when she was performing her duet with him.
The Anywhere singer teamed up with the One Direction star to release For You, from the Fifty Shades Freed soundtrack, and for their promotional performance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon in February (18), they performed a saucy routine, singing with their faces close together and ending as if they were about to kiss.
The choreography was noticeably toned down for subsequent performances, including one at the Brit Awards, when Cheryl was in the audience and Liam and Rita sang to each other while stood totally apart.
Rita has now spoken about the duet, admitting to Evening Standard’s The A-List that she never meant to cause controversy with the performances, which took place while Liam and Cheryl, who have a son named Bear, were going through a rough patch, which Liam has been candid about in the press.
Saying she deliberately kept quiet during the “difficult situation”, she added, “Just imagine being the person in that situation… I obviously tried to respect Cheryl and everything that was going down at the time.
“I was very professional, as was Liam, and I completely stayed out of it. We had one goal – to promote the single, and we did just that.”
Fifty Shades Freed, in which she once again stars as Christian Grey’s sister Mia, is now available on DVD, and Rita admits that she waited a long time to become part of the movie franchise’s soundtrack.
“I’d sent the song in months in advance, and they eventually came back and said they couldn’t get it out of their heads,” she explained. “They said it was the strongest contender and I was like, ‘It’s about f**king time! I’ve only been asking you for five years!'”
Previous Fifty Shades soundtracks were recorded by Ellie Goulding and Taylor Swift together with Liam’s former bandmate Zayn Malik.