Until Liam Payne came along, Cheryl Cole wasn’t all that lucky in love.

The twice-married pop star is currently expecting a baby with the One Direction singer, whom she met when she was a judge and he was a teenage contestant on The X Factor alongside Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Louis Tomlinson and Harry Styles.

With her first child on the way, interest in her relationship with Payne has reached an all-time high. Given that Cole has been so private about her pregnancy, her friend will.i.am admitted Monday on Loose Women, “I don’t know if she has had the baby. She has been keeping it private; there are no details.”

Regarding her romance with Payne, will.i.am said, “I’ve known her for a long time and she’s been in and out of bad relationships. This one seems nurturing and growing fruit—excuse the pun. So, she wants to protect the fruit by being private and intimate with her significant other.”

“Her mom is amazing as well,” the Voice U.K. mentor added. “She is a very cuddly mom.” The Black Eyed Peas singer also spoke to the co-hosts about his own mother, Debra Adams, and the influence she’s had on his life. “Growing up, we were on welfare. I remember the day my mom said, ‘Hey, Willie! Guess what? I’m gonna get a job,'” said will.i.am, who is one of eight children (five of whom were adopted). “That puzzled me, because my whole life, my mom didn’t have a job, right? I was like, ‘Why?’ She was like, ‘I’m just tired now. You guys are older. I don’t have to be a full-time mom now. I’m going to get a full-time job…I’m going to work at the park with the kids to get them off the streets.’ She did the after-school program with the kids.”

“When the Black Eyed Peas first started taking off, I told her I was going to move her out of the ghetto. I was like, ‘Mom, I’m gonna buy you a house one day. You’ll see!’ She said, ‘Willie, don’t you make promises that you can’t keep, especially promises you can’t keep.’ I was like, ‘No, mommy. You’ll see. How much is rent?’ She said, ‘Well, Willie, we paid $100 a month,'” the 41-year-old hip-hop artist recalled. “When you’re on government assistance, that’s what you get.”

Within five years, will.i.am moved his mother “from the drive-bys to the rabbis,” he joked. She continued to work in the after-school program for another 15 years. No matter how successful he became, will.ia.m never forgot his roots. “Six years ago, I started a school in the ghetto that I’m from. I started with 12-year-olds. It was 65 [students] at the time. Now that number has grown to 420 kids,” will.i.am said. The school’s curriculum is focused on computer science and robotics, rather than music, because “the world is moving at such a rapid pace technologically.”