Before heading out for her New Year’s Eve plans, the singer posted a casual TikTok video dancing to Harry Styles’ “As It Was,” captioning it, “Quick boob check then we’re birthday groovin.” (Goulding’s 36th birthday was actually one day prior, on Dec. 30.)
However, a follower tried to stir up trouble in the comments section of the breezy post by writing, “can’t believe u cheated on ed with niall but slay fr.” But Goulding was having none of it, and promptly responded, “False!!!! But also slay.”
The accusation dates back nearly a decade, when the Halcyon Days singer was spotted holding hands with Sheeran in the audience of the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards just one week after a U.K. tabloid claimed she was packing on the PDA with Horan during an outing to England’s V Festival.
At the time, Goulding insisted she and Sheeran were just friends by tweeting, “I love that holding hands with my friends means we’re an item. In that case I am in many relationships. Lover not a hater. #whatthef—.” But the “Shape of You” crooner said otherwise in a radio interview one month after the VMAs. “I mean, normal people don’t hold hands if they’re just friends,” he said. “It was going on. And now it’s not.”
The fire of gossip was further stoked the next year when Sheeran released “Don’t” as the second single from his 2014 album X. On the track, he details an on-and-off relationship with a fellow singer that ends in infidelity, and another British outlet printed that the song was about Goulding. (Sheeran later told Entertainment Weekly he “never actually confirmed” who “Don’t” was written about and forced the paper to take the story down.)
In a 2015 profile for Elle UK, Goulding maintained she and Sheeran were never an item, saying, “I did go on a few dates with Niall, but I was never in a relationship with Ed. I have absolutely no idea where that came from and why it was turned into such a big thing.”
Nowadays, Sheeran is raking in millions on his global Mathematics Tour while Goulding recently took the stage at the 2022 Earthshot Prize Ceremony during Prince William and Kate Middleton’s December trip to Boston. For his part, Horan is about to take his freshman spin in the giant red chairs of The Voice when the competition series’ 23rd season premieres in March.
See Goulding’s final word on the Sheeran/Horan rumors below.