Zayn and Rebecca after clubbing in London!
X FACTOR runner-up REBECCA FERGUSON has spoken about her romance with ONE DIRECTION toyboy ZAYN MALIK, revealing: "HE pursued ME!"
The feisty 24-year-old mum-of-two is angry at whispers the relationship is damaging her 18-year-old boyfriend's career.
Speaking about Zayn for the first time in an exclusive interview yesterday, she told me: "We're really in love and it's hard to see how negative things have become.
"I want people to know that I'm happy, he's happy and we're in a loving, caring relationship. It's sad that people are so against it.
"I just spoke to Zayn and that's how he feels too. He's actually very mature. He's quiet and really, really nice."
My exclusive pictures show the couple together for the first time after a night out clubbing in London this week. Despite their obvious love for each other, Rebecca has been blasted as a man-eater for dating teenager Zayn.
But she responded: "I've got a career, I've got my own record deal and money, and I've got my own life. I'm not gaining anything from this. It's genuine love."
And it was Zayn who made it his mission to win her over.
Rebecca, who I revealed in March was dating Zayn, disclosed: "I'm going to be really honest... he was after me for months. I was like: 'No, you're too young.'
"But he really wooed me and it was a long, long struggle before anything happened.
"It's only been in the last couple of months that we've been together, but we've been friends for a long time. It's not like I'm some woman in the street who he doesn't know."
Then Rebecca laughed: "I mean, MADONNA does it and she gets given a round of applause. It's like: 'Go on Madge!'
"I'm nowhere near old enough to be his mother! There's only six years difference. In the big scheme of things it's not that big a deal.
"I started to panic so I looked into it. But there are so many women in situations like this and I have no idea why I'm getting the hard time.
"I think it could be because I have children. And I think it's really sexist. Because I'm a woman with children I'm not allowed to be happy? It's really random.
"I also think people have this perception of me because of the way I was portrayed on The X Factor. They think that I'm a bore who just stands there and sings."
Zayn and Rebecca!