Leona Lewis thinks Liam Payne is a ''lovely guy''.

The 'Trouble' singer has been linked to the One Direction heartthrob - who like her found fame on 'The X Factor' - after enjoying a series of dates together, but she insists they are just friends and she remained coy when quizzed about their romance.

Leona told the Daily Mirror newspaper: ''He is a really sweet, lovely guy. I'm a fan of One Direction. We have been friends for a year and a half.

''I know you have to ask. I've learnt from having relationships before that have been speculated about, it's best not to talk about it.''

Leona's seven-year romance with her long-term boyfriend, A&R man Lou Al-Chamaa, ended in June 2010 and she recently split from German dancer Dennis Jauch, but the pop star hasn't given up on finding love again and says she feels lonely without someone to come home to.

Leona, 27, confessed: ''I've had my heart broken so many times. It's so awful. You need your friends, ice-cream and good movies.

''I love being in love. You have someone to come home to. You don't feel lonely because someone's always there.

''I like to be wooed. I'm a good girlfriend, not high maintenance but I like to be treated well. I think every girl does. I like romance.''

The 'Bleeding Love' hitmaker revealed that she valued loyalty above all else in a potential partner, and admitted looks aren't important to her.

She said: ''Someone who can look after me and who is honest and faithful. I don't really care about looks. It's all about personality and intelligence.''