“The X Factor” UK Series 7 winner Matt Cardle confided to sources that Meghan Markle “slid into his DMs” after she followed him back on Instagram back in 2015 — just a few months before Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, and Prince Harry had met.

In an interview in 2013, Markle disclosed to Katie Hind, a journalist for Daily Mail, that she was ready to mingle and date after her separation with ex-husband Trevor Engelson in 2010. The 37-year-old actress expressed a desire to see new people, showing a clear interest in British men.

She also shared with Hind that Chelsea football star Ashley Cole had been eyeing a date with her, adding that Cole had been doggedly messaging her on Twitter. The “Suits” star was considering seeing him while she was in London, but Hind gave a definite thumbs-down on the match, wanting the Rachel Zane actress to avoid a possible heartbreak after reports of infidelity by the football star had arisen.

In 2015, it was reported that Cardle built an online friendship with Markle after following her on Instagram. To his astonishment, Markle immediately followed back and even started messaging him. The report also said that she expressed herself as a “big fan of his work” and even mentioned an interest in possibly meeting up with “The X-Factor” star.

The source claimed that Cardle felt a strong attraction between them, but things weren't meant to be. And around the same time, he met his current girlfriend, Amber Hernaman. Realizing his feelings for Hernaman, he decided that maintaining his relationship with Markle would not be appropriate, concluding that it was time to put an end to it.

The insider added that the 36-year-old singer and songwriter found a connection with Markle. However, the “timing was wrong.” He no longer replied to her last message and ended up “ghosting” her, as claimed by the source. Cardle and Markle were reportedly still exchanging messages after he met Hernaman, but they were not yet serious at the time.

Currently, the “When We Collide” artist is still happily in a relationship with Hernaman. Amid 2018 reports of his drug and alcohol addiction, he shared that he has found inspiration and strength in his girlfriend, attributing his success in battling his addiction to her.

Meghan Markle
Meghan Markle during an official photocall to announce the engagement of Prince Harry and actress Meghan Markle at the Sunken Gardens at Kensington Palace on November 27, 2017, in London, England. Chris Jackson/Getty Images

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