Over the weekend, it was rumoured that the Girls Aloud star had stayed overnight in the couple's former £5 million marital home in Surrey. Ashley is now said to have claimed that a reunion is a "done deal".
Cheryl and Ashley divorced last year following allegations that the Chelsea footballer had cheated on his wife. However, The Sun claims that Cheryl is now considering getting back together with her ex after admitting that she still has feelings for him.
"Ashley gave a lost and hurt woman, whom he still loves, a place to lay her head. It reminded her of a happier time," a friend told the paper. "It was masochistic of her and clever of him. He'd do anything to woo her back. Her PR team insist it is platonic but they are very worried."
It has been suggested that an "extremely vulnerable" Cheryl spent time with Ashley after being sacked from her new judging role on The X Factor USA, although reports claim that a potential reunion was brewing prior to her exit from Simon Cowell's competition.
"For months those closest to Cheryl have pleaded with her not to start seeing Ashley again. She promised them the relationship was over," a source said. "But it was a lie, she still has feelings for him. And from her point of view, he was there for her when everyone else, even Simon, seemed to turn their back.
"She was meant to be concentrating on the American X Factor. Simon warned her not to be seduced by 'Happy ever after' words from Ashley. He said the Americans would drop her like a hot brick if she allowed such a cheat back into her life. But she didn't listen."
Before flying to Los Angeles, Ashley reportedly declared his love to Cheryl in what one passenger described as a "soppy" phone call. "Whenever Ashley mentions her he gets very emotional. He describes her as his only love, his soulmate and his heartbeat," a US source said. "He's like a lovesick puppy. No matter how many slappers he sleeps with, he can't get Cheryl out of his head."
Another friend concluded that Cheryl is "considering" whether she has a future with the footballer, saying: "She knows the British public wouldn't accept a reunion. She has to decide between a career here or love abroad. He'll only be playing a few more years and suggested living abroad and starting a family. It's tearing her apart."
A spokesperson for Cheryl did not respond to the paper's claims.
> Cheryl Cole breaks silence over 'X Factor' drama