- Liam Payne opened up about struggling with depression and addiction during his One Direction days.
- “There’s some stuff that I’ve definitely never spoken about, but it was really, really, really severe.”
- He said the band members spent most nights alone locked in a hotel room, where he turned to alcohol.
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“When we were in the band, the best way to secure us – because of how big it got – was just lock us in our rooms. And of course, what’s in the room? Mini bar,” he said. “So at a certain point, I thought, ‘Well I’m gonna have a party for one.’ And that just seemed to carry on throughout many years of my life.”
When Bartlett asked if he’d experienced “suicidal ideation,” Payne replied affirmatively.
“There’s some stuff that I’ve definitely never spoken about, but it was really, really, really severe. It was a problem,” he said. “And it was only until I saw myself after that I was like, ‘Right, I need to fix myself.'”
“It was a few pictures of me on a boat and I’m all bloated out,” he continued. “I call it ‘pills-and-booze face.’ My face was like, 10 times more than it is now. I just didn’t like myself very much, and then I made a change.”
Payne, who described himself as an addict, said he and his young bandmates weren’t given the “freedom to make choices” despite how it looked from the outside.
“It would be car, hotel room, stage, sing, locked,” he explained. “So it was like, they pulled the dust cloth off, let us out for a minute to go ‘Woo-hoo!’ And then it’s like, ‘Get back underneath here.'”
Payne first appeared on the competition show “The X Factor” when he was 14 years old. He rose to worldwide fame as a member of One Direction at 16, alongside fellow contestants Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Niall Horan, and Zayn Malik.
He told Bartlett that he didn’t realize he was “the boss” until very recently because everyone on the band’s team was so much older.
“I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. There’s no guidebook,” he said. “They don’t give you a little DVD on the way in saying, ‘Here, you’re a pop star! This is what you’ve gotta do!’ So I’m like, in the room like, ‘Are we allowed to leave?’ Eventually, that becomes an angry person. And I was. Because there were points where it was toxic and it was difficult.”
Payne clarified that he didn’t want to “whine” about fame, adding that he’s currently in therapy and happy with his life.
“Don’t get me wrong, we had the best time ever,” he said of his bandmates. “But in those shows, sometimes, they don’t give you the choice because you want the dream. But you have to realize there is a sacrifice for that.”
Payne said he began struggling with alcohol abuse again during the pandemic, but he has now been sober for one month.
When asked about a One Direction reunion, Payne said he’d “rather we talked about it sooner,” especially because he can relate to his former bandmates in a unique way.
“I enjoyed touring for what I enjoyed it for, but there’s parts of it that really, really f—ed me up,” he said. “But none of us talk about it, it’s like a taboo subject. Like, ‘Oh, we can’t get back together.’ What do you mean? Us in the same room? What the f— is that about?”
He added that he has a good relationship with nearly everyone, mentioning Styles, Tomlinson, and Horan by name.
“I had a lovely phone call from Harry the other day. He was checking in on me,” Payne said. “It’s almost like some people have got a sixth sense about when you’re going through something so they’ll check in. He’s very much like that. He’s a lovely, lovely boy. I love him to pieces.”