Liam Payne has said he was “p**sed quite a lot of the time” while touring with One Direction because he found the band’s level of popularity difficult to deal with.
In an interview with Men’s Health Australia, the boyband singer admitted he found the atmosphere of fame “a little bit toxic” and advocated better mental healthcare for young people in the public eye.
The 25-year-old from Wolverhampton was just 17 when One Direction came in third place on The X Factor and subsequently shot to global fame.
The group were soon huge all over the world, becoming the only band in history to see their first four albums each top the Billboard 200 chart.
Payne now admits, however, that being caught up in the “perfect storm” of One Direction’s success was not plain sailing.
He said: “When you’re doing hundreds and hundreds of [concerts] and it’s the same 22 songs at the same time every single day, even if you’re not happy, you’ve got to go out there.
“It’s almost like putting the Disney costume on before you step up on stage and underneath the Disney costume I was p**sed quite a lot of the time because there was no other way to get your head around what was going on.
“I mean it was fun. We had an absolute blast, but there were certain parts of it where it just got a little bit toxic.”
Payne confessed that he never felt in control during the height of the band’s fame, when they toured to sold out crowds all over the world.
He said: “There have been a lot of people in trouble with mental health that aren’t really getting the help that they need and I think that’s a bit of a problem in our industry.
“It’s the same s**t that happens to everyone, that’s been happening since the 70s.”
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One Direction announced a hiatus in 2016, allowing the band members to pursue solo projects.
Since the band’s split, Payne has released a number of solo singles and had a son, Bear, with his then-girlfriend Cheryl Tweedy in March 2017.
The couple separated in July 2018.