Harry Styles Once Said He Was Missing ‘Human Connection’ While He Was Part of One Direction

Harry Styles is getting a ton of attention lately thanks to his new relationship with actor Olivia Wilde, but he’s been a public figure for much longer. He initially rose to prominence as a member of One Direction, a U.K. boy band that has sold over 70 million records and embarked on four sold-out world tours.

As a member of One Direction, Styles was often subject to high levels of fan hysteria and media attention. The group’s members lived lifestyles that were far from normal for young men, frequently missing school and earning millions of dollars to perform.

Although this lifestyle might seem fun for many people, it was a challenge for Styles to maintain. Although he was doing great financially, Styles once admitted that he felt he was lacking human connection throughout the peak of his career with One Direction. 

Harry Styles said his success with One Direction came overnight

Harry Styles performs during his European tour at AccorHotels Arena
Harry Styles performs during his European tour at AccorHotels Arena | Handout/Helene Marie Pambrun via Getty Images

RELATED: What Was Harry Styles’ Job Before Making It Big in One Direction on ‘The X Factor’?

Styles talked about One Direction’s meteoric rise in a resurfaced 2019 interview with The Guardian. According to Styles, he wishes he would have kept some of the details from his personal life private. 

“The craziest part about the whole X Factor thing,” says Styles, who auditioned for the show in 2010, “is that it’s so instant. The day before, you’ve never been on telly. Then suddenly …You don’t think at the time, ‘Oh, maybe I should keep some of my personal stuff back for myself.’ Partly because, if you’re a 16-year-old who does that, you look like a jumped-up little sh*t. Can you imagine? ‘Sorry, actually, I’d rather not comment…’ You don’t know what to be protective of.”

Styles also acknowledged that the group’s success happened nearly overnight. Nobody put much thought into how fast things were happening, or what the potential effects of all of the attention could be. 

“We didn’t get to dip in a toe,” Styles says. “But, listen, I was a kid, all I knew was: I didn’t have to go to school anymore. I thought it was f*cking great. … Maybe it’s something I’ll have to deal with a bit later. When I wake up in my 40s and think: Arrrggh.”

He says he was missing human connection during his time in One Direction

Even though his work with One Direction was earning him a significant amount of money and recognition, Styles wasn’t feeling fulfilled on a personal level. Later in the interview, he admitted that he lacked genuine human connections during the group’s run. 

“We were fuelling a machine. Keeping the fire going,” Styles said. “Coming out of it, when the band stopped, I realized that the thing I’d been missing, because it was all so fast-paced, was human connection.”

Harry Styles has several strategies for maintaining his mental health

To help deal with some of the mental health challenges that arose while he was working with One Direction, Styles became a big proponent for therapy

“I go,” he said. “Not every week. But whenever I feel I need it. For a really long time, I didn’t try therapy, because I wanted to be the guy who could say, ‘I don’t need it.’ Now I realize I was only getting in my own way. It helps.”