Why Liam Payne Says He Needed to Leave One Direction: ‘It Would Have Killed Me’

In 2010, One Direction took the globe by storm as one of the biggest boy bands of their generation. The five members — Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, and Louis Tomlinson — became worldwide sensations in what felt like a matter of minutes. But, in 2016, the group went on an indefinite hiatus, with each member tackling their own solo projects. And while many fans are still curious about a potential comeback, Payne recently opened up about his time in One Direction. However, it might not have been as glorious as it seemed, as the “Strip That Down” singer admitted he needed to leave the band — or it “would have killed” him in the end.

Liam Payne says staying in One Direction ‘would have killed’ him

Liam Payne Performs At The Launch Of The HMV Vault
Liam Payne | Katja Ogrin/Getty Images

On Oct. 15, Payne went on the Table Manners with Jessie Ware podcast and discussed the unhealthy nature of his sudden stardom, which caused him to become reclusive.

“I learned to be a recluse a long time ago. And that was life,” Payne shared. “Once you’re in that pattern, it just gets dangerous because you just get stuck in it.”

Payne also shared his thoughts on being in One Direction at the time, especially since he never expected the level of fame the group received. “I was going through this really crazy circumstance that we just completely lost control of,” Payne said. “We were definitely overworked. I had no personal life, I learned nothing about myself.”

The 26-year-old recalled a pivotal moment with his therapist. “I remember getting to therapy one time and the guy was like, ‘What do you like to do?'” Payne said, noting he was uncertain of his answer. “So I just sat in the chair going, ‘What do I actually like?’ When you get to that place, it’s like, ‘I really need to figure some sh*t out about myself.'”

Payne was then asked if he felt relief when One Direction broke up. And it seems the group’s disbandment is more complicated than we know.

“It really scary at first,” Payne said of the hiatus. “But I needed to stop, definitely. It would have killed me. One hundred percent.”

How is Liam Payne doing now?

Although Payne has a complicated past with his career and fame, it seems the singer is in a much better place now.

“Honestly, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been,” he revealed during the podcast. “It’s taken a long time to get to this place. And I’m glad that I’m in this stage of my life now. I don’t know why, but 26 always felt like a really crucial age. Like the coming-of-age in my head, almost. I had my 26th birthday recently and everything’s been sort of working out nicely now. It’s good.”

That said, Payne believes his past struggles brought him to where he is now.

“I’m really happy where I’m at right now,” Payne explained. “If I didn’t do it then I wouldn’t have even gotten to this stage of my life. I think a lot of people go on being really sad and low forever, never finding out the thing because there’s no extreme point where you have to make a turn or else you might die.”

He continued: “For me, that was my doorway where I was like, ‘Right, there’s a f*cking real strong choice there, mate. You’re either going to end up on that side or you can go forward. So, up to you.'”

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Fans might be disheartened to hear about Payne’s experiences while being in One Direction. However, the music artist appears to be moving forward in a positive way. And now, Payne has officially announced his first full-length solo album, titled “LP1,” coming on Dec. 6 of this year.

“I’ve had so many amazing experiences over the last few years that I’ve used as inspiration for this record,” wrote Payne in a statement, according to Rolling Stone. “It’s been a real labor of love. I’ve worked with some incredibly talented people in the studio to produce an album that truly represents me which I’m very proud of. Your support means the world to me and I can’t wait for you all to hear it.”

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