He’s not a boy-bander anymore! Liam Payne is a successful solo artist following his One Direction days.
After auditioning for U.K.’s The X Factor in 2010, the singer joined the famed boyband alongside members Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson and Zayn Malik. Following worldwide success, and four studio albums later, the group went from five to four members when Zayn left in March 2015. Later that year, 1D announced their indefinite hiatus and went on to pursue solo careers. Liam, for his part, released his debut solo single, “Strip That Down,” in May 2017.
“It was a point where every day, you didn’t know whether it was going to be the end,” the England native told The Guardian in December 2019 when reflecting on his final One Direction days. “It was so touch and go, at every single show. I was slowly losing the plot.”
Once the boys went their separate ways, Liam started to retreat into a dark place. Over the years, he’s been open about his mental health struggles after the group disbanded. While his first-ever solo single was becoming a success, Liam admitted to The Guardian that he was “struggling” with alcohol. So, he got sober.
“I kind of went off the rails a little bit and just couldn’t really figure out what was making me sad,” he explained during a GQ Magazine interview in November 2019. “I hit a peak moment where I knew the drinking was going to get me. I needed to do something about it. I spent a lot of time drinking to escape the crazy world that I had created for myself. I didn’t know what I was doing.”
Since then, Liam has released a full-length album, titled LP1, and has teamed up with various artists — including Dixie D’Amelio — for more singles. He’s also teased that more music is in the works.
“[LP1] is about my audience getting to know me,” he shared with Billboard in December 2019. “It was about finding the right records; I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so that caused a lot of delays. Also, there was one day where I wasn’t very famous, and then, there was a day where I suddenly became ultra-famous — and the transition of that is a bit of a headf–k, really.”
Aside from his music, Liam’s love life has also been shared with fans throughout his time in the spotlight. Previously, he was in high-profile romances with Maya Henry, Sophia Smith and Cheryl Cole, with whom he welcomed a son named Bear in March 2017.
Scroll through our gallery to see Liam’s total transformation over the years.
If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Youth Crisis Hotline at 1-800-448-4663.
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