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A Glimpse into the Lives of Former One Direction Members: Then and Now

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The boy band, One Direction, graced the world with some of the best, award-winning song performances of the early ‘10s. Years after the former teen throbs went solo; their lives have taken new turns.

It’s been a decade since the world welcomed one of the most iconic music bands of all time, made up of five teen idols. The pop group, One Direction came into existence in 2010, during an episode of the singing competition show, “The X Factor.”

Music mogul Simon Cowell formed the band, recruiting the show competitors Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, Harry Styles, and Niall Horan. The pop boy band emerged third place at the end of the 2010 season of the British show, “The X Factor.”

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Following their stint on the British competition series, the teen idols retained their band name and kept the group intact. Cowell went on to sign them into Syco Records, with a contract worth 2million euros. 

As a band, they built a successful music empire, dropped several notable tracks and albums, snagged several awards, and became global music sensations.

The music group took a temporary break in 2016 after winning hearts for six years. Since then, all five former teen throbs have pursued solo careers, attaining music success in their own rights.

Yearning for a glimpse into their individual journeys so far? Here’s a preview.


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Former One Direction Bandmate Zayn Malik was the first to take a hiatus from the group. The icon was seventeen when he first auditioned for the seventh season of “The X Factor” competition show and got into the next round.

The 27-year-old’s time on the show almost ended following his elimination weeks to the finals. However, Simon Cowell, reluctant to let him off, grouped him with Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, and Niall Horan, who were also competitors. The group formed a new act and continued into the finals, emerging third place.

After attaining stardom for five years as a member of One Direction, he quit the band in 2015 to pursue a solo career.

As a solo artist, he released his first album, “Mind Of Mine,” in 2016, barely a year after leaving his former band. He also released a memoir titled “Zayn: The Official Autobiography” that same year. The pop singer has since released trailblazing singles like “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever,” as well as the 2018 hit album, “Icarus Falls.”

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Additionally, Zayn Malik has sustained an on-and-off relationship with his partner, Gigi Hadid. The pair are expecting their first child together.


Liam Payne was barely sixteen when he auditioned for the seventh season of “The X Factor,” and ultimately became a member of the band.

His audition in 2010 marked the singer’s second time on the competition show, having auditioned in 2008. His rendition of “Cry Me A River” earned him a unanimous yes from the judges, making him a competitor in the seventh season.

Payne made his debut with the boyband while on the show, and he rose to fame as one of the bandmates following their time on the show.

After the group broke off in 2016, Liam Payne pursued other projects and established his music career as a solo artist. He has since released hit singles like “Strip That Down,” “Polaroid,” and the “Fifty Shades Freed” duet with Rita Ora, “Familiar,” among others. He also has an album titled “LP1” dropped in 2019.

His romantic life has also been as adventurous. He dated former “X Factor” judge, Cheryl Cole, for years, and the duo welcomed a child in March 2017. They split barely a year later, with the singer releasing his first EP, “First Time,” a month after their break up.

In 2019, Payne landed a fashion partnership with the HUGO brand.


Tomlinson, the oldest member of One Direction, entered the competition show at eighteen, with his rendition of “Hey There Delilah.”

After Cowell paired him with the other members of the boy band, he embraced the other teammates and continued their joint endeavors for six years. However, even before the group broke off, Tomlinson started his record label in April 2015.

As a solo artist, he has released the tracks, “Just Hold On,” “Miss You,” “Back To You,” and “The Two Of Us.” His record label has signed several artists over the years, including former “The X Factor” contestant, Jack Walton.

Tomlinson became a judge and mentor on the U.S version of “The X Factor” in 2018. The icon dropped his first album in January 2020, and six months later, went public with his decision to leave Syco Records for good.

Louis Tomlinson is a father-of-one, welcoming his son Freddie in 2016 from his relationship with hairstylist Briana Jungwirth.


A former lead singer of the England local band, “White Eskimo,” Harry Styles’ life took a new turn when he auditioned for the seventh season of “The X factor.”

The then-sixteen-year-old auditioned with “Isn’t She Lovely,” by Stevie Wonder, and earned a slot as a contestant on the show. Styles takes the credits for coming up with the band name, One Direction, shortly after they began their music pursuit.

Since his hiatus from the band, Styles’ career in showbiz has progressed remarkably. He has released two albums, “Harry Styles,” and Fine Line.”

In addition, the former teen idol has landed starring roles in movies like the war drama, “Dunkirk.”


Horan was sixteen when he made his singing debut, performing Ne-Yo’s “So Sick” for his audition on “The X factor.” He met other bandmates while on the show and later became one of the original members of One Direction.

In 2016, following his breakaway from the pop boy band, the star landed a solo record deal.  Subsequently, he released two hit tracks, “Slow Hands” and “This Town” from his first album “Flicker, ” in 2017.

Since his breakthrough as a solo artist, Niall Horan has dropped several other hit tracks. He released his second album, “Heartbreak Weather,” in 2020.

Aside from his music career, Horan’s romantic life has also been in the spotlight, most notably, his relationship with Hailee Steinfield. Their romance ended in December 2018.

After almost five years of solo career success, the world awaits the return of the one-time teen heartthrobs as the epic One Direction band.

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