Liam Payne: ‘Toxic’ One Direction Fame Drove Me to Drink

Liam Payne One Direction Fame Drove Me to Drink
Liam Payne attends the launch of Wahlburgers’ debut U.K. restaurant in London on May 4, 2019. David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Wahlburgers

Liam Payne candidly spoke about the downside of being a celebrity in a new interview, admitting that he abused alcohol at the height of One Direction’s global fame.

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“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,” the “Strip That Down” singer, 25, said in his July 2019 cover story for Men’s Health Australia.

Mens Health Cover July 2019 Liam Payne
The cover of Men’s Health July 2019 featuring Liam Payne. Greg Williams

“It’s almost like putting the Disney costume on before you step up on stage and underneath the Disney costume I was pissed quite a lot of the time because there was no other way to get your head around what was going on,” he continued. “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.”

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Liam Payne One Direction Fame Drove Me to Drink
One Direction performs at the 2015 American Music Awards. Image Group LA/ABC via Getty Images

Fortunately, Payne’s life has become less hectic since the U.K. boy band’s 2016 breakup as he focuses on releasing his debut solo album.

“It’s difficult when you have the level of fame that we had in the band,” he told the magazine. “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. You know what the traps are and if you are lucky enough, like me, to be able to get out of that scenario and back into a sense of normality, then you know it’s a bit different.”

That said, Payne said the madness of his 1D days is still in the back of his mind. “I really struggle to say no because I don’t like to let people down,” he said. “It’s my nature.”

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In addition to recording new music, the X Factor U.K. alum stays busy with his 2-year-old son, Bear, whom he shares with ex-girlfriend Cheryl Cole.

“As a dad, I think one of the hardest parts at the start of it all is to feel as involved as possible,” he told Us Weekly exclusively on May 21, gushing that he is “really lucky” to have a well-behaved son.

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