Yesterday, One Direction-watchers went into meltdown when yet another permanent break-up rumor hit the internet. A report by Us Weekly suggested that the guys will not be back — that Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, and Niall Horan feel that One Direction has “run its course” and they are now more keen on solo careers.
A source apparently told the publication that One Direction have decided “not to renew their recording contract.”
“The 1D thing just ran its course. They’ll remain friends, but they are exhausted and want solo careers.”
Other tabloids scrambled to get comments from their own “sources,” and the breakup rumor was quickly denied in a number of other articles, including this one by USA Today.
It was hardly the first time Directioners have been shocked and dismayed. Mass distress erupted among fans of the band when it was announced that Zayn Malik had quit One Direction early last year.
A slew of disturbing self-harm images found their way to social media. #Cut4Zayn became a trend, and some young Zayn fans even expressed a hope that by cutting or self-harming they could convince the Bradford bad boy to return to One Direction.
“Minutes after the news broke, grief-stricken fans around the globe began sharing images of self-harm, cutting themselves on camera in a frantic bid to get their idol’s attention — and encouraging others to do the same. ‘If my tears aren’t enough for you, maybe my blood will be,’ the teenage artist of the pencil sketches has typed beneath her photograph.”
“‘The faster you cut your wrists, the faster Zayn comes back,’ another girl has written, alongside a picture of a bloodied knife and her red-smeared wrist. One distraught fan appears to have etched the words ‘I love Zayn’ into her forearm with a broken razor blade.”
Directioners appear to draw emotional sustenance and solace from watching videos and interviews in which the charming lads look happy and close. There had already been sadness when 1D-watchers observed that the guys seemed to be less carefree in each other’s company, beginning around 2013/2014.
I just rewatched this interview and it made me extremely sad because they aren’t this close anymore https://t.co/Suof0YngGE
— 1D Updates (@1D_Updates_WW) January 13, 2016
Soon after Zayn Malik’s departure, the rest of the guys announced that they would be taking a hiatus. Interestingly, the length of the break appeared to change again and again — first it was to be a one year break, then an eighteen month break or a two year break.
The start date also kept being pushed back. Originally, it was thought that the hiatus began after One Direction performed “History” on the X Factor. Much was made of the final performance and Louis Tomlinson even pulled his bandmates into an ecstatic group hug the moment the music stopped, slapping Liam and Harry victoriously on their backs.
“I’ll always be here,” said Simon Cowell, again suggesting that the break was on.
— Richelle (@snowlessnarry) January 15, 2016
However, it emerged just this week that in fact, the hiatus is yet to start. It will officially begin in March.
Why all the changes and conflicting reports? It almost feels as if fans are being slowly eased into a break that could, indeed, turn into a permanent split.
Sugarscape reported late last year that Simon Cowell admitted that he deliberately drip-fed the news about 1D’s break because he was worried about young fans. That is, Cowell first suggested there might be a break, to get fans used to the idea, then slowly fed the news to insiders and media outlets, before announcing it officially.
This is responsible and understandable behavior, given that Syco had just seen the orgy of self-harm that swept social media as #Cut4Zayn hit Twitter. Cowell was probably advised to make this move to avoid accusations of irresponsibility, and to avoid having himself and his company associated with explosions of adolescent cutting and similar behaviour.
Is the drip-feed continuing? Perhaps breakup reports keep hitting the press as part of a slow rollout. A few “sources” are perhaps being fed this breakup information on the understanding that they will spill to some outlets, while the dream of a 1D reunion stays alive for others.
Could it all culminate with a 1D breakup announcement from Simon and the guys themselves?
Will the last dribble of info we get tell us that it is indeed the end for One Direction?
Hopefully, this is not the case, but whatever the truth, the self-harm impulses of some should be treated seriously and 1D obsessers supported rather than mocked. Telegraph published a helpful article last year for those who feel that “being a fan is part of their identity,” and that a 1D breakup would make them feel torn apart.
Are One Direction actually breaking up?
[Photo by: KGC-03/STAR MAX/IPx]