Liam Payne Opens Up About His Mental Health Issues At Peak Of One Direction Fame

Liam Payne has opened up about his secret struggle with mental health at the height of One Direction’s success, admitting that he should not have been allowed to perform on stage.

The 24-year-old singer, formerly one-fifth of the world-renowned boyband, has revealed the darker side of life in the spotlight in a new interview with The Sun, where he claims he was often forced to put on a front for his fans.

“I shouldn’t have been able to do as many shows as we did, if I’m honest about it, if I’m brutally honest about it,” he explained while getting candid about the affect that his personal battle with his inner demons had on his time touring with the group.

“Going out and putting that happy smile on my face and singing the songs, honestly, sometimes it was like putting on one of those costumes, going out there and, underneath the costume, people don’t really see what’s going on,” he added.

Back in October 2015, the Brit-Irish pop collective cancelled the first of three shows on the Belfast leg of their tour after Liam had reportedly “taken ill”, suffering panic attack-like symptoms just hours before they were due on stage.

“I’m so sorry to everybody I disappointed last night. I’m feeling better now. I really hope everyone can make the rescheduled date on Friday,” Liam said in a statement the following day.

Musicians Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, and Zayn Malik perform onstage at the One Direction iHeartRadio Album Release Party
One Direction performing at the iHeartRadio theater in Los Angeles [Image by Christopher Polk/Getty Images]

Recalling the incident, the “Bedroom Floor” hitmaker, who had been struggling with his recent split from ex-girlfriend Sophia Smith at the time, admitted that One Direction “needed” their hiatus to help in coping with the pressures of fame.

“I let it get to me that day. I wasn’t in a good place. And unfortunately I was going through a rough time and I let it get to me a little bit too much. That was it,” he said. “The more we did, I just don’t think we stopped and celebrated enough how great things were and I think that’s what got on top of us in the end.”

“We needed a realization point to find the love for it again, rather than it just becoming a job.”

Liam, who became a father earlier this year, revealed that he is a totally different person now compared to when he was in the band alongside Niall Horan, Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, and Zayn Malik.

Since taking a break from the group, Liam has experienced success in his solo career; with his debut single “Strip That Down” tearing up the charts and breaking records worldwide.

The track, which could be seen as an ode to his personal growth and newfound freedom, was followed up with the release of tropical dance number “Get Low” and electronic RNB-pop single “Bedroom Floor.”

Liam’s debut album is expected to drop next year, with a collaboration-packed tracklist featuring a rumored duet with rapper Nicki Minaj, who he revealed would be his dream artist to work with.

“I have a song that I think she could really smash. I think it would be really great – it was one of the first songs I wrote for the album,” he told OK! Online at the VOXI launch in August. “She is for me, the best female rapper in the world at the moment. I’d love her to be on the album. There’s a spot there for her if she wants it. I have to let the powers that be decide.”

Liam Payne’s debut album is scheduled for release in 2018.

[Featured Image by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images]