One Direction star Liam Payne: I turned to the drink to deal with band's workload
Liam Payne has said he drank heavily to cope with One Direction's workload but insisted the band was not breaking up.
He opened up to gay lifestyle magazine Attitude about the band's hiatus, Louis Tomlinson's impending fatherhood, accusations of homophobia and his plans to marry girlfriend Sophia Smith.
He said: "I'm not afraid to say that I actually went through a pretty bad (drinking) stage. And for that time in my life, that was perfect for me. I mean, you're away from home and that can get hard. Also there were a lot of things on my mind and that's what helped me through.
"Now I'm a lot more focused and I feel good to be out of that zone and be more concentrated. There were a just a few times that I went over the limit with things and then I had to pull it back."
One Direction are set to take a hiatus from March 2016 after completing five albums and four tours in just five years. Payne reassured fans that the break was temporary, confirming: "We will work together again."
"It's been five years and it's time to take a well-earned break. Of course we'll work together again; we're not splitting up. We're just having some time out," he said.
He revealed he was not actively looking to become a solo artist during the hiatus and would prefer to write songs for his bandmates.
"A lot of people say to me, 'Oh, you'll go solo,' but I haven't thought about that. If the right song comes along and I think I should sing it, then I will release it as a solo artist. Otherwise, I'm happy being behind the scenes," he said.
The What Make You Beautiful singer risked the wrath of millions of besotted fans by also talking about plans to marry his girlfriend of two years, Sophia Smith.
'We have talked about marriage, but 22 seems a bit young for us. Sophia needs to go off and do what she wants to do. I don't want her to be one of those stay-at-home girlfriends who doesn't really do much," he said.
During their hiatus, bandmate Tomlinson is set to become a father with former girlfriend Briana Jungwirth - news that Payne revealed Tomlinson is "very happy" about. But he admitted he was angered by reports that the story might not be true.
"He's very happy about becoming a dad. But the funny thing is, there are some people out there who think that Louis getting Briana pregnant is fake. That it's not real; it's a cover up. And that's the sort of s*** that gets to me. But you have to hold your tongue and that's fine," he said.
Payne used the interview with the gay magazine to address fan rumours of a clandestine relationship between bandmates Louis Tomlinson and Harry Styles. It comes after he faced accusations of making homophobic comments at a gig in Columbus, Ohio, last month, which Payne was forced to apologise for on Twitter.
He told Attitude: "When the law changed in the US, there were loads of rainbow flags flying at our shows, but I think that was mainly because people think of the Louis and Harry thing (that they're in a secret relationship), which is absolutely nuts and drives me insane."
"It's like when you know the ins and outs of what's going on with people it's just annoying when it's so stupid. It becomes like a conspiracy or a cult."
The Drag Me Down hitmaker came out in support of gay marriage in the interview. 'It's strange to me that countries are still refusing to pass the (gay marriage) law. You can't live in the past, you have to move with the times,' he said.
An exclusive photoshoot accompanied the interview to celebrate Payne winning Attitude's sexiest man of the year award. He revealed two exclusive covers on his Twitter account on September 10.
:: The October issue of Attitude magazine will hit shelves on Wednesday September 16.