Heartbreak for teenage fans as One Direction to take a break next year
TEENAGE fans around the world were left heartbroken today after it emerged that One Direction are planning to take a break next March.
The boyband and teen idol sensations – featuring Mullingar’s Niall Horan, Harry Styles, Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson – are set to part company for a year because they want to focus on solo projects.
The plan is believed to have been on the cards “with or without” Zayn Malik, who left the group in March.
The band is currently touring in the US, but the final leg of their On The Road Again tour is in the UK, culminating in three nights at Sheffield’s Motorpoint Arena on October 29, 30 and 31.
All three gigs at the 13,500 capacity venue sold-out weeks ago but, with the final Saturday performance looking like being fans’ last chance to see the boys in a major concert, informal ticket sales are expected to move into a frenzy.
Former Westlife star Markus Feehily told RTE Radio One this morning that he was unsurprised the pressure had proved too much for the band.
“They’re part of a massive machine, there’s no doubt about that. There will a lot of times when they feel like products,” he said.
“They’ll definitely be getting sick of the workload. The powers that be will want them to go to all these countries, they’ll be spread very thinly and they won’t be given much time for themselves.
“A lot of the time it ends in tears,” said Markus. “Obviously when Zayn left recently it wasn’t because he was loving life, it was because there were problems.”
Millions of fans may still get the chance to see their heartthrobs as a string of TV spots and performances – which are already pencilled in before the end of the year – are still likely to go ahead.
“The guys have been together for five years. There is absolutely no bad blood between them and they are all 100pc behind the decision,” a source told one UK tabloid.
“It is definitely not a split and they fully intend to get back together at some time in the future.”
The boys are to have a break over the festive period before getting back together to complete their promotional commitments for their record label in February.
It is believed the break and the decision not to tour was rubber-stamped in a meeting in London last weekend.
It means that they could each take their money-spinning careers – already worth millions – on very different journeys in talks that could get under way within weeks.
The band vowed to continue as a four-piece after Malik’s shock departure in March this year, which he said was so he could live like a “normal” 22-year-old.
A flood of reports then suggested the group were on the verge of breaking up but Payne thanked their devoted fans – known as “Directioners” – for sticking with the band and “not thinking it’s finished”.
Bradford-born Malik quit after having been “signed off with stress”.
It came amid reports he had cheated on his then-fiancee and Little Mix singer Perrie Edwards. The couple have since split up.
In an official statement, Malik said: “My life with One Direction has been more than I could ever have imagined. But, after five years, I feel like it is now the right time for me to leave the band.
“I’d like to apologise to the fans if I’ve let anyone down, but I have to do what feels right in my heart.
“I am leaving because I want to be a normal 22-year-old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight.”
Malik is believed to be working on a solo album with acclaimed music producer Naughty Boy, who has worked with a string of hit-makers including Emeli Sande, Cheryl Cole and Leona Lewis.
One Direction were formed during the 2010 series of The X Factor (inset left).
The five members all auditioned as solo artists, and did not make it to the boys’ category of judges’ houses.
They were offered the chance to perform as a group, and made it through to the judges’ houses stage of the
Reports say it was Styles who came up with the band’s name, One Direction.
They went on to finish third, and despite not winning, Simon Cowell signed them to his record label, Syco Records.
In 2011 they released their debut single, What Makes You Beautiful, and later released their first album, Up All Night, in the UK and Ireland. It was released globally in 2012.
As a foursome, the band recently won eight gongs at the Teen Choice Awards.
Following his departure, Malik went on to sign a recording deal with RCA Records.
He announced the news on Twitter, writing: “I guess I never explained why I left, it was for this moment to be given the opportunity to show you who I really am!”
In July this year, reports speculated that Tomlinson was expecting a child with Los Angeles based stylist Briana Jungwirth, although he has yet to comment himself.
However, his band mate Payne went on to say that he was “shocked” to hear that Tomlinson was becoming a father.
“Well, obviously I was a bit shocked but he’s taken super well to it,” Payne said.
He described Ms Jungwirth as a “lovely girl,” and added: “He’s very excited with what’s going on with him at the moment and I feel that stuff like that happens sometimes. He’s taking it very seriously.”
The foursome surprised fans a few weeks ago by releasing their new single, Drag Me Down, unexpectedly on iTunes and Spotify.
Band member Niall Horan tweeted: “Finally we get to say this! Have waited a long time but our new single Drag Me Down is out!!”