Liam Payne said that fame, alcohol and drugs brought him to “rock bottom” during his time in One Direction.

“I was worried how far my rock bottom was going to be. Where’s rock bottom for me? And you would never have seen it. I’m very good at hiding it,” he told podcast host Stephen Bartlett. “No one would ever have seen it.

Payne also admitted that there were moments in which he felt suicidal.

“There is some stuff that I have definitely never, never spoken about. It was really, really, really severe. It was a problem,” said Payne. “And it was only until I saw myself that I was like, ‘Right, I need to fix myself.'”

Payne said that a major reason as to why he was struggling mentally was because of the pressure he felt when he became a member of One Direction at the age of 16. Payne, Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Niall Horan and Zayn Malik became the top boyband, until their split in 2015.

Payne said the experience was “wild,” and explained that while on tour, the boys could not leave their hotel rooms, which made him turn to alcohol.

“At a certain point, I just thought ‘Well, I’m going to have a party for one,’ and that just seemed to carry on throughout many years of my life,” he explained. “And then you look back at how long you’ve been drinking and it’s ‘Jesus Christ, that’s a long time,’ even for someone who was as young as I was. It was wild, but it was the only way you could get the frustration out in the day.”

Payne later said that he believes “the one thing (teenagers) need is freedom to make choices and freedom to do stuff.”

“We were always locked into a room at night, and then it would be car, hotel room, stage, sing …” he continued. “So, it was like they pulled the dust cloth off, let us out for a minute to go ‘Woohoo’ then it’s like, ‘Get back underneath here!'”

Payne also admitted he struggled with alcohol during the U.K.’s COVID-19 lockdown. Though Payne said he stopped working because he was tired, he also felt that not working on making music was “the worst thing in the world.”

“Having a lot of time at home – think a lot of people had this same sort of thing: alcohol. It was just getting earlier and earlier and earlier. Easier and easier to go to. What I’ve found more than anything with the alcohol is boundaries. If you’re on Zoom you can probably get away with being a bit tipsy, when you’re not supposed to be,” he said. “I put on so much weight. I was eating badly and describing it as a bulking period.”

“I had a lovely phone call from Harry the other day. He was checking in on me. It’s almost as if some people have got a sixth sense about when you’re going through something and want to check in,” he said. “He’s very much like that. He’s a lovely, lovely boy. I love him to pieces.”

After seeing himself sing on television, Payne realized he needed to change his lifestyle. The singer has been sober for a month and is going frequently to the gym.

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