Liam Payne Drank Heavily To Deal With One Direction Fame

By David Konow 10/24/19

"I used to get off stage, high off the endorphins and get horrendously drunk, get up at five in the afternoon and do it all again."

Liam Payne
ID 34829556 © Featureflash |

One Direction, the wildly popular boy band from the UK, first gained fame from performing on The X Factor in 2010. They then scored their first number one single a year later. Years of fame and success followed, but as former 1D member Liam Payne recalls, the sudden rise to pop stardom “nearly killed” him before he cleaned up his act.

As Payne explained on Table Manners with Jessie Ware podcast, “I went through a stage in the band when I was drinking really heavily—I put weight on and didn’t notice,” to the point where he was called the “fat one" in One Direction.

“I was just really drunk every day… I used to just get wasted and say whatever I wanted. Our schedule time was just a mess, I used to get off stage, high off the endorphins and get horrendously drunk, get up at five in the afternoon and do it all again.”

Reality Check

The singer added, “I didn’t see what was looking back at me in the mirror.” It wasn't until he saw an unflattering paparazzi picture of himself that he decided he needed to get help.

“I was surprised I’d become that guy,” he says. “It was worth it to make me realize what life’s made of.”

Payne ultimately realized, “You’re either gonna end up a crazy child star who dies at whatever age or you’re gonna live, laugh and actually get on with it properly.”

It’s been hard for Payne to adjust to life post-stardom, but he says, “I needed to stop, definitely. It would have killed me. One hundred percent. I literally spent the last two years of this, in and out of doing the music, trying to learn to be a person, if that makes sense.”

Life After One Direction

In recent years, Payne has talked openly about his mental health struggles as a famous pop star. It was hard to hit the stage for hundreds of concerts when he didn’t feel good, and as he told Men’s Health Australia, “It’s almost like putting the Disney costume on before you step up on stage. I was pissed (drunk) quite a lot of the time because there was no other way to get your head around what was going on.”

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In addition to contributing for The Fix, David Konow has also written for Esquire, Deadline, LA Weekly, Village Voice, The Wrap, and many other publications and websites. He is also the author of the three decade history of heavy metal, Bang Your Head (Three Rivers Press), and the horror film history Reel Terror (St Martins Press). Find David on LinkedIn and Facebook.