To fans, Liam Payne was the successful singer and the popular face from One Direction, but in real life, he says his struggles were so bad that he shouldn't have been on stage. Opening up about his ordeal at the peak of his five-part boy band's success, Payne has made some shocking confessions in a candid interview.
"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," the 24-year-old English star told The Sun.
"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 explained, revealing his dark moments while his band sold hits and performed to packed audiences year after year.
In October 2015, the Bedroom Floor hitmaker had sparked the first wave of concerns as One Direction cancelled a Belfast show citing Payne's health issues as the reason.
Recalling the incident, the singer — who shares eight-month-old son Bear with girlfriend Cheryl — said, "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."
Payne had just parted ways with his former girlfriend Sophia Smith at the time, the report claimed. However, the singer refrained from discussing in details about his health struggle.
In a statement released after the sudden cancellation of the 2015 show, Payne had even apologised to his fans. "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," he said at the time.
Now that he remembers those moments with the band — comprising members Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Niall Horan and Zayn Malik — he explains what triggered it all.
"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," the Strip That Down hitmaker says. "It was like, 'Oh, you've just won three EMAs, but get on the plane and go to the next place'."
All that's in the past, though, as Payne admits that he is doing much better.
"We needed a little bit of time away from each other," he said about the dismantling of the band adding, "We needed a realisation point to find the love for it again, rather than it just becoming a job.