It’s been almost five years since Zayn Malik boldly quit One Direction. Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, and Niall Horan continued without him for a year, then began an “indefinite” “hiatus.” Each member has made solo music, toured, and done dozens of interviews in which they dodge questions about the other four members (some more artfully than others). One Direction practically ruled the 2010s, releasing five albums in six years. Is there potential for a reunion in the 2020s? Well, before they can make music together, they’ll have to learn how to be in a room with each other. But if Fleetwood Mac can do it, anyone can do it! … Right? Let’s figure out which One Direction members are burning with white-hot hate and which ones are chilling.
Niall doesn’t have a hateful bone in his body. Or he’s really good at hiding it. Niall is the 1D member who’s friendly with most of the guys, in part because he has Harry. Get this: Niall and Harry were recently in the same room. Granted, Niall was in the audience and Harry was onstage. The Irish member of 1D supported Harry during one of his first solo concerts, and some fans spotted him in the crowd. Pride and support? No hate to be found here.
Louis and Niall are probably the two most public One Direction BFFs. On November 14, Niall shared photos of them hanging out backstage at Premios Telehit in Mexico. They actually performed “Little Black Dress” together on stage. A One Direction collab in 2019? We love to see it, but it’s not hate.
Liam and Niall recently co-starred in a parody video celebrating their original label, Modest Management. It’s always banter with these two. “I feel like I know where I stand with Niall,” Liam recently told The Face magazine. It sounds apathetic, but at least it’s not fighting words!
Liam also opened up to The Face about his murkier relationship with Harry. “But with Harry, there’s so much mystery around who he’s become,” he explained. “I was looking at some pictures of him the other day, and I just thought: ‘I don’t know what more I’d say to him other than ‘Hello’ and ‘How are you?’ I mean, look at the stuff I put out and the stuff Harry puts out. Polar opposite.” Okay, true, considering Harry carries LGBT pride flags onstage and Liam made a song widely criticized for being biphobic. “And I can say that from my own experience with him, but I just haven’t spoken to him for a number of years because our music — I’m like the Antichrist version to his Christness,” Liam added. Does calling himself the Antichrist mean Liam hates himself? Interesting turn of events for our hate-o-meter.
Here’s where things take a turn for the hateful. In 2016, less than a year after the band dissolved, Louis Tomlinson’s mom died. His relationship with One Direction members now directly correlates with how they responded to this huge tragedy, and he said so himself, just nine months ago. Four days after his mom died, Louis performed his first solo release on the X Factor stage (so, meaningful on multiple levels). “ … All the boys had agreed to come to that performance and [Zayn] didn’t show, so that really bugged me … ” he said on The Dan Wootton Interview. “It was just seeing everyone there — Harry, Niall, and Liam — that was what I needed that night, that support. So on the other end of the spectrum, it kind of really showed.” What’s that we detect? Hate?
As for Harry and Louis, after six years of having fans convinced they’re secretly dating, tormenting their girlfriends, and ultimately ruining their friendship, it makes sense they’re not buddies anymore. “[The harassment] took away the vibe you get off anyone,” Louis also said on The Dan Wootton Interview. “It made everything, I think on both fences, a little bit more unapproachable. I think it shows that it was never anything real, if I can use that word.” It doesn’t seem like they hate-hate each other, but they’re definitely not grabbing a beer when they’re in the same town.
Over the years, Harry has appeared at a number of events with the One Direction boys, but there’s almost no photographs of them together. Harry is famously the most private of the boys, making it hard to get a read on their relationship (despite what SNL monologues may lead you to believe). Did they talk backstage, or did he avoid them? But in a recent Rolling Stone interview, Harry made it clear he doesn’t have any bad blood for the boys. “Because above all else, we’re the people who went through that,” he explained. “We’re always going to have that, even if we’re not the closest.”
Since leaving the band, there’s been a lot of tension between the four remaining members and lone wolf Zayn Malik. “I ain’t spoke to any of them for a long time, to be honest with you,” he said in November 2018. “That’s just the way it is. There’s things that happen and things that were said after I left … Snide things. Small things that I would never have expected.” From what we know, he’s still hurt about the way they left things. Maybe … things are more complicated than love or hate. “We went from theaters, to arenas, to stadiums,” Zayn said in the same interview. “There was never any sort of bridge between. Just boom, boom, boom. I guess that kind of progression to any mind — but especially when you’re 17, 18 — it kind of affects you a little bit. People take it different ways — especially when there are five different personalities. The relationships had broken apart.” Only time will mend these five broken hearts and, lucky for us, we’re already almost five years post-breakup.