If you cried when One Direction went on “hiatus,” be prepared to shed some serious tears again. In an intimate and super heartbreaking interview with The Observer, 1D bandmate Louis Tomlinson opened up about his insecurities as an artist and feeling like the “forgettable” member of the group. Grab your tissues now.
Speaking to the outlet about recent life changes—including the death of his mom—the 25-year-old revealed how he stacks up to the rest of the 1D boys and how he initially resisted a solo career and tried to keep the band together. Here, six things we learned from Tomlinson’s candid interview.
He thinks he was the “forgettable” member of One Direction
Calling his role in One Direction “forgettable, to a certain degree,” Tomlinson told The Observer how he compares to the other more prominent band members. “Niall, for example. He’s the most lovely guy in the world. Happy-go-lucky Irish, no sense of arrogance. And he’s fearless. There are times I’ve thought: ‘I’d have a bit of that,'” he said.
He went on further: “Zayn, back in the day. He could relate to me on a nerves level. In the first year we were both the least confident. But Zayn has a fantastic voice and for him it was always about owning that. Liam always had a good stage presence, same as Harry, they’ve both got that ownership. Harry comes across very cool. Liam’s all about getting the crowd going, doing a bit of dancing… And then there’s me.”
He was against One Direction’s separation
Tomlinson said he argued against the band’s 2015 split, saying the discussion to go on a break “wasn’t necessarily a nice conversation.”
“In the last year of One Direction I was probably the most confident I ever was. And then it was: ‘OK, hiatus!'” he revealed.
After the break was made official, the singer told the outlet he planned to run his own record label, Triple String, for the “two years, five years, whatever it be” until the band got back together, and initially had no intentions of branching out as a solo artist. “If you’d asked me a year or 18 months ago: ‘Are you going to do anything as a solo artist?’ I’d have said absolutely not.”
He doesn’t feel like he deserves his success
Growing up in a working-class family, Tomlinson told The Observer that he has guilt over his wealth and status, and that he feels like he hasn’t fully earned it. “This is the sort of sh-t I think about,” he said.
“And I know, I know it sounds ungrateful. But I think about a man, on a nine-to-five, working his arse off for six months so he can go to his family and say: ‘Guys, I’m taking you to Disneyland.’ That moment… I’ll never have that in my family life. And I’ve worked hard. But I’ve never worked hard, not like that.”
It’s harder for him to launch his solo career than it was for Harry Styles
The transition to solo work hasn’t been as easy for Tomlinson as it has been for other 1D members. While Tomlinson’s first single “Just Hold On” is a catchy collab with DJ Steve Aoki, The Observer wrote that those “who once dribbled to work with One Direction” don’t jump as quickly at the opportunity to work with him.
“I couldn’t say to you now that I could definitely get a superstar writer in a session with me. And I understand that,” Tomlinson said. “Harry won’t struggle with any of that.”
He felt like the death of his mother was his luck “running out”
When Tomlinson’s mom, Johannah Deakin, was diagnosed with leukaemia in early 2016, The Observer wrote that the artist “had been worried his luck would run out” since he had been dealt an “amazing hand” with One Direction, and felt he was was “due some sort of equalizing blow.”
Her terminal illness was incredibly hard for Tomlinson, who was “unusually close” with his mom. “I remember saying to her: ‘Mum, how the f-ck do you expect me to do this now?’ And she didn’t swear much, my mum. She’d always tell me off for swearing. And this time she was like: ‘You’ve got to f-cking do it, it’s as simple as that.'” Deakin passed away in December 2016.
He’s human—and he wants his fans to know that
Tomlinson has had a rough last few years. He lost his mom to cancer, his band split, and his brief relationship with American stylist Briana Jungwirth—with whom he has a child—hasn’t been a breeze. “It’s hard for a lot of people who are fanatical to believe that you are a real entity and a person,” he said.
“Although my problems might look a hell of a lot different, they’re actually, fundamentally, the same. Loss feels the same. Heartbreak feels the same. The fundamental hurtful things for a human are all the same.”
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