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Liam Payne said he hit “rock bottom” during his time in One Direction due to his use of drugs and alcohol.
“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,” Payne, 27, said on the “Diary of a CEO” podcast on Monday. “No one would ever have seen it.”
When host Stephen Bartlett asked Payne whether he had ever experienced “suicidal ideation” during his dark days, the “Strip That Down” singer replied, “Yeah. There is some stuff that I have definitely never, never spoken about.”
He explained, “It was really, really, really severe. It was a problem. And it was only until I saw myself after that I was like, ‘Right, I need to fix myself.’”
The pop star expressed how much his abuse of alcohol had affected his mental health.
“There were a few pictures of me on a boat, and I was all bloated out,” Payne recalled. “I call it my pills-and-booze face. My face was just, like, 10 times more than it is now.”
He added, “I just didn’t like myself very much, and then I made a change.”
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Payne said that because he and his former bandmates, Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson and Zayn Malik, got so famous so quickly, they often had to stay in their hotel rooms and turn to the mini bar.
“So, 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 remembered. “And then you look back at how long you’ve been drinking, and it’s [like], ‘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 said there were moments of toxicity and that although he is grateful for being a part of the band, he didn’t always have freedom.
“As a teen, the one thing you need is freedom to make choices and freedom to do stuff,” he said. “We were always locked into a room at night. And then it would be car, hotel room, stage, sing, f–ked. So, it was like they pulled the dust cloth off, let us out for a minute to go ‘Woo-hoo!’ then it’s like, ‘Get back underneath here!’”
The “X Factor” alum also reflected on the unhealthy lifestyle he adopted more recently during the COVID-19 pandemic, when he suddenly went from extremely busy to having nothing to do at all.
“I worked through the roof,” he said. “Then I stopped working, which I thought was going to be really good for me because I was tired, but it was actually the worst thing in the world for me.”
He continued, “I was just finding myself on the sofa for the whole day just watching random Netflix. I’ve seen everything on Netflix.”
The singer also explained how easy it was to turn to alcohol, saying that there were no boundaries with drinking and he could hide that he was a little tipsy on his Zoom calls.