On Aug. 16, 2013, One Direction's Liam Payne went on Twitter to address the rumor about several One Direction fans committing suicide after being portrayed as mentally unbalanced obsessives in the TV documentary “Crazy About One Direction,” which premiered in the U.K. on Channel 4 on Aug. 15, 2013.
The rumor began when "#RIPLarryShippers" began a Top 10 trending topic worldwide on Twitter on Aug. 16, 2013. Larry Shippers is the name that One Direction fans have for those who believe that One Direction members Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson are secret lovers. The fans have nicknamed Styles and Tomlinson's close relationship as Larry Stylinson, and those who worship it are nicknamed "shippers." Hence, the name Larry Shippers.
According to the rumor, 42 fans of One Direction committed suicide after “Crazy About One Direction" aired on TV. However, there is no proof that this rumor is true. There are no police reports, obituaries or family members to confirm these supposed mass suicides.
Payne tweeted: “Not really sure what's going on right now I just hope everyone's ok xxx. Hearing some horrible things... Really hope this isn't true.
“Just so all of you know we love you guys and we know how dedicated you are and tbh we can't believe it that you gus [sic] spend all you time on us. We couldn't give a f*ck what any documentary says there dramatized for entertainment and full of bullsh*t anyway we all know...
"How hard you work for us and see it everyday at our shows, Let's all take a step back and think about what we/you have all achieved. You should be proud.”
After Payne posted these comments on Twitter, "#ThankYou Liam" became a Top 10 trending topic worldwide on Twitter.
One Direction's meteoric rise to fame and fortune began in 2010, when the group was formed on "The X Factor" U.K. by putting together five contestants (Styles, Tomlinson, Payne, Niall Horan and Zayn Malik) who originally auditioned as solo singers. One Direction came in third place on the show. Simon Cowell, who was One Direction's mentor on "The X Factor" U.K., signed One Direction to Syco Music, the record company he co-owns with Sony Music. By 2012, One Direction became the biggest-selling worldwide act to emerge from "The X Factor."
Styles is the member of the group who gets the most attention from fans and the media. And because Styles is also the member of One Direction who is considered the biggest heartthrob/playboy of the group, his love life and sexuality have been the subject of much gossip and speculation. Styles has been romantically linked to several women, but there are persistent rumors that he is secretly gay or bisexual. He addressed those rumors by commenting about his sexuality in an interview in GQ (U.K.) magazine's September 2013 issue: "Bisexual? Me? I don’t think so. I’m pretty sure I’m not." In the GQ interview, Styles also denied the rumor that he has been dating his best friend Nick Grimshaw, who is openly gay, 10 years older than Styles, and a DJ at BBC Radio 1.
In 2012, the Mirror reported that Styles had an adulterous affair in 2011 with Lucy Horobin, a radio DJ who is 14 years older than Styles. Horobin's husband Oliver Pope filed for divorce in 2012, and he told the Mirror that Horobin's affair with Styles was the reason for the divorce.
Pope blamed Styles for ruining his marriage, and Pope blasted Styles by saying that Styles is a sexual predator who seduced his wife. An unnamed friend of Styles told the Mirror that when Styles and Horobin had their fling, she had lied to Styles by saying she was separated from her husband when she really wasn't. Pope told the Mirror that Horobin had been planning to leave him for Styles, but Styles ended the affair before she could leave her husband. The affair allegedly lasted for only a few months.
Styles was 17 at the time of his alleged affair with Horobin. In the United Kingdom, where the affair allegedly happened, the minimum legal age of consent to have sex is 16 years old.
Styles and Horobin have not commented on their adultery scandal.
In January 2012, Styles ended his four-month romance with "The Xtra Factor" co-host Caroline Flack, who is 15 years older than Styles. He said on Twitter that their breakup was "a mutual decision." Since then, Styles has not publicly named anyone whom he has dated, although he is constantly asked about his love life in interviews.
After breaking up with Flack, Styles has been romantically linked to singer Lily Halpern, photographer Sara-Louise Colivet, singer/songwriter Taylor Swift, model Emma Ostilly, singer/actress Natalie Imbruglia, model/actress Emily Atack, former "Made in Chelsea" co-star Caggie Dunlop, model Cara Delevingne and Kimberly Stewart, who is one of Rod Stewart's daughters.
One Direction's Tomlinson has been dating University of Manchester student Eleanor Calder since late 2011. Although many people (including several One Direction fans) allege that Tomlinson is a closeted gay man who had or is having a secret love affair with Styles, Tomlinson has vehemently denied those rumors when he has commented in interviews and on Twitter about his sexuality and his relationship with Calder. Tomlinson has repeatedly said that his romance with Calder is real and that he is in monogamous, loving relationship with her.
One Direction's Malik has been dating Perrie Edwards of Little Mix, the girl group that was the winner of "The X Factor" U.K. in 2011. Malik and Edwards have been a couple since April 2012.
One Direction's Styles, Horan and Payne say in interviews that they are currently unattached.
Whether or not Styles and Tomlinson are secret lovers is probably the most-debated and most polarizing topic among One Direction fans on the Internet. Those who believe that Styles and Tomlinson are or were in a secret romance say that the romance is being publicly denied by Tomlinson and others out of fear that One Direction's career will be ruined if anyone in One Direction comes out as gay or bisexual. Others fans strongly believe that Styles and Tomlinson are heterosexual and that the Larry Stylinson relationship is strictly platonic.