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One Direction partying causes rift among members; Harry Styles plots solo career

One Direction, pictured from left to right: Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, Zayn Malik and Niall Horan
One Direction, pictured from left to right: Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, Zayn Malik and Niall Horan
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Different views on partying and the pressures of a meteoric rise to worldwide fame have caused the members of One Direction to drift apart behind the scenes, according to a Daily Mirror report that was published on May 31, 2014. Although the members of One Direction (who are all in their early 20s) will publicly deny that there are serious problems in the group, sources tell the tabloid that the group has divided into multiple factions, based on their loyalties and partying habits. Meanwhile, Harry Styles (the One Direction member who gets the most attention from fans and the media) has been carefully planning his life after One Direction, which he views as a stepping stone to a larger solo career, according to the sources.

Unnamed insiders are telling the Daily Mirror and other tabloids that Styles is already acting like a solo artist, by traveling separately from the rest of One Direction and spending most of his free time away from the other members of the group. In interviews, the members of One Direction repeatedly deny that the group is breaking up or that any of the members is going solo.

Because One Direction is locked into contracts to make albums and do tours through at least 2018, the group probably won't be breaking up before then. However, the history of massively popular boy bands has shown time and again that they will either break up within 10 years after they were formed or one of the members will go solo or leave the group.

Many people are predicting that Styles will become another Justin Timberlake, who found fame as the breakout star in the boy band *NSYNC and went on to a Grammy-winning solo career and starring roles in movies after *NSYNC disbanded. Styles has similar ambitions, according to the Daily Mirror, which reports that Styles has already met with Hollywood agents to discuss a career in acting.

One Direction is the world's biggest-selling act to emerge from "The X Factor." The group was formed in 2010 by Simon Cowell and other "X Factor" decision makers who put five "X Factor" U.K. solo contestants (Styles, Liam Payne, Zayn Malik, Louis Tomlinson and Niall Horan) together in a group. After One Direction came in third place on "The X Factor" U.K. in 2010, Cowell signed the group to Syco Music, the record company he co-owns with Sony Music. Since then, One Direction has had No. 1 hits and sold-out tours in numerous countries.

In late May 2014, One Direction was rocked by a scandal in which a video filmed by Tomlinson was leaked by the Daily Mail tabloid. In the video, Tomlinson and Malik are smoking what they say is marijuana, while they are being driven in a van on the way to a One Direction concert in Peru. After the video was leaked, some conservative groups and former fans called for a boycott of One Direction, but the controversy and protests seem to have had little effect on the group's career, since One Direction has not lost any sponsorship deals, and there have been no One Direction concerts cancelled because of the controversy.

Insiders say that Payne often plays the role of "peacemaker" in the group. It was Payne, not Tomlinson or Malik, who issued an apology (via Twitter) for the controversial video. In the statement (which Payne tweeted on May 31, 2014), he said, "I love my boys and maybe things have gone a little sideways I apologise for that. We are only in our 20s we all do stupid things at this age, We all have a lot of growing up to do in an extreme circumstance I'm not making excuse but it's fact we are gunna fall short somewhere. Hopefully we stand the test of time an get it right in the end I don't take this for granted and I'm extremely grateful to be here doing this. Thank you to everyone who has stuck with us through this just know that we love you guys for it and it means the world."

According to the Daily Mirror, image-conscious Styles is upset over the controversy and feels further alienated from the group, which has already been split into distinct social factions. On one side are Tomlinson, Malik and Payne, who travel in a separate plane or tour bus because they are the smokers of the group. On the other side are non-smokers Styles and Horan, who are the group members most likely to hang out and drink in bars and nightclubs.

Styles and Tomlinson used to be best friends in the group and even shared an apartment during One Direction's first year together. They were so close that it led to persistent rumors that Styles and Tomlinson were secret lovers. It was a rumor that Styles and Tomlinson publicly denied. Whether the rumor was true or not, the close relationship between Styles and Tomlinson is definitely over, as Styles is now more likely to socialize with Horan than Tomlimson.

Even though Styles and Horan are closer to each other than they are to the other members of the group, sources told the Daily Mirror that Styles has split off into his own separate faction, as he prefers to spend more of his free time away from the other members of One Direction. Instead, Styles would rather socialize with his family members and celebrity friends which include radio DJ Nick Grimshaw and comedian/actor James Corden.

According to the Daily Mirror, the members of One Direction definitely do not travel as a united group: "They have two private jets: one for Harry, who prefers the quiet life while the other is the party plane. The same applies to their tour buses. Louis, Zayn and Liam lark about while Harry relaxes with scented candles. Niall likes to swap between the two. Harry spends little time with his band mates while they’re on tour."

Styles' family background is also different from the other One Direction members' backgrounds, since he grew up in an upper-middle-class environment, while the other members of One Direction have working-class roots. Insiders say that Styles is the member of the group who is coping with fame the best since he wants to have an even bigger career outside of One Direction.

An unnamed source told the Daily Mirror that Styles is the One Direction member who is the least likely to complain about One Direction's rigorous work schedule, while Tomlinson is the most likely to complain and rebel: “Harry’s goal is to have a future, that’s why he goes along with the One Direction roller-coaster without moaning. He gets on with it to ensure that Harry Styles is a global A-list star for the rest of his life.”

The source also commented, "Louis, Liam and Zayn often say that their mates who aren’t famous are enjoying life so much more than they are. They’re worked like dogs. They have such limited freedom. Things are ­beginning to implode. The boys have grown up but neither their fans nor management want them to. If they want another tattoo, they have to go at 2 a.m. in secret so the event doesn’t become global in 30 minutes. If they want to enjoy their time off outside a hotel room they fly to private islands. Only there are they safe from the chaos that is present in their everyday lives.”