On the surface, being in one of the world’s biggest pop groups sounds like a dream job.
But One Direction singer Liam Payne has revealed that jetting around the world performing in front of millions of fans wasn’t always a walk in the park.
In an emotional interview, the 24-year-old admitted there were times when he had to put on a brave face while struggling deep down to cope with the demands of being a worldwide star.
After finishing third on the 2010 series of The X Factor, One Direction’s star rose dramatically, and within months they were topping charts across the globe and selling out huge arenas.
Considering the boys – Liam, Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Louis Tomlinson and Niall Horan – were only teenagers at the time, there was always a chance that the pressure would eventually take its toll.
And Liam admits that, for him at least, it all got a bit too much on occasions.
He told The Sun: “I shouldn’t have been able to do as many shows as we did, if I’m brutally honest about it.
“Going out and putting that happy smile on my face and singing the songs, honestly, sometimes it was like putting on one of those costumes, going out there and, underneath the costume, people don’t really see what’s going on.”
1D fans might remember that the band had to cancel a Belfast show in October 2015, supposedly because Liam was ill.
But the Wolverhampton-born singer has let slip that there was more to his ‘ailment’ than your average cough or cold.
The star had recently split from his then-girlfriend Sophia Smith, and he was at a low ebb.
He confessed: “Unfortunately, I was going through a rough time and I let it get to me a little bit too much. That was it.”
Of course, Liam’s love life has been on an upward curve since then – he’s hooked up with Cheryl and the couple have an adorable baby son, Bear.
With One Direction currently enjoying an extended hiatus, Liam’s been embarking on a solo career.
But it turns out he’s been under pressure in that role, too – from Cheryl of all people.
Last week, he revealed to The Sun that his partner was one of his biggest critics.
He laughed: “I was a little bit nervous playing my music to Cheryl for the first time. She’s a judge, she still judges.
“Sometimes she can be wrong but, yeah, she’s quite a harsh judge. It comes from her X Factor days.”