A “secret” anything for the boy band known as One Direction is probably few and far between these days. Since being selected through one of the most complex vetting processes ever devised, each of the “boys” has probably signed away a good deal of the element of secrecy to Simon Cowell’s Syco Entertainment family in exchange for future earnings. The members of One Direction had even been previously rejected as individual contestants on the British music competition program The X Factor and were only accepted as a unit upon the divine intervention of guest judge and Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger, and even then, only on condition that they continue to remain young and charming and profitable.
One Direction has held up their end of the bargain, particularly the profitable part, even becoming the first band from the UK to take the top spot on the Billboard 200 with their debut album, the same UK that is the birthplace of heavy metal and the home of The Rolling Stones, the Spice Girls and The Beatles. Where the Beatles were an actual bar band at one point playing the seedy haunts of Hamburg’s red light district, One Direction has been painstakingly molded to maximize revenue and are in a position to become the world’s first billion-dollar boy band on the back of concert, record, movie, DVD and merchandise sales and a successful love affair with the lucrative American market. Teenage girls have assembled en masse on street corners and in shopping malls in numbers not seen since The Beatles to deliver their collective will in shrieks to the visiting British Boy Band. Despite the hysteria, the band for the most part has managed to avoid behavior that might be considered too scandalous.
Twenty-year-old Niall Horan from County Westmeath, Ireland maintained an online courtship with singer Demi Lovato that fizzled under the intense scrutiny of the Internet. The former choir boy is rumored to suffer from claustrophobia and fear of pigeons and broke up with a good girl back home to pursue his music career. By his own admission he hasn’t been on many dates and much enjoys sitting home and watching a movie. Not exactly the salacious brothel-hopping adventures of his young adult contemporary Justin Bieber, but it was reported that he is secretly dating Irish model Zoe Whelan.
Twenty-year-old Zayn Malik of British Pakistani, Irish and English descent is a practicing Muslim engaged to Perrie Edwards, another X-Factor contestant and singer for former Syco Records sister band Little Mix. Malik is a professed cigarette addict (is that a thing?) even though smoking is prohibited by the guidelines of Islam. His rebellious streak is tempered by long-distance Skyping with Edwards and wedding planning.
Twenty-year-old Englishman Liam Payne is the group’s damaged goods who previously suffered a kidney dysfunction up until the age of four. He took up boxing in school to deal with bullying and claims he doesn’t have a way with words and once froze up in the presence of Victoria’s Secret model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. Public splits with X-Factor dancer Danielle Peazer and former schoolmate Sophia Smith have left Payne struggling with the wages of fame and lonliness.
One Direction elder, 21-year-old Louis Tomlinson set the tone for the band that seems bent on settling down by taking some well-deserved time off with long-time girlfriend Eleanor Calder to sight-see in Tokyo following the end of the Take Me Home tour. The band has toured every year for the past three years and recorded three albums. With that kind of schedule and all the media attention, who has time to date? Even in their early twenties, they must be exhausted from non-stop shuttling around to different venues where the grueling full-court press of screaming fans must take its toll on all of them. All except for...
Nineteen-year-old Englishman and former baker’s boy Harry Styles is of a different breed altogether. Styles claims that he would even date a fan as long as they didn’t scream in his face. Known as the “Cougar Hunter,” he dated 32-year-old UK TV presenter Caroline Flack when he was 17 and allegedly hooked up with 37-year-old Natalie Imbruglia. Styles picked up married 32-year-old radio DJ Lucy Horobin and was rebuffed by 36-year-old TV host Samantha Armytage to whom he coolly explained his age predilection: “Yes, you know what it is, I like, it’s not about how old someone is…you know, I don’t like 'old' women (air quotes), it’s not, like, a weird thing, it’s just, it depends on how I get on with…if they’re a little bit older than me.” Styles has moved on to date a series of models and celebutantes, most notably celebrity singer-songwriter Taylor Swift.
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