“When you’re doing hundreds and hundreds of (concerts) and it’s the same 22 songs at the same time every single day, even if you’re not happy, you’ve got to go out there,” Payne said.
In such situations, Payne says he often found himself turning to alcohol as a way to cope before taking the stage.
“It’s almost like putting the Disney costume on before you step up on stage and underneath the Disney costume I was pissed (drunk) quite a lot of the time because there was no other way to get your head around what was going on,” he said. “I mean, it was fun. We had an absolute blast, but there were certain parts of it where it just got a little bit toxic.”
At the end of 2015, One Direction members announced they would be taking a hiatus. In the time since, Payne says he has had the time to reflect on the journey and how it affected him, specifically his mental health.
“It literally was the perfect storm,” Payne said. “There were so many scenarios that had to fall into line for that to happen. It’s not something that can easily be recreated or probably ever will be because of the way the internet was kicking off, the way The X Factor kicked off. I just think it was just dumb luck.”
Payne also alluded that he was not the only band member facing difficulties when it came to mental health and noted it’s a problem that has been facing the music industry for years.
“It’s difficult when you have the level of fame that we had in the band,” he told Men’s Health. “There have been a lot of people in trouble with mental health that aren’t really getting the help that they need and I think that’s a bit of a problem in our industry. It’s the same shit that happens to everyone, that’s been happening since the ’70s. You know what the traps are and if you are lucky enough, like me, to be able to get out of that scenario and back into a sense of normality, then you know it’s a bit different.”