One direction this is us

Story of their Life: The rise and fall of One Direction
As a One Direction hiatus looms on the horizon, we chart the highs and lows of the X Factor's most successful creation


3. girls girls girls

The boys were extremely busy during the first few months of 2011. Sure, they spent some time in the studio, but they were mainly preoccupied with the fact that, in a matter of months, they had gone from being the most fancied boys in school to the most fancied boys in the country.

Before they had so much as released a single, they were adored by millions of young girls who had adopted their surnames on Twitter.

Zayn Malik got engaged to Little Mix member Perrie Edwards in 2013

But who wants a girlfriend your own age when you can learn the ways of the world from an older woman? 17-year-old Harry Styles’s fling with TV presenter Caroline Flack, 15 year his senior, grabbed headlines – which meant that 18 year old Zayn Malik’s comparatively reasonable relationship with his 23 year old X Factor colleague Rebecca Ferguson was relatively low-profile. It was also short-lived – by the end of the year he had traded her in for a younger model, Perrie Edwards from X Factor 2011 winners Little Mix. At the time, it reeked of a publicity stunt but, four years on, they’re still together… just about.

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