Fans of Liam Payne have a lot to look forward to at the moment. The former One Direction member’s debut solo album, LP1, hits stands on December 6, 2019. He also recently revealed he had auditioned for a bunch of movie roles, and he just started his own clothing line with Hugo Boss! But as exciting as things are now, it definitely wasn’t an easy road for him to get here. The singer just got real about his past struggles and mental health issues, and fans are seriously amazed by his strength.

“I went into therapy a couple years after [the band ended]. I kind of went off the rails a little bit and just couldn’t really figure out what was making me sad. So, you know, my team got somebody around to help me through a couple of different, difficult things that I was going through. I was just trying to figure myself out. It was just such a strange course through life, and then when the switch turns off you’re left to your own devices,” he said to GQ Magazine. “I was drinking too much and getting into really bad, bad situations for quite some time actually. And I hit a peak moment where I knew the drinking was going to get me. I needed to do something about it. I spent a lot of time drinking to escape the crazy world that I had created for myself. I didn’t know what I was doing. That first therapy session and being like, ‘I don’t even know what I like or anything about myself,’ it was pretty scary stuff. I was afraid of how far my career was going and that it might go even further. You can say, ‘Who is afraid of success?’ But that’s what it entails sometimes. Success has got the better of me on more than one occasion. When I am losing I tend to concentrate more.”

The 26-year-old explained that when One Direction first went on a hiatus, it was definitely a shock for him.

“Everything changed — new teams, new managers, new labels. Building those working relationships can be tricky,” he admitted. “You also become the boss of your own s**t, and I was 21, 22 when I first started doing my own thing, so it’s all a bit scary and can be a bit lonely.”

The “Strip That Down” crooner also revealed that working on his first album and finding a sound that really suits him was pretty hard.

“It was difficult. I mean, it’s opening up at first and trying to figure out who you are and what people want to know from you. And what the sound is. Trying to find that medium point for all those things. It’s just the most difficult thing, especially at a young age when you’re constantly changing and you don’t really know yourself yet,” Liam continued. “We spent the best part of five years in a band closed off from the world and I had to go through this really weird transition inside that band as the world, and then myself, came out of it. I mean, even in my therapy sessions, my therapist asked me, ‘What do you actually like to do?’ And I’m like, ‘I don’t know what I like doing!’

Liam recalled thinking, “[One Direction was] a lot of fun, but what do I do now that’s done? What actually happens at this point? Who do I call? Who is the ‘point of’ person?”

Liam Payne Nude Photoshoot
James Shaw/Shutterstock

“I just didn’t really know what was going to happen — a very strange thing to be involved in. All of it is weird, but that was a real strange moment. But things pick up and slowly you start getting back into the groove again,” the 1D heartthrob added. “I kind of always knew that something would happen. I just didn’t know what the h**l it was going to be. And that was the scariest part of it. You just didn’t really want to make a fool of yourself at that point. I think after such a long legacy of your band being absolutely amazing, the most important thing was make sure you don’t step off that pedestal — don’t embarrass yourself. The biggest worry was don’t ruin the legacy.”

Although he’s doing a lot better now, Liam admits that he still struggles sometimes to find a balance.

“I got sober for about a year, cutting down so the only vice was cigarettes. I hadn’t planned to go sober forever, it was more important for me to say I didn’t actually didn’t need to drink. I wanted to prove it. I did the whole year, no booze completely, and at that point I didn’t actually know being sober was making my life any better,” he concluded. “Things went up, but things like my social life plummeted. I was the biggest recluse on the planet. I would get up at 5 A.M. and go running in the park, but at night I would be in bed by 7 P.M. Is that a way to live your life? And in a strange way I am trying to still figure all that out and get the balance right between being a party animal and being an animal in the gym — the latter not being fun at all. We are all at fault, we all need balance.”

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