No one knows the One Direction boys better than Simon Cowell – he practically raised them. Simon took Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne and Zayn Malik in as his own while they rose to international stardom. It was Simon who taught them the ins and outs of the business and what it means to be a massive celebrity with real, pure talent. Simon was there for all of the good things and all of the things the boys hoped would never make headlines. Because he was there every step of the way, Simon sort of became this real-life father figure in the boys' lives.

This isn't just a theory, either. There's actual proof that Simon came down on the boys when they were acting out and evidence that he praised them like he would his own children when they really accomplished something big. Their relationship is literally the cutest thing in the world. While we can't imagine tough guy Simon playing a fatherly role in our lives, the 1D guys definitely can.

RELATED: Liam Payne Just Subtly Threw Shade at Zayn Malik's Abrupt Exit From One Direction

We've dug up some of the most adorable things Simon did and said about One Direction.

Simon Cowell is proud of all FIVE of the boys including Zayn Malik.

Simon chatted with Billboard about his very close relationship with Louis. But, he was quick to point out that he's actually very happy for all the One Direction guys and their solo success. He said, "Louis and I, you know, we've got this very close bond. When we heard about this current record, I remember calling him and going, 'Louis, this record is special' — and I could not be happier. Actually, with all the boys, if I'm being honest with you. They've worked for this. But yeah, you do feel a little bit like a proud dad when you see all five of them doing well now."

Aww! Did you guys pick up on the same thing we did? Simon said, five, not four, which means he's including Zayn in that group. So, basically, Simon isn't the tough guy he's made out to be. This is seriously so cute. After all the drama and tension Zayn caused within the group and the group's management, it's clear that Simon still has a special place in his heart for all of the original boys. Once you're in the One Direction family, you're never truly out of it.

Simon Cowell was very disappointed in Louis Tomlinson when he drank too much alcohol before a One Direction performance.

Louis chatted with BBC Radio 1 and said, "I thought well I'll just have a couple of beers and I ended up being really, really drunk on this show – one of the first things [One Direction] did. 
I woke up to a text to find out that I was going to LA the next morning – flown out. I sat on the plane thinking, 'What is coming next?' I landed at Simon's and he gave me a little dressing down. It was positive. But it certainly felt like the scary Simon you see on TV! It was that disappointed vibe… very calm."

Total dad move! But, Louis claims that this conversation is what really brought him and Simon together. He doesn't think they would have been as close if this didn't happen.

Harry Styles said Simon Cowell is proud of his solo single "Sign of the Times."

Harry spoke with the Sunday Times magazine and explained, "He said he really liked it and he was very proud of me. It was very friendly… not like the past phone calls haven't been friendly, but I didn't get the nervy 'the boss is calling' feel, which was nice."

Aww! Even after breaking from Simon's label and going off on his own, Harry is getting praise from his former boss. This definitely something all dads would do – love the person they raised no matter what. All. The. Feels. Right. Now.

Simon Cowell admitted he felt like a father to the boys.

At the beginning of One Direction's career, Simon spoke with Heat magazine and said, "I feel like a father…We have the very best team imaginable for the boys. They are the most grounded artists I’ve ever worked with. They’re really nice boys, so there are no tantrums. It’s my job to make sure they are happy."

And happy he definitely made them!


RELATED: Proof That Freddie Tomlinson Is Growing Up Really Quickly

Simon Cowell told Louis Tomlinson to 'man up' after Louis found out he was going to be a father.

Simon told The Sun, "I said to him, 'You man up. You're fortunate because you're in a position to be able to look after the baby and not worry too much about that. But I also told him, 'I've received bad calls in my life but this is not one of them. This is your business but I'm here for you. He didn't kill anyone. He got someone pregnant. It happens every day all over the world. Again, Louis has got great family around him and, look, it's a plus, not a negative."

Simon with the nonstop support is what we love to see! It's here that we really see Simon showing his true colors. He was teaching Louis, in a very subtle way, to take responsibility for your actions, own up to what you've done. Obviously, it stuck with Louis because he's become such a good dad to his son Freddie Tomlinson.

Simon Cowell basically set up Liam Payne and Cheryl Cole.

Sorry, what?! Liam chatted with Radio 1Xtra and said, "It just came about one day. Niall came up to me and said, 'You’ll never guess who’s got a crush on you?' And I was like, 'who?' He’s like, 'Cheryl.' Niall hooked it up. Simon kind of half hooked it up. I was saying something about Cheryl one night in Simon’s house, and he was like, 'I think I know who is going to be the future Mrs. Payne', and I was like 'Who are you on about?' He was like, 'I’m not telling you, you’ll have to wait and see.' They played cupid. If you ever need anything hooking up, those are your boys."

Shut. UP. We actually had no idea Simon and Niall were the masterminds behind Liam and Cheryl and we're so shook over it. Simon definitely had conversations about Liam with Cheryl, too. Literally, this is perfection.

Simon Cowell tried protecting Niall Horan from Demi Lovato.

Okay, we're legit lolling over this. Simon thought Demi would corrupt sweet, little Nialler! Backstage at the X-Factor Simon said to Demi, "Keep away from him. He’s pure." Simon pressed on even asking Demi if she kissed Niall – to which she said no. But, Simon did not believe her for one second. Obviously, Simon is very protective of all the boys even when it comes to girls he doesn't think they should be dating.

Simon Cowell wished Zayn Malik would have come to him for help even after he left the band.

When Simon got word that Zayn wanted to create his own show based off of his time in One Direction, he thought the "Pillowtalk" singer should have handled it differently. He said, "I think he should have come to me with it, if I'm being honest with you. I do actually believe that when they've got these ideas, bearing in mind where we started, they should actually come to me."

This is the ultimate sign that Simon was, in fact, a real dad figure for ALL of the boys. With everyone in separate places right now, even Zayn who created some tension with his former boss when he abruptly quit, no one really knew what kind of influence Simon had. But, clearly, he had a big one. Even after all the drama, Simon hopes the boys will come back to him. We've never seen or heard something more dad-like.

RELATED: Does Simon Cowell Regret Making One Direction Famous?

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