The untold truth of Niall Horan

How well do you know Niall Horan? If you're a diehard Directioner, or just a fan of pop music in general, then you're likely aware that he joined the juggernaut boy band One Direction after finding fame as a contestant on The X Factor. He also happens to be the only Irish member of the crew, and he's since struck out on his own to attempt a solo career. Wait, does that make him a (former? still on hiatus since taking a break in 2016?) member of One Direction? No one actually knows yet, since the boys haven't quite closed the book on their world conquering collaboration, as of this writing. (Well, except for maybe perpetual smack-talker Zayn Malik, who can't seem to stop dragging his former crew.)

"If someone comes calling, yeah," Horan told This Morning's Alison Hammond in March 2020 when she asked about a possible 1D reunion. 

Does Horan know how to keep a fandom clamoring for more, or what? And speaking of 1D fanatics, would you be able to win a Horan-themed trivia night with other obscure (yet equally intriguing) tidbits of info about the singer? There's probably a lot more to this performer than you could have guessed, including these untold truths of Niall Horan.

Niall Horan had to make a serious decision as a kid

Niall Horan is certainly not alone in the fact that his parents divorced when he was a child — he was just five years old at the time — but while most kids end up living with whatever parent is deemed best for them, Horan himself had to make the decision of who he would live with. Although he and his brother Greg initially split their time after the divorce between staying with both their mom, Maura, and their dad, Bobby, they made the decision "a few years" later to live with their dad full-time, according to the Daily Record.

Although that might make it seem like Horan isn't close to his mother, the two apparently still have a great relationship. "It makes me very emotional seeing what he's doing, it really is changing his life — it's so huge," Maura once said, referring to her son's success. "What else could a mother ask for her child? It's mind-blowing. Last weekend he met the Obamas, so the child's mind must be blown with what he's getting to see and do."

However, Maura feels like fame hasn't changed one important aspect of who Horan is, adding, "He's a great head on his shoulders, though. He's very humble." He's also lucky he had people around him who were paying attention to his talent, like the next two women.

It was Niall Horan's teacher and aunt who first recognized his talent

If you're a teacher, you never know which one of your students may grow up to do great things but you might have a guess when it comes to who might become famous if you pick up a hint of a certain talent that blooms early on. That's exactly what happened to Niall Horan. While still a student, Horan unsurprisingly "loved the singing classes" and during the annual Christmas carol concert, he "stood out every time," according to Niall Horan: The Unauthorized Biography. "With his cherubic face and sweet voice, he certainly looked and sounded the part of the classical choir boy." In fact, his talent was so apparent, "a teacher called Anne Caulfield" was the one "who first noted Niall's vocal ability."

Horan's teacher wasn't the only one who realized that he had some serious vocal talent. Apparently, while driving with his aunt when he was younger, Horan began to sing a Garth Brooks song. His rendition was so impressive, that his aunt thought that she was hearing the radio. When she figured out it was actually Horan belting out the tune, that became the "moment [his aunt] realized what a future he had ahead of him." While he certainly had many memorable moments ahead of him, he also had to miss out on a few major milestones along the way.

Niall Horan missed out on two major milestones

According to Biography, Niall Horan was just 16 years old when he first auditioned for The X Factor and, in time, became a part of One Direction. The jam-packed schedule that surely came along with his role in the boy band prevented him from experiencing a few things that normal kids do. "I didn't even get to go to my prom," Horan once revealed, according to J-14. While that's certainly a little sad, it's not uncommon for famous folks who found fame early on to have to skip the school-related event. There happen to be quite a few celebrities who didn't go to prom. However, it turns out that the party that's in a way a rite of passage for many teenagers wasn't the only thing he missed out on.

During the same interview, Horan admitted, "I didn't even get to finish school." No prom? No graduation? No diploma? Thankfully, he's been a (massive) success without completing his formal education and has even shown that he has a knack for teaching himself the things that he didn't pick up in school.

The One Direction singer taught himself to play two instruments

Fans of One Direction will know that Niall Horan was the group's "resident musician," as Bustle puts it. "He's played the guitar during some of their concerts and was even featured on some tracks on the group's album Midnight Memories." However, did you know that he taught himself to play guitar and did so at just 12 years old? After picking up the instrument that his uninterested older brother got for Christmas, Horan soon got the hang of things. He became so adept that he even taught his bandmate, Harry Styles, how to do a little strumming.

Perhaps Horan might also show Styles how to play the piano, which is something that the Irish singer also knows how to do. After Horan took to social media to share a live video of himself tickling the ivories, a fan hopped onto Twitter to ask, "Niall how [do] you manage to play this well on the piano? Did you teach yourself or [take] some lessons?" He responded: "No I've never had a lesson or actually know what chords I'm playing. I play a guitar chord and try and match up notes wise to make the Chord. Then my right hand plays a lot of the melodic stuff." While it must be nice to be so naturally talented when it comes to music, Horan also deals with something that threatens his ability to use his skills.

Acid reflux causes problems for Niall Horan's pop career

Niall Horan may be famous but he still has to deal with a health issue that affects people from all walks of life. "I struggle with the old acid reflux," he admitted back in 2018 while chatting with Nova's Kent 'Smallzy' Small, according to the Daily Mail. For those who are unaware of what that means for the star, per Medical News Today"Acid reflux is a common condition that features a burning pain, known as heartburn, in the lower chest area. It happens when stomach acid flows back up into the food pipe." While that would be a painful annoyance for anyone, it's something that causes problems when it comes to Horan's career as a singer.

"Honestly, you're standing at the mic and obviously singing and opening your mouth and taking deep breaths allows the food to come up, so sometimes you just go 'burp' all over the mic and it's not great," he explained.

Frankly, things are so bad that "acid reflux threatens to stall [his] solo singing career," according to the Irish Mirror. That's why, in 2016, he sought treatment for the condition. Sharing a photo of himself with wired monitors stuck to his chest, the performer included the caption: "Hooked up at the doc's office — acid reflux is no joke." Thankfully, his next body issue isn't painful but it still might be a fact about the star that you're not expecting.

Niall Horan's beloved blond hair is dyed

One thing that Niall Horan's fans love about him is his blond hair. "Each member of One Direction had their own, unique thing. Zayn: the broody one. Harry: the adorable one, Louis: the sassy one ... Niall: the blonde one. He was the only one in the band with these lighter locks, and he totally stood out because of it," Girlfriend explains. However, during an interview with The Zach Sang Show in May 2017, the singer "reveal[ed] his biggest secret of all: he isn't a natural blonde."

Horan continued by pointing out that it would take around three hours to lighten his naturally brown hair each time. "It's a pain in the a**," he admitted. "I started doing it when I was like 12 or 13. So 10 years is a long time putting that crap in your hair."

While Horan eventually took a break from dying his hair and let his naturally brunette locks grow in, "fans ... freak[ed] out over the color swap," according to Bustle. "People online are either in love with the new 'do or are lamenting the good old days when the band was performing together and Horan's hair was a bright, white blonde." His hardcore blond hair-loving devotees may not have been impressed but that hasn't stopped Horan from sticking with what he likes, which is also clear by the music he's into.

The Eagles and Michael Bublé are likely on Niall Horan's playlist

One would naturally assume that Niall Horan has other boy bands on his playlist — and just as many girl groups. While that may indeed be the case, it's also just as likely (or perhaps even more so) that he's listening to a little classic rock or a crooner-style tune. A fan of both The Eagles and Michael Bublé, Horan's shown up at a concert for the former (as did fellow member of One Direction, Harry Styles) and is known to praise the latter. Horan even revealed during an AskAnythingChat that "you can hear The Eagles'" influence on his solo album, Flicker.

As for Bublé, he once spoke about the boys in the band, according to Entertainment.ie, saying, "[Horan's] a great kid. We talk a lot. Him and Liam [Payne] are the two boys I chat with and it's actually really refreshing to see young guys like that get success and for them not to be d**ks. It's probably a testament to where he comes from and his family." In turn, Horan told ET Canada in 2017 that the Canadian singer is "the greatest man," adding that he "want[s] to grow up to be Michael Bublé." Considering Horan is so fond of one performer from the Great White North, it perhaps shouldn't be surprising to find out that there's someone else from Canada that he's quite fond of.

Niall Horan feels sorry for Justin Bieber but can also relate to him

Niall Horan is a Belieber! That's right, the former One Direction singer is a fan of fellow pop star Justin Bieber and certainly isn't afraid to let others know how he feels. Horan even tweeted praise for Bieber's music in 2012, and they're both willing to "[clown] each other on Instagram like regular pals," according to Billboard who pointed out that that "Sorry" singer "playfully parodie[d] Niall Horan's album cover on Instagram."

While that might make it seem like the two stars are always in a light-hearted mood when mentioning the other, it turns out that the Irish performer actually feels bad for his Canadian counterpart. "You see solo stars — I watched Justin Bieber's new docuseries and .... [he's] a guy I know quite well and you can see how it affected him. People didn't realize the pressure that he was under. ... I can relate to that 100 percent," Horan told Glamour Magazine UK. Further explaining that the members of One Direction had each other to lean on, Horan noted that Beiber only "had his manager and his security guy." Because of that, Horan admitted, "I always felt sorry for Justin in that respect." Perhaps these two should hang out more so that Horan doesn't have to worry about his friend. And we know the perfect activity for the pair to partake in.

Is Niall Horan 'the future of golf?'

Popstar, self-taught multi-instrumentalist, caring friend, and putting pro? When Niall Horan isn't busy making music, he can likely be found enjoying a round of golf. "I'm a sports fan in general and I watch a lot of sport and when I was 12 or 13 I joined my local golf club and fell in love with golf then," he told Virgin Radio Dubai (via the Brampton Guardian).

As of an August 2019 profile, Horan is apparently a "golf addict, attending PGA tournaments whenever he can, playing whenever he can." He's even "made himself one of the most influential people in golf," while also being called "the future of golf," according to Today's Golfer. That's because he doesn't just play the sport for fun, but he's also the co-founder of Modest! Golf Management which he helped launch in 2016.

"Having the love for golf that I do was the reason I wanted to set up the company in the first place, and here we are three years later with some of the most influential people in golf," Horan told Today's Golfer. However, fans can rest assured that he "won't swap pop for golf," according to the Brampton Guardian, because he doesn't have the "natural talent" needed to play professionally. Thankfully, he has other talents that he can rely on, such as his musical skills and his ability to do something rather snazzy when it comes to the way he speaks.

An Irish accent isn't the only one Niall Horan pulls off

Niall Horan may be famous thanks to his pop song-worthy singing voice, however, that's not the only vocal skill that the performer possesses. Also adored for his unmistakable Irish accent (which is, honestly, pretty darn fantastic), he happens to be able to pull off a range of cadences from different cultures.

The star showed off his vocal skills while sitting down for a rather unusual chat on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon in 2019. At the host's request, Horan performed a lively reading of the classic holiday story 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. While that would surely have been enough to thrill his swooning fans, Fallon asked Horan to read the lines with different accents that would pop up on a screen in front of him. The singer was up to the task and did his reading in no less than seven different accents. First, he showed off his Scottish brogue before switching to a Russian tone. He then pretended to be a Spanish-speaker (while speaking English, of course), which was followed by seemingly on point accents that mimicked those from the Southern United States, France, Brooklyn, and Australia — each delivered with a distinctive cultural (even stereotypical?) flair.

If Horan eventually feels the urge to give up his music career, he could always work as an identity-swapping spy. That is if his face weren't so recognizable.

Niall. Horan. Hates. Birds.

It's known that Niall Horan is not fond of small, enclosed spaces due to the fact that he's claustrophobic, but he also happens to "hate birds," specifically pigeons. "I can't stand them after one once flew in through my bathroom window and went for me while I was having a wee. That was enough. I think pigeons target me," he once admitted, according to The Sun. He even revealed that when it comes to his performing, he gets "really nervous if pigeons are flying around before shows."

However, Horan was willing to face his feathered fear during a March 2020 installment of The Late Late Show with James Corden's Carpool Karaoke. After explaining to the host why he isn't fond of the animals — "I think they're horrible. I don't like the fact that they're not scared of us until you get really close to them. People have to like run at a flock of pigeons ... to make them move." — Corden thought it might help if Horan held one of the flighty creatures (named Ted, of course)... and have one placed on his shoulder... and on his head. While Horan did well considering the circumstance, he was wary of one of the birds, er, doing its business on him, which is totally understandable (if icky).

Niall Horan is wildly wealthy

Thanks to Niall Horan's time in One Direction, he earned a massive fortune when he was barely out of his teens. "Between June 2013 and June 2014, the group generated $75 million in revenue," according to Celebrity Net Worth, and the next year brought in an additional $130 million. Beyond that, their Where We Are tour was the second-highest-grossing tour ever when it comes to comparable groups thanks to the fact that it took in a whopping $282 million.

However, Horan may want to be careful with his fortune. "He's simply spending a lot more than he makes," a source told the Irish Mirror in 2018, adding, "He could end up with nothing if he's not careful. Niall is not making anything near the money he was enjoying in 1D but he's still spending a fortune." Noting that the singer and sports entrepreneur has "big plans" for both his golf-related endeavor and solo music career, the insider pointed out that the former apparently "comes with a huge financial burden ... and in terms of his solo career ... [h]e hasn't had that one big solo hit that any former boyband member needs to move on from their past life in the band." It looks like Horan may need to be a little savvier with his fortune until more funds start rolling in.