The Shady Side Of Liam Payne

Liam Payne shot to superstardom as one of the members of the British pop sensation, One Direction. In their legendary six-year run, they topped the music charts, won over the hearts of girls everywhere, and had their fair share of controversies along the way. One Direction shattered hearts everywhere in 2015 when it was announced they planned to go on an indefinite hiatus to venture out on their own solo projects. "They are great friends and fully support one another," a source declared to E! News at the time, adding, "They are very aware that they are able to work on their own stuff as well as remain together."

Though many remained hopeful that the hiatus would be brief, the writings on the wall were pretty clear — One Direction was over. Payne's debut solo album "LP1" came with some brutal reviews and revelations in interviews that weren't just shocking but also incredibly shady. If you haven't kept up with this X-Factor alum, no need to fret. Here are a few eyebrow raising moments that have shown Liam Payne's shady side.

Throwing Zayn Malik under the bus

While in One Direction, Zayn Malik and Liam Payne seemed to be the closest in the group. Their close friendship even resulted in fans nicknaming the bromance "Ziam." However, when Malik made the earth-shattering decision in 2015 to quit the group, Payne was the most vocal about his displeasure. 

In 2017, after Malik revealed the mental and physical toll the grueling One Direction schedule took on him, Payne publicly dismissed it. ​​"One Direction was a wonderful, wonderful time in all of our lives. It was like uni, but on steroids. It was mad. It was madness. It was so much fun," he said in an interview with Dan Wootton (Via Teen Vogue). "I don't understand how you can come out of that experience and say the things that he says sometimes." After Payne expressed confusion about Malik's struggles in the band, he then revealed months later that he too struggled with mental health while in One Direction. The "Strip That Down" singer explained to The Telegraph that during the height of 1D, he began drinking too much and struggled with anxiety. 

The shade against Malik didn't stop there. While appearing on Logan Paul's "Impaulsive" podcast in 2022, Payne took aim at Malik's relationship with Gigi Hadid and his upbringing. Payne seemed to make light of Malik's alleged altercation with Yolanda Hadid and alluded to Malik's own parents being unsupportive of him. "Your only hope is that, at some point in their life, the person on the other end of the phone wants to receive the help you're willing to give," he said about his former friend.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

Taking jabs at Harry Styles' career

As the remaining members of One Direction kicked off their solo endeavors in 2016, they each expressed how supportive they were of each other. In 2017 when asked for thoughts on Harry Styles' and Niall Horan's solo music careers, Liam Payne didn't hold back. He told Music Choice that Horan's debut songs were "really cool" but described Styles' "Sign of The Times" as not his cup of tea. "It's not my sort of music so it's not something I would listen to ... That's the way I'd put it best," he said. Ouch.

Outside of music, Styles is known for his eccentric fashion. Since going solo, he's made a splash with outfits that has Vogue raving about him. However, Payne has made it known he's not much of a fan. In an interview with The Face, the singer implied that his former bandmate has drastically changed from his One Direction days to the point where he feels like a stranger. "I don't know what more I'd say to him other than, ​'Hello' and ​'How are you?'" I mean, look at the stuff I put out, and the stuff Harry puts out. Polar opposite. I'm like the antichrist version of what Harry is," he answered. 

Payne's jabs at Styles' fashion taste didn't end there. When asked in a radio interview which band member he'd let babysit, Payne passed on selecting Styles. "I couldn't rely on Harry 'cos I feel like my child would come out dressed in something that I just wouldn't understand," he answered (via Glamour Magazine).

Taking time away from his son

Liam Payne welcoming a child in 2017 with singer Cheryl Cole shocked fans everywhere. In 2020, his approach to fatherhood made headlines. Payne revealed to Tings Magazine that he made a decision to take time away from his son. "But we discussed from the start and for different reasons, me and Cheryl decided I should be away for a little bit," he explained. "It's not unusual for me to be in and out of his life. He's quite a chill child. He doesn't worry about things too much." When quotes from the interview went viral Payne was slammed as an absent father. 

He took to his Instagram and called out "clickbait" articles and accused them of twisting his words. "Usually I let these things slide but this is completely out of context," he wrote on a screenshot of a headline. "I couldn't see my son because of the worldwide pandemic that is happening not because I had anything wrong with me like this headline hints at." Payne wasn't the only one unhappy with his interviews going viral. The Mirror reported that Cheryl Cole was left feeling upset and embarrassed after Payne went into too much detail about her birthing experience on the "Impaulsive" podcast in 2022. The source claimed she was not a fan of his oversharing and had a serious discussion with him about privacy boundaries.

He admitted to hating bandmate Louis Tomlinson

In his headline-making 2022 interview with Logan Paul, Liam Payne not only took aim at Zayn Malik, but also bandmate Louis Tomlinson. On the "Impaulsive" podcast Payne revealed that he and Tomlinson were total opposites who butted heads frequently. 

"Louis was wild and he wanted to be wild — that's his spirit," he said. "He's my best mate now, but in the band, we hated each other. Like, to come to blows hate each other, it was close." Payne even described one moment when he and another unnamed bandmate almost came to blows backstage. "There was one moment where there was an argument backstage and one member, in particular, threw me up a wall. So I said to him, 'If you don't remove those hands, there's a high likelihood you'll never use them again.'" 

These tense moments were never documented in the group's backstage documentaries like "This Is Us" and "Where We Are," but we certainly would've like to see it.

He claimed he was the reason that One Direction was formed

While airing out all the One Direction dirty laundry to Logan Paul on the "Impaulsive" podcast, Liam Payne also revealed what he considers the true origin story of the group. Payne alleges that Simon Cowell formed the group around him first. Payne had initially auditioned for X Factor at 14 years old and Cowell eventually booted him off but not before making a promise to Payne that in two years he'll help him make it big. 

"Simon was like, 'I'm really sorry I had to let you go ... but you have to go and get your education and come back," Payne explained. Two years later, Payne returned and before facing elimination again, Cowell selected him and four other boys to form a group. "So he kind of started with my face and worked out around the rest. I've never told this story before. I was the honorary member of One Direction. He told me this story himself," he explained.

Payne even declared himself the most successful solo artist from the group. When speaking on his first solo single "Strip That Down", he made another claim that confused people. "We did the first song [and it had] a billion streams. I think it outsold everybody within the band and I was the last to go, and I never expected that," Payne said. Fans later pulled out the receipts and Payne in fact did not outsell the others. Sorry, but the numbers don't lie.

His shady tweet about Justin Bieber

This pop star beef has since been squashed, but Liam Payne and Justin Bieber had a shady back and forth that went on for years. The drama between the two singers started after Payne made reference to Bieber's past arrest in a Twitter spat with a fan. In 2015, a Belieber tweeted at Payne to let him know that he will never be more successful than the "Baby" singer. Payne responded, "How many times have I been arrested." 

In 2015, Bieber struck back against One Direction on Snapchat. As Bieber and One Direction prepared to drop albums on the same day, the rivalry sparked up again. Bieber posted a picture of him making a scared face on Snapchat and wrote, "The face you make when you come out with an album the same day as Justin Bieber." (Via MTV). 

In 2019, Payne explained to the Mirror that the long-standing beef between the two was put to rest after they spoke one-on-one and cleared the air. We're not sure if we'll get a collab between these two but when asked about a potential boxing match, Payne shut it down. He told Logan Paul on "Impaulsive," "I don't think he would do it," and suggested that Bieber was not up to par.

The random Boy George Twitter feud

After a run-in with Liam Payne at the 2013 Brit Awards, singer Boy George blasted him on Twitter claiming he was rude to him and his niece. "Top marks to Harry Styles for stopping for a picture with my niece and Bo**ox's to Liam and the disrespectful w**ker of a minder!" he tweeted (via Cosmopolitan UK). Payne responded back with a string of tweets defending himself writing, "Now now boy lets not tell porkies. Firstly thanks for getting my name wrong three times, then asking me where is liam?...awkward. Then when you finally got it right saying you wanted Niall instead." He also took aim at George's style and wrote, "Can I borrow a hat and make up for next Halloween I'd love to look as scary as you." 

One Direction fans launched into attack mode and swarmed Boy George's mentions defending their pop idol. However, not all love was lost. In 2019, Payne appeared on "Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen" and explained the misunderstanding. He revealed that the two have since made up and have laughed about their infamous Twitter feud.

The controversial lyrics fans weren't too happy about

Following the success of his debut single "Strip That Down", Liam Payne was eager to replicate the success of a pop song with a raunchy twist. However his follow-up song "Both Ways" was more of a miss than a hit. The song features Payne singing about getting intimate with a bisexual partner. Fans were not too happy with lyrics like, "Lovin' the way she's turning you on, switching the lanes like a Bugatti Sport." They immediately called out the star on Twitter for lyrics that they believed fetishized bisexuality. The title of the song also caught flack. One fan wrote, "Can we talk about how not only is both ways gross for the way it treats bisexual women as sex objects but also the fact that the phrase liking 'both ways' is a completely outdated and offensive way to describe being bisexual #liampayneisoverparty." 

Payne later addressed the controversy and apologized for the offensive lyrics. In an interview with Daily Star, the singer said, "I am sorry to anyone who got offended by certain songs or different things on the album for sure. It was never my intention with any of the writing or things I was doing." Payne went on to say that he's felt pressured to continue singing racy lyrics after the success of songs like "Strip That Down." "I'd say the new music will be less sexy. I think I passed my time on that one anyway," he explained. "The music I am looking at now is a lot different."

He allegedly cheated on his fiancée

As a boyband member, Liam Payne is used to breaking hearts. His most recent relationship with Maya Henry got off to a publicized start. Henry was allegedly only 18 years old when the pair began dating — a claim that Payne and his team heavily refuted. In 2020, Payne confirmed that the two were engaged in an interview on Good Morning America. The relationship seemed to be going well until April 2022 when news broke that the two decided to break off their engagement. 

Just two days later, Payne was seen with a new girl on his arm and chaos unused. As fans began bombarding Henry with questions, she was forced to issue a response. Underneath an Instagram photo of Payne and his new girlfriend Aliana Mawla, she wrote, "I love all of the fans so much but please stop sending me these pictures of my fiancé wrapped around another woman. This is not me and it's hard enough knowing this has happened without seeing it. Enough now." This only fueled rumors that Payne was caught cheating on her with Mawla. After the story went viral, a rep for Mawla spoke with E! News and denied that there was any overlap in the two relationships. Mawla and Payne are still going strong, while Henry continues to throw shade at her ex-fiancé on TikTok.