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One Direction rumoured to split early next year

Split: The boys are set to pack it in... for now
Split: The boys are set to pack it in... for now

One Direction are set to break up in March, according to a report in The Sun.

The boy band and teen idol sensations - featuring Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson and Niall Horan - are set to part company for a year because they want to focus on solo projects.

A 1D source told The Sun: "The guys have been together for five years, which is an incredible run for any boyband.

"They fully deserve to have at least a year to work on their own projects. There is absolutely no bad blood between them and they are all 100 per cent behind the decision.

"It is definitely not a split and they fully intend to get back together at some time in the future."

There is not to be a tour for the band's fifth album and the shock news could mean their last full concert will be at Sheffield's Motorpoint Arena on October 31.

Millions of fans may still get the chance to see their heartthrobs as a string of TV spots and performances which are already pencilled in before the end of the year are still likely to go ahead, it was claimed.

The boys are to have a break over the festive period before getting back together to complete their promotional commitments for their record label in February, according to The Sun.

The plan had been on the cards "with or without Zayn" Malik, who left the group in March, according to an unnamed source who spoke to the tabloid.

The source claimed: "Of course they would have preferred that he had stayed in the band, but they would have taken this extended hiatus even if he hadn't left."

It is believed the break and the decision not to tour was rubber-stamped in a meeting in London last weekend.

It means they could each take their money-spinning careers on very different journeys in talks that could get under way within weeks.

There is "a lot of interest" in Styles from Hollywood, Tomlinson is "very much in contention to be a judge on X Factor" next year and all of them are now faced with "a massive amount of options", according to the source.

It seems that Payne may want to fine-tune his songwriting, producing and DJ skills rather than a solo career, according to the report.

In March the band spoke out to quash rumours they were set to split up in the wake of Malik's departure.

The band vowed to continue as a four-piece after Malik's shock departure, which he said was so he could live like a "normal" 22-year-old.

A flood of reports then suggested the group were on the verge of breaking up but Payne thanked their devoted fans who are known as "Directioners" for sticking with the band and "not thinking it's finished".

He tweeted: "I can see a lot of people thanking us for staying but you're the real Heros (sic) here thanks for not thinking it's finished."

Bradford-born Malik quit after having been "signed off with stress". It came amid reports he had cheated on his then-fiance and Little Mix singer Perrie Edwards. The couple have since split up.

Malik is believed to be working on a solo album with acclaimed music producer Naughty Boy, who has worked with a string of hit-makers including Emeli Sande, Cheryl Cole and Leona Lewis.