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Quaran-teen Idol Niall Horan reveals he 'wouldn't leave the house' during height of One Direction fame

He said his backpacking trip to Asia after his time in One Direction helped him realize he could live a relatively normal life.


Niall Horan

Niall Horan

Niall Horan

Niall Horan has revealed how the last year of lockdown has been the most normal year of his life since he was catapulted to superstardom at the age of 16.

In a new podcast with Dermot O’Leary, People Just People, also told how a backpacking trip with his Irish cousins helped him readjust to normal life after the intense fame of One Direction.

The Mullingar singer, who is known for his down-to-earth nature, revealed he didn’t tend to leave his house much at the peak of the popularity of the boyband.

"There would be times where, for a couple of years in the middle, I'd say maybe 2012 and 2013, when it was at the biggest, I wouldn't leave the house," he told the podcast.

"I wouldn’t go to the shop for myself just in case because what happens is one person takes a photo then it's like 'Who's that over there? Why are they taking that photo?’ and before you know it it's game on.

"So there were a couple of years where I would overthink it and that's not me at all. [I] wouldn’t go to the pub or if I was going to the pub, it would be scarves and hats and glasses."

He said he struggled at times during the five years with being unable to leave his hotel room during tours because of thousands of fans outside their hotels.

"The thoughts of just closing my curtains in the hotel room was madness to me.

"I really struggled with the idea of, 'Why won't you just let us out? We just want to go for a walk!' But you can't get inside the brain of a fan.

"Now I completely get it, but at the time you're like, 'You're our age, will you just let us out so we can walk down the street!'"


Niall Horan (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for iHeartMedia )

Niall Horan (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for iHeartMedia )

Niall Horan (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for iHeartMedia )

He remembers touring South America but not being able to see a single city in the continent.

"It was amazing at the same time. There are standout moments for me looking out onto Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro just seeing like thousands outside the hotel for you."

But he said his backpacking trip to Asia after his time in One Direction helped him realize he could live a relatively normal life.

"We just started in Indonesia and went Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, the Philippines all that stuff.

"It definitely gave me a sense of freedom because I was nervous about going on the trip that I [wasn't] going to be able to walk the streets, [that] everywhere I go no matter how I disguise myself I'm not gonna get away with it, and actually it was a lot easier than I thought. After that, I kind of realised actually I can do a lot more than that I thought I could."

He also told the X Factor presenter how he nearly pulled the launch of his second album which came out last year at the start of the pandemic.

"I was over in the [US] doing a week on The Late Late Show with James [Corden], the week my album was coming out.

"I remember Trump came on saying he was closing the border to Europe, so I flew back to the UK. Just as he was on the TV [I was] like we need to pull the album but the album was minutes from coming out in Australia.

"I wanted to cancel it but then when would I have released it? So hard to know. Hopefully when I get to tour again all those songs will be on the set."

Niall also told how he always tells people the Emmy-winning series Normal People is the most realistic depiction of growing up in Ireland.

He said: "If you want to know what it's like to grow up in rural Ireland that's exactly what it is.

"I know so many people [with] the whole Gaelic football thing and the school and the uniforms even look similar. Normal People was a good reference for that. It was a great show.”

He joked in the People, Just People podcast on Audible that he still gets embarrassed at his X Factor audition at 16 in Dublin.

And he said Katy Perry still reminds him she was the one who pushed to get him through as she was a guest judge during his audition.

"Katy Perry was a judge that day. She still says it to me now. I see her every now and then you know, and she'll always say, 'you know you didn't let me down'.

"She was the one who let me through, Cheryl said no to me, Louis got me though and Simon said you're not as good as you think you are.

He told the People, Just People podcast he remembers packing his suitcase after the show and never fully returning home again.

"[It was] a very strange turn of events. We literally packed a suitcase in September and moved into the X Factor house and literally never came back.

"We were lucky Simon really wanted to push, I think no one knew how big actually it was going to get. It's hard to put your finger on it."

He said he has been penning new music in lockdown after he had to cancel his planned tour last year.

"It's a shame really but there are worse things going on in the world, the least I can do is sit down at a piano and try to write a few songs.

"I've learned more about myself this year. I'm obviously in a privileged position and I know that too well but I have definitely lived the most normal life I've had for ten years."

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