From One Direction to 5 new paths: What Zayn Malik, Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Niall Horan and Liam Payne have planned for 2021

As Zayn Malik releases his latest album, we check in with what the former members of the boy band have been up to since they split

BURBANK, CA - NOVEMBER 22:  (L-R) Musicians Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, and Harry Styles of the band One Direction during the "One Direction iHeartRadio Album Release Party" hosted by Ryan Seacrest at the iHeartRadio Theater Los Angeles – Clear Channel's new music and events venue located at The Burbank Studios in Burbank, CA  (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Clear Channel)
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Zayn Malik's latest album release has been as low-key as his personal life over the past few months. Releasing Nobody Is Listening on January 15 with no promotion, interviews or fanfare, Malik's uneasy relationship with fame looks set to continue into 2021, as the new dad remains squirrelled away with Gigi Hadid and their baby daughter on the Hadid family farm in Pennsylvania.

And while Harry Styles garners three Grammy nominations and a new film role, and Liam Payne celebrates his recent engagement, we check in with the One Direction boys to see how each is faring, and what we can expect from them this year…

Zayn Malik

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 28: Recording artist Zayn Malik attends the 60th Annual GRAMMY Awards at Madison Square Garden on January 28, 2018 in New York City.   Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images/AFP
Zayn Malik has become a father and released two albums since quitting One Direction. AFP

The first member of the group to quit, Malik famously left the band back in March 2015, announcing that he wanted to "relax and have some private time out of the spotlight". In November that year, he told Beats 1 Beats 1 (now called Apple Music 1): "I think I always wanted to go, from the first year, really ... I never really wanted to be there in the band."

His third album Nobody Is Listening is a follow-up to 2016's Mind of Mine, which debuted at number one in the US, the first time a British male solo artiste's debut album achieved such a feat, and 2018's Icarus Falls.

Between album releases, the 28-year-old dabbled in the fashion world. In January 2017 he released The Giuseppe for Zayn capsule collection, a shoe line with Italian footwear designer Giuseppe Zanotti comprising two boots and two trainers. In September 2018, he designed a backpack line for The Kooples.

The singer's personal life, meanwhile, included a major development last year. Welcoming a baby girl with girlfriend Gigi Hadid in September 2020, the singer took to Twitter to say: “The love I feel for this tiny human is beyond my understanding.”

Harry Styles

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 18: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Harry Styles attends The BRIT Awards 2020 at The O2 Arena on February 18, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Joe Maher/Getty Images for Bauer Media)
Grammy nominations and film roles have been stacking up for Harry Styles in his post-1D career. Getty Images

Making music and headlines is all in a day's work for arguably the most successful former member of the group. After the boy band officially went on hiatus in March 2016, Styles enjoyed a busy 2017, releasing his self-titled debut solo album and appearing to critical acclaim in Christopher Nolan's Oscar-winning Dunkirk.

Recently earning three Grammy nominations for his second album, 2019's Fine Line – which debuted at number one in the US and was listed among Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time last year – Styles, 26, also became the first man to appear on the cover of Vogue in December 2020.

In January, he went public with his new romance with Hollywood actress and director Olivia Wilde, and is set to appear on the big screen later in 2021 in her new film, Don't Worry Darling.

Louis Tomlinson

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 06: Louis Tomlinson attends the World Premiere of "Liam Gallagher: As It Was" at Alexandra Palace on June 06, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)
Louis Tomlinson returned to reality television after One Direction split. Getty Images

The 29-year-old was the first member of the band to become a father, causing a collective fan meltdown when he and ex-girlfriend, Briana Jungwirth, welcomed their son Freddie Reign in January 2016.

Although he hasn't made the kind of impact as a solo artist in the ways Malik and Styles have, he's consistently been releasing new music since December 2016 when he collaborated with American DJ Steve Aoki on the track Just Hold On.

Another collaboration, Back To You with Bebe Rexha, followed in July 2017, reaching number 8 in the UK. However, his next two tracks reached only 99 and 39 in the charts.

Returning to his reality show roots, he joined the judging panel for the 15th series of The X Factor in 2018, going on to win the show as a mentor. His debut album, Walls, came out in January 2020, however, the pandemic put paid to a tour. Most recently he held a digital concert, Live from London, on December 12, 2020, selling more than 160,000 tickets and breaking records as the most live-streamed concert for a male solo artist for 2020.

Niall Horan

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 18: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Niall Horan attends The BRIT Awards 2020 at The O2 Arena on February 18, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
Irish singer Niall Horan has admitted he lives a much more 'normal life' since One Direction went on indefinite hiatus. Getty Images

The Irish star was the first member of One Direction to release a solo single, debuting This Town in September 2016 from his album, Flicker. He followed up with the hit Slow Hands in May 2017.

Not content with sticking with music, the 27-year-old branched out into business, launching golf management company Modest! Golf in February 2016, with the company celebrating when one of their signings, Italian golfer Guido Migliozzi, won the Kenyan Open in March 2019.

He released his second album, Heartbreak Weather in March 2020, which debuted at number four on the US Billboard 200 and at number one in the UK. In a recent Instagram Q&A, when asked if he missed leading a normal life, Horan replied: "I live a relatively normal life in comparison to what it was like six years ago maybe."

And as to whether there’s any new music on the cards, as well as expressing a desire to work with Taylor Swift, Horan shared: “Just figuring it all out currently. Don’t know if it’s an album I’m making … I’m just writing lots and seeing what happens.”

Liam Payne

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 07: Liam Payne attends Capital's Jingle Bell Ball 2019 with SEAT at The O2 Arena on December 07, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
Liam Payne continues to make music, and recently got engaged to model Maya Henry. Getty Images

Post-1D, the 27-year-old kept himself in the headlines thanks to a relationship with former Girls Aloud singer Cheryl Tweedy, with the pair welcoming a son, Bear, in March 2017. He announced his engagement to model Maya Henry, 20, in September last year, telling Good Morning America: "We're just really happy."

Payne enjoyed a huge hit back in May 2017 with Strip That Down, his first release since One Direction went on indefinite hiatus, and the track went platinum in both the UK and US. He made it to UAE shores, performing at Global Village in Dubai on March 30, 2018 in front of more than 100,000 people, and followed up with his debut album, LP1, in December 2019.

Following in both Styles and Malik's footsteps, Payne stuck his toe into fashion waters, becoming the first global brand ambassador for Hugo Boss and releasing the Hugo x Liam Payne capsule collection in July 2020. Most recently, he teamed up with TikTok star Dixie D'Amelio to release the Christmas single, Naughty List.


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