One Direction singer Liam Payne has opened up about his experience as part of one of the biggest boy bands of all time, revealing that the overwhelming pressure of being a young star led him to abuse alcohol.

Speaking to Men’s Health Australia, Payne admitted that he felt lonely during his time in the band.

“When you’re doing hundreds and hundreds of [concerts] and it’s the same 22 songs at the same time every single day, even if you’re not happy, you’ve got to go out there,” he said.

“It’s almost like putting the Disney costume on before you step up on stage, and underneath the Disney costume, I was pissed quite a lot of the time because there was no other way to get your head around what was going on. I mean, it was fun. We had an absolute blast, but there were certain parts of it where it just got a little bit toxic.”

He goes on to admit that he still deals with those dark feelings even to this day.

“I still struggle with it now,” he said. “I really struggle to say no because I don’t like to let people down. It’s in my nature.”

Thankfully, Liam said he’s “out of that scenario” and “back into a sense of normality” again, and he hopes other people going through the same thing will also overcome their struggle.

“It’s difficult when you have the level of fame that we had in the band,” he said.

“There have been a lot of people in trouble with mental health that aren’t really getting the help they need, and I think that’s a bit of a problem in our industry. It’s the same shit that happens to everyone, that’s been happening since the ’70s. You know what the traps are, and if you are lucky enough, like me, to be able to get out of that scenario and back into a sense of normality, then you know it’s a bit different.”

If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol abuse, please call the Alcohol Drug Information Service.

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