Liam Payne appeared on Logan Paul’s Impaulsive podcast this week to spill some serious tea on the one member of One Direction he absolutely could not stand, as well as his former group’s beef with Justin Bieber and why he simply cannot stand beside former 1D bandmate Zayn Malik.
The singer opened up about a lot of things, including revealing what he said was the true 1D origin story, which started with his rejection on X-Factor two years before the group was formed on the show. Payne described his dejection upon being booted out of the top 24 in 2008 and how he and his mum had dinner with show co-creator Simon Cowell afterwards, at which the notoriously acerbic judge told Liam that he had the talent but needed to return to school and mature before getting his real shot at fame.
More from Billboard
“We got kicked off, all of us, and then me and Niall [Horan] were about to get the train in Houston and this woman came running behind us and was like, ‘Yo, please come back, the judges want to speak to you,” he said. “And they’d already done this to me once, so I was like, ‘What the… are you gonna mess with my emotions some more? I’m already crazy enough thank you very much.'”
He said the show’s producers picked out the members of the band — as well as piecing together a girl band — “and from what I’ve heard is that part of the reason One Direction was made was because of Simon’s promise to me that in 2 years I’ll make this work for you,” Payne revealed. “So he kind of started with my face and worked around the rest… I was the honorary member of One Direction and he told me that story himself at his house.”
To be fair, Payne, 28, said the X-Factor team made the right choices in picking the other members, but because he wasn’t a “rowdy guy,” Liam said he was a bit surprised at first at how wild the other guys were. “In particular a couple of them [were rowdy], yeah… Louis [Tomlinson] was wild and he wanted to be wild and that’s his spirit and also he’s my best mate now, but in the band we hated each other.”
How deep was the hate? Payne said they nearly came to blows. Liam said he made it crystal clear early on that he was not to be messed with and described an argument backstage early on with an unnamed bandmate who “threw me up a wall.” Payne said he responded by saying, “‘If you don’t remove those hands there’s a high likelihood you’ll never use them again.'” And while he didn’t reveal which bandmate laid hands on him, Payne said the other Directioner removed them quickly.
When Paul discussed the time his brother Jake had a run-in with Malik — whom Payne jokingly referred to as “Wayne Malik” — over what Jake thought was a disrespectful interaction, Logan said following a tweet from Jake, Malik was “screaming in his hotel room because the rooms were right next to each other.” Logan thought that Jake and Zayn were about to come to blows, and then Malik’s then-girlfriend Gigi Hadid got in on the action and dragged Jake in a tweet.
“She said ‘get yourself a respectful man or something’… yeah, that one didn’t age very well,” Payne said with a laugh about the former couple. But before things got too heated, Payne said there are “many reasons” why he dislikes Malik, but also “many reasons” why he’ll “always, always” be on his side.
“If I had had to go through what he went through… through his growth and whatever else… my parents are overly supportive to the point where it’s annoying at times… and Zayn had a different upbringing in that sense,” he said cryptically. “You can always look at the man for where he is and say, ‘oh yeah, whatever that guy’s a dick, right?’ But at the end of the day once you understand what he’s been through to get to that point and also whether or not he actually wanted to be there… I can’t sit here and dick on him because of whatever and listen, I don’t agree with any of his actions. I can’t commend some of the things that he’s done. I can’t be on his side for that.”
While Payne did not get into specifics about which actions he was referring to, he added that he does understand and hope that “at some point in their life the person on the other end of the phone wants to receive the help that your’e willing to give them.” A spokesperson for Malik had not returned a request for comment at press time.
As for 1D’s notorious beef with Bieber, Payne explained that he used to go back to the hotel after gigs and get “absolutely wasted” while playing the drinking game “Ring of Fire.” One night he was on Instagram Live and someone compared him to JB and he went off. “And I wasn’t even meaning to offend him, I wanted to offend them [the person who posted]… and I was like, ‘the only thing between me and him is I haven’t been arrested.”
Payne said that began a war of words that turned into tension whenever 1D and Bieber would appear at awards shows together. With the boys in his trailer getting a bit rowdy at one particular awards show, Payne decided to defuse the situation and go say hello to Justin and they had a nice chat. “He’d grown as a person [at that point] and it was sitting with him and having that conversation and I was like, ‘Dude, I’ve always felt for you.’ I said, ‘Number one, I’ve done all the things you’ve done and I’ve never been caught for any of them.'”
Secondly, he told Bieber that he’s always had a soft spot for Justin and that they all “suffer from the same disease,” but in his case he had his bandmates on his left and right to help him get through rough times. “‘And I know in your camp you’re you and there’s no one like you, so you can’t turn around and have that shoulder,'” Payne said. “And he was like, ‘Bro, that’s giving me chills.'” For the record, when the crew tried to goad Payne into saying who would win in a fight, Liam said Bieber can “totally hold his own.”
Watch the interview below.