Pop star Liam Payne was crippled by severe bouts of agoraphobia as One Direction rose to superstardom.
The Strip That Down hitmaker admits he has suffered with anxiety issues for years, but the condition reached its peak during his early days of fame, and would leave him sweating profusely on the few occasions when he dared to venture out in public.
“I would never leave the house,” he tells Esquire Middle East. “And I do sometimes suffer with it a bit in the sense that I’ll get days where I just don’t want to leave my house. Even if it’s just going to the shop. I’d be going to order a coffee at Starbucks and I would sweat because I wouldn’t know whether I was doing the right thing or not. I would be thinking, ‘F**k, I don’t want to be here’.
“I even used to have a really bad problem with going to petrol (gas) stations and paying for petrol. I can feel it now – it was like this horrible anxiety where I’d be sweating buckets in the car thinking, ‘I don’t want to do this’.”
Liam eventually found ways to manage his anxiety, but it’s only now, as he continues to pursue his solo career, that he is learning to feel more comfortable in his own skin, instead of using fashion as a mask.
“My style and my fashion sense are all quite laid back now because that’s kind of the way I am as well,” he explained. “I don’t feel the need to hide behind the clothes anymore. I feel I can finally be who I am and enjoy myself.”