ICYMI, Here's What One Direction Was Up to in 2016

When we last saw the boys of One Direction together, they were ripping fans' hearts out with an emotional performance of their last single, "History," on an episode of The X Factor in December 2015. The song (which is about the fans, for the fans, I don't care what anyone else thinks or says) was the perfect pick as the last hurrah for the group before they embarked on their hiatus. If you haven't heard the song or seen the video, check it out and cry along with me before we continue.

I want One Direction forever, but I will support their solo ventures if it comes to that.

At the end of 2015, the boys fed us promises of only going their separate ways for a little while to explore what life has to offer outside the One Direction machine, but I couldn't help but be torn in my emotions. I want them to have a much-deserved break. I want them to do what makes them happy. I want One Direction forever, but I will support their solo ventures if it comes to that. And guess what, pals, it has come to that. We've got three confirmed solo record deals at this point, and, who knows, we could end up with four when all is said and done.

The boys have been busy in 2016. They've been busy doing what they want to do, like vacationing and spending time with friends and even dabbling in some acting. So if you thought that when One Direction parted ways last December that that would be the last you saw of them, you were sorely mistaken. Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, and Niall Horan are firmly planted in the entertainment industry and made some major moves this year. Scroll through to see the highlights from the past year, but keep a weather eye out for a One Direction reunion down the line. I don't think these boys are done just yet.

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Harry rang in the New Year and the hiatus on a private yacht with friends and family — including bestie and future manager Jeff Azoff and pal Kendall Jenner — in St. Barts.

Niall started the hiatus strong by giving us a selfie. Of all the boys, he has remained the most in contact with the fans, and we thank him for that.

Louis also shared an Instagram selfie early in the hiatus. Lucky for us, he continued to give us these selfies throughout the year.

Louis officially became a dad when his little guy, Freddie Reign, was born Jan. 21.


Harry, who stayed very quiet across social media this year, made dreams and wishes come true on his 22nd birthday when he tweeted these highly appropriate Taylor Swift lyrics.

Getty | Larry Busacca

Harry was spotted at a pre-Grammys party honoring industry icon Irving Azoff.

While prepping for the Brit Awards, Liam dropped this ab-selfie Instagram on us and caused the internet to have a minor meltdown. Way to start the year with a bang, Liam.

Getty | Mike Marsland

Louis's and Liam's first official red carpet outing since the hiatus began was at the Brits in London. They accepted the British video award for One Direction's song "Drag Me Down" on behalf of the whole group.

Getty | Mark Robert Milan


Liam and new girlfriend Cheryl Cole were papped together for the first time in early March. They apparently started dating right around when the group went on hiatus.

In a bid to sway fans from thinking about the Z word (this was exactly one year since Zayn Malik left the band, and the day he released his solo album), Niall joined Snapchat.


Boy band worlds collided when Niall played golf with Justin Timberlake. It was a lot to handle.


Niall shares a lot with the fans, which I personally am thankful for. On this day, he Instagrammed a photo from his giant closet, but the best part about it is that you can see a One Direction poster plaque hanging on the wall behind him. Bless him.

Harry chopped off his luscious locks and donated his ponytail to Little Princess Trust. He cut it to donate and also to prepare for his upcoming movie role. While I was excited by the prospect of short-haired Harry, I was devastated by the death of his man bun.


After announcing that both Niall and Louis would take part in Soccer Aid, the boys enjoyed a bit of Twitter banter, filling fans' hearts with hope and reminding us all how sassy the boys are.

Getty | Ben A. Pruchnie

Louis made a very, very attractive solo appearance at Formula One in Monaco.

Getty | Alex Livesey


Louis and Niall played in the Soccer Aid match in Manchester, England. The charity soccer match, which benefits UNICEF, included celebrities and soccer legends. Louis and the England team played against the Rest of the World team, which included Niall.

Harry was the first of the boys to sign a solo record deal. His deal is a huge payout, unsurprisingly. Even more unsurprisingly, this is when fans started to doubt the 1D hiatus would end any time soon.

Getty | Karwai Tang


Niall loves sports. He loves sports maybe even more than he loves One Direction. He attended a lot of high-profile sporting events this year, including this outing at Wimbledon with Late Late Show executive producer and close friend Ben Winston. Not pictured in this highlight reel: approximately 37 million social media posts about golf.


Louis appeared as a guest judge on America's Got Talent, following in the footsteps of Simon Cowell, who has been behind One Direction all along and seems to still be a mentor for Louis.

Liam was the second of the boys to get a solo deal when he signed with Capitol UK.


Harry took on his first acting role as a soldier in Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk, which will hit theaters in July 2017. During filming, Harry debuted his shorter hair, which I find to be acceptable.


Louis posted one of the handful of Instagrams with Freddie that melted hearts everywhere.

Liam changed his Twitter and Instagram usernames to @LiamPayne on both. Previously, his Twitter was @Real_Liam_Payne and his Instagram was @FakeLiamPayne. This change was the end of an era for the fans.


Harry posted three photos back to back to back on Instagram of his solo magazine cover debut on Another Man. The magazine also included an interview by Paul McCartney and Chelsea Handler, a piece written by Harry's sister, snippets from Harry himself, and several photos.

Niall officially locked in a solo record deal with Capitol, giving the group three solo record deals for this hiatus.

Seemingly out of nowhere, Niall dropped his debut solo single "This Town" on the world on the same day his record deal was announced. "This Town" went on to hit No. 25 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 9 on the UK Singles Chart.


Each of the other boys tweeted their support to Niall on his song, proving to the world that they still have each other's backs and are still friends.

Getty | David M. Benett


Harry cohosted the launch party for Another Man magazine's Winter issue with his sister, Gemma. Please take note of his fingernails being painted black, which was my favorite part of his entire ensemble, followed closely by his velvet boots.

Liam shared several hints throughout the year of what music he's working on and who with, one of artists being Pharrell.

Liam tweeted he had officially signed a US record deal with Republic Records.

Getty | David M. Benett

Loving older brother Louis made the trip back to the UK to celebrate his younger sister Lottie's makeup launch.

Niall embarked on a mini press tour to promote "This Town," hitting up radio stations and late-night shows, including visiting good friend James Corden on The Late Late Show.

Liam teased us with a snippet of some music he'd been working on, leading most to believe that his solo work will be very different from what One Direction did.


Harry went to Meghan Trainor's birthday party and hung out with Ansel Elgort and Suki Waterhouse, but I really just needed to post a picture of how Harry's hair is looking these days while he grows it out. I may have had my reservations about his short hair, but this mop that he has going on right now is maybe the best thing I've ever seen.

Shawn Mendes has not been shy about praising Niall and saying how much he'd like to work with him, so Niall made Shawn's dreams (and mine, to be honest) come true when they hung out after the AMAs and had a bit of a jam session.


Liam and Cheryl stepped out in London for a Christmas concert in late November, and fans were quick to spot a noticeable baby bump on Cheryl. Neither Liam nor Cheryl has confirmed any baby news yet, but it looks like Freddie Tomlinson might have a baby Payne to play with in a few months.

Getty | Dave J Hogan


In early December, Louis's mom, Johannah, died after a nearly yearlong battle with leukemia.

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Just three days after his mom died, Louis fulfilled her dying wish by performing his brand-new song with Steve Aoki called "Just Hold On" on the X Factor stage. It was an emotional night overall, but Louis had his whole family, his friends, and the other three members of One Direction by his side for support.

All Year

Louis is a man of many talents. He doesn't just write, sing, and play daddy to Freddie. He also started a record label imprint of Simon Cowell's Syco label, and Louis has spent the year working with a girl band he recently signed.

See what I mean about staying in contact? This year more than ever, Niall interacted with fans on Twitter, posted countless Instagrams and Snapchats, and even did video Q&As. The fans would be lost without him.