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Harry Styles - Biography

"You're never going to get used to walking into a room and having people scream at you," says Harry Styles. 

Harry Styles - Biography© Anthony Pham
Updated: June 14, 2023
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Even those who have never heard of One Direction are probably still familiar Harry Styles. The 29-year-old is one of the biggest musicians in the world, having headlined Coachella in 2022 and performed a sold out global tour.

When was Harry Styles born?

Harry Edward Styles was born on February 1, 1994, in Evesham, Worcestershire. When he was seven, his parents divorced and Harry and his older sister Gemma were brought up in the beautiful village of Holmes Chapel, Cheshire, by their mum Anne.

"That was a really weird time," he later recalled. "I remember crying about it. I didn't really get what was going on properly. I was just sad that my parents wouldn't be together anymore".

Harry has remained incredibly close to his mum, who happily went on to remarry. "Sometimes, he phones up to five times a day," she has said. "When there’s a time difference, he tends to text saying, ‘I love you, Mum,’ or ‘I miss you’. He’s still my little boy.”

Was Harry Styles on X Factor?

Before his life changed forever on The X Factor Harry had already developed a keen interest in music as the lead singer of a school band called White Eskimo.  But by the time the X Factor auditions came round in 2010, Harry, then 16, had just finished his GCSE exams, and planned to return to college in September to study law, sociology and business – but, of course, that was not to be.

Joined by his supportive mum, stepfather Robin and sister, Harry auditioned as a solo act for the hit show, singing 'Isn't She Lovely' by Stevie Wonder. He impressed two of the three judges  – Nicole Scherzinger and Simon Cowell and made it through to the next round. Like his future band mates, Harry failed to progress into the category for solo males though, and his X Factor dream appeared all but over. 

But then guest judge Nicole suggested putting five of the 'rejects' into a band. The rest, as they say, is history. 

Was Harry Styles in One Direction?

It was Harry who came up with the name One Direction, and just two weeks after they were put together, the boys performed their first song as a group – an acoustic version of Torn. They were an instant hit with the British public and ended up finishing in third place.

Immediately after The X Factor, Harry signed up to Simon's Syco Records label, along with the four other hopefuls - Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson. In September 2011, the boys released their debut single, What Makes You Beautiful. It entered the UK charts at No. 1 as the most pre-ordered Sony Music Entertainment single in history.

It was by no means the last record they would set. After signing with Columbia Records in the States, 1D released the track in America in February 2012 – and their domination of the US began.

Their first album, Up All Night, was released globally at the start of 2012. It became the UK's fastest-selling debut album and topped the charts in 16 countries – including the US. One Direction had become the first British group in US chart history to enter at number one with a debut album, securing their place in the Guinness Book of World Records. 

In the years after, they were unstoppable – they have sold 7.6 million albums and 26 million singles in the US, becoming one of the best-selling boy bands of all time with seven Brit Awards, seven American Music Awards, six Billboard Music Awards, and four MTV Video Music Awards.

They went on indefinite hiatus in 2016.

Is Harry Styles a solo act?

Harry released his first solo single, 'Sign of the Times,' in 2017 and in May of that year debuted his self-titled first album. He released his second, Fine Line, in 2019 and his third, Harry's House in 2022. Harry's House won  Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album at the 65th Grammy Awards, and Album of the Year at 43rd Brit Awards.

Who is Harry Styles dating?

Making almost as many headlines as the band was Harry himself. Towards the end of 2011 Harry, then 17, began dating Xtra Factor host Caroline Flack, some 15 years  his senior. The couple ignored the criticism and were together for about three months before splitting up in January 2012. Harry spoke out on Twitter to refute claims that he was the one who ended relationship. 

"Please know I didn't 'dump' Caroline," he tweeted. "This was a mutual decision. She is one of the kindest, sweetest people I know. Please respect that."

Nevertheless, his reputation as a ladies' man was established and since then the tattooed star has been romantically linked to a host of beautiful women, from Cara Delevingne and Rita Ora to Made in Chelsea's Caggie Dunlop and actress Emily Atack.

At the end of 2012, Harry began stepping out with pop princess Taylor Swift. The high-profile couple went public with their romance in November, and their relationship very quickly progressed. For Taylor's 23rd birthday – on December 13 – Harry whisked her off to Cheshire to meet his family and enjoy a mini break in the Lake District. 

The lovebirds jetted to New York for New Year's Eve, followed by a holiday together in the Caribbean but it was there their romance abruptly ended.

From 2017 to 2018, the singer was in a relationship with French-American model Camille Rowe, and from January 2021 to November 2022, he was in a relationship with actress and director Olivia Wilde.

 What films has Harry Styles been in?

Harry is also an accomplished actor, making his debut in Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk in 2017. He made his Marvel debut in Eternals, in a post-credits scene, and also appeared in Don't Worry Darling, and My Policeman.

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