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Liam Payne - Biography

Former One Direction singer Liam Payne first auditioned for The X Factor when he was just 14...  

liam payne © Photo: Getty Images
Chloe Best
Lifestyle Features Editor
Updated: June 22, 2023
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"There's one awful gig that always sticks in my mind, I filled in for Lee Ryan doing The Sunshine Festival in Rhyl. It was raining," says Liam Payne. "I played for ten people for £50. That had to be my worst gig — that was the last straw. I was like, ‘I’m not doing this any more dad, I don’t want to’."

Three years later, he was walking out on the stage in front of a sold-out Madison Square Gardens crowd. It's just as well he decided to give The X Factor one more try…

Liam Payne's childhood

Liam was born on 29 August 1993 in Wolverhampton, West Midlands. When he was very young, he was diagnosed with a scarred and dysfunctional kidney and had to take painkilling injections every morning. Amazingly in 2012, Liam – who is tee-total because of his health problems – was surprised to find that both kidneys were now firing on all cylinders. "Just been for an ultrasound on my kidney, turns out its fixed from when I was a baby!!" he told fans on Twitter. "So now I have two :) #weirdnewsoftheday".

As a child Liam was picked on, and he turned to boxing as a way of defending himself. "I was, at 12-years-old, fighting the 38-year-old trainer. I broke my nose, had a perforated eardrum and I was always coming home with a bruised, puffy face," he recalled. "But it gave me confidence. I got pretty good over the next couple of years."

liam payne at an Emporio Armani event
Liam Payne was selected to join One Direction after auditioning on the X Factor

X Factor and One Direction success

In 2008, when he was 14, Liam auditioned for the fifth series of The X Factor. His rendition of Fly Me To The Moon impressed both Cheryl Cole and Louis Walsh, but Simon Cowell was initially unsure, saying there was "something not quite right, there's about 20 per cent missing". Liam's reply "Well, give me another audition and I'll show you that 20 percent" made the judges smile and got him through to the next round. But he was eventually rejected by Simon, who told him to come back in two years time.

He did just that. Having pursued his music career in the meantime including that disastrous gig in Rhyl – Liam returned for series seven of the show. This time he sang Cry me A River, and received a standing ovation from the audience and Simon. Again he made it through the initial stages, only to be rejected as a solo act. Liam's dreams of stardom seemed all but over until guest judge Nicole Scherzinger threw him a lifeline. 

one direction © Getty Images
One Direction achieved global success

Along with four other 'rejects' Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Zayn Malik and Niall Horan he was invited to form a band, and One Direction was born. The boys were an instant hit, eventually finishing the show in third place. Immediately afterwards they signed to Simon's Syco record label.In September 2011, they were ready to unveil their first single, What Makes You Beautiful, which entered the charts at number one.

 The following year their first album Up All Night became the UK's fastest-selling debut album and topped the charts in 16 countries, including the States. Incredibly, One Direction had become the first British group in US chart history to enter at No.1 with a debut album. After that they proved unstoppable picking up Brit and MTV Music awards, embarking on huge tours and performing at the London 2012 Olympics.

When Zayn Malik quit the band in 2015, the band vowed to continue as a four-piece, but just five months later they announced a hiatus – and have yet to reunite since. The group have since pursued their own solo careers, and Liam released his debut solo album, LP1, in 2019.

Liam Payne's relationship history

cheryl and Liam Payne at a red carpet event© Photo: Getty Images
Liam and Cheryl are parents to a son named Bear

Liam dated back-up dancer Danielle Peazer for two years after meeting her on the X Factor, before embarking on a two-year relationship with his old school friend Sophia Smith.

Liam's most high-profile relationship followed in 2016, when he revealed that he was dating former X Factor judge Cheryl. They welcomed their son Bear together in 2017 but confirmed that they had split in June 2018.

The former One Direction singer has since been engaged to Maya Henry, and has most recently been linked to influencer Kate Cassidy.

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