Pop star Liam Payne has spoken for the first time about the “horrible anxiety” that dogged him over appearing in public.
The former One Direction singer struggled with an extreme fear of leaving his home and still sometimes finds it difficult.
Payne, 25, told Esquire Middle East his agoraphobia was triggered by “knowing that you might be photographed” on any trip outside – even to the shops or petrol station.
He said: “I don’t think I struggle in the sense of what you would naturally think of when I’m walking down the street with every person stopping me.
“I mean, it happens sometimes but it’s mainly mentally where you struggle with it. It’s the getting ready and always knowing that you might be photographed.
“I developed a bit of agoraphobia. I would never leave the house. 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.”
Payne, who shares two-year-old son Bear with pop star Cheryl, said he had had to “get over it” as quickly as he could.
The For You singer added: “I’d be going in 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***, I don’t want to be here’.
“I even used to have a really bad problem with going to petrol 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’.
“Unfortunately, it does happen to everybody in this industry. I think at a certain point you just have to get over it as quickly as you can.”
Read the full interview in Esquire Middle East.