Inside Louis Tomlinson's Relationship With Harry Styles Today

Once upon a time, One Direction was the boyband. The five core members auditioned for the hit talent show "The X Factor" individually in 2010, before joining forces to become the group that skyrocketed into a household name. And while the talented stars ultimately finished in third place in the British music competition, the success of One Direction more than speaks for itself.

However, after five years together and four successful studio albums, it was announced on Facebook that Zayn Malik would be leaving One Direction, in 2015 (via Us Weekly). This was the beginning of the end for the English-Irish boyband and a chapter that fans remember all too well. After Malik's shock announcement, it only took a few months for the rest of the band to announce that they would be taking an "extended hiatus." 

The news that One Direction was no more shattered hearts across the world, but the talented singers all have solo careers now and have continued making music individually. While the beloved group hasn't performed together since their initial break-up, that hasn't kept the former bandmates from speaking about each other in interviews over the years, per Insider. While the majority of the gossip surrounds Malik, there's also been some interesting scuttlebutt about the relationship between Louis Tomlinson and Harry Styles

While their relationship may be complicated, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson remain friends

There's no denying that One Direction was beloved in its entirety, but naturally, fans still had their favorites. In an interview with The Guardian, Louis Tomlinson opened up about being an underdog in the group and what it felt like to be seen as "forgettable, to a certain degree." Every other bandmate seemed to have their own It factor, except for him. For example, Tomlinson described Harry Styles as someone who always came across "very cool." 

When comparing their now solo careers, and finding notable songwriters to collaborate with, Tomlinson admitted "Harry won't struggle with any of that." However, despite the inevitable competition that has emerged between the former bandmates, there has been no notable feuding between Styles and Tomlinson. In fact, quite the opposite. As noted by Elite Daily, their tight-knit friendship led fans to speculate that the two were romantic partners. 

This upset Tomlinson, who was dating Eleanor Calder at the time. "It created this atmosphere between the two of us where everyone was looking to everything we did," Tomlinson argued. Despite the dating conspiracies and career competition, the two remain friends. Tomlinson told "Hits Radio Breakfast" in 2019 that he had "not seen Harry for a while" but had "been in contact with him." "It's proper nice. Proper nice," Tomlinson added (via Pinkvilla).

Louis Tomlinson isn't as close with Harry Styles as he is with other 1D members

According to Seventeen, of the five One Direction members, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson had the most instant connection when the band first formed back in 2010. Sadly, that friendship did not stand the test of time over the years. In an interview with The Sun, Tomlinson revealed that he is not as close with Styles as he is with Liam Payne and Niall Horan. "There's no politics or anything," Tomlinson clarified. "Inevitably in a band, you're going to get some people who get on really well and some people who get on quite well."

There are several factors that may have led to the tragic downfall of Styles and Tomlinson's BFF status. For one, the Harry and Louis relationship theory, also known as "Larry Stylinson," drove a wedge between the duo. According to Republic World, "Larry" conspiracy theories began when 1D first became a band. Over the years, the "Larry" fanfare persisted amongst Directioners, who spurred on the rumors through fan fiction and social media.

Tomlinson even told The Sun that the strain from the "Larry" shippers was indeed one reason why he and Styles inevitably grew apart. "It took away the vibe you get off anyone. It made everything, I think on both fences, a little bit more unapproachable," Tomlinson shared. "I think it shows that it was never anything real if I can use that word."

Louis Tomlinson claims that 1D parted ways because of Harry Styles

Another obstacle in Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson's friendship? Both former 1D members had very differing opinions on whether the band should have stayed together in the first place. According to The Sun, while Louis Tomlinson was heartbroken when One Direction decided to part ways, the band did so because "It's what Harry wanted." To make matters worse, what was initially supposed to be a temporary hiatus for the band slowly turned into a permanent split. 

"I could feel that potentially it was going to be a break," Tomlinson recalled. "What was difficult was trying to understand how long that might be." The conversations surrounding the future of One Direction inevitably led to awkwardness and tension between the various group members. Tomlinson described the process as "an uncomfortable time more than anything."

He elaborated, "You're asking guys who have grown up being best friends to make selfish decisions, which they should do, based on themselves. But it doesn't change the fact that it was difficult for me to accept at first." Despite Tomlinson's hesitancy to move on from One Direction, he now sees that it was the right move. "If you asked me now if I think it's the wrong decision, I don't think it was," Tomlinson confirmed. 

Louis admitted to being jealous, but still considers Harry 'a brother'

As the years have gone by, Louis Tomlinson has seemingly been working through his feelings on former bandmate and rumored lover Harry Styles in real time. During a 2022 interview with The Telegraph, he acknowledged that watching Styles almost immediately shoot to super-stardom following One Direction's 2016 breakup was incredibly tough. "I'd be lying if I said it didn't bother me at first," Tomlinson said. "Only 'cos I didn't know where to place myself, and really my only point of reference was other members of the band." 

However, the former boyband star also noted, "But it's not surprising to me that Harry's the most commercially successful because he really fits the mold of a modern star." Especially since, as Tomlinson pointed out, the Grammy winner is also a burgeoning actor, with starring roles in the likes of "Don't Worry Darling" and "My Policeman." All that and a world tour, which makes Tomlinson immensely proud of a man he still considers "a brother." 

As he admitted, "It took me a while to work out where I stand." The One Direction alum took two years between solo records, wanting to perfect the song-writing above all else, which was something he worked on with One Direction too. The entire band remains very supportive of each other's success regardless, with Tomlinson explaining, "Because we've lived through such experiences together in One Direction, this bond that we have is for life."