During a recent appearance on Table Manners with Jessie Ware, the 26-year-old singer opened up about the "mega stressful" time in the boy band, who went on an extended hiatus in 2015.
"It was really scary at first," Payne said of the band breaking up. "But I needed to stop, definitely. It would have killed me. One hundred percent."
According to Payne, at the height of its popularity, the band -- which also included Niall Horan, Harry Styles, Zayn Malik and Louis Tomlinson -- "was going through this really crazy circumstance that you just completely lost control of."
"There's no stop button. You've got no control over your life. That's why I lost complete control of everything," he said. "... We were definitely overworked... I had no personal life. I learned nothing about myself."
"I remember getting to therapy the one time and the guy was like, 'What do you like to do?' [And I said,] 'I don't know. I haven't got a clue,'" Payne added.
Throughout the band's success, Payne revealed that he "learned to become a recluse" in order to hide out from the paparazzi and fans.
"That was life. And then once you're in that pattern, patterns are dangerous because you just get stuck in it," he said. "... I just lived so long as this reclusive pop star who was afraid of people, who just stayed inside all the time."
Part of his reasoning for staying out of the public eye came from his relationship with Cheryl Tweedy, with whom he welcomed a son, Bear, in 2017.
"I think, around each other, we kind of rubbed off on each other a little bit in that way. In a bad way, actually," he said. "It was neither of our faults because we've both been through so many circumstances, but all of that stuff puts so much pressure on a relationship."
Now though, Payne can't but help but gush over his "awesome" 2-year-old son, as well as his new relationship with his current girlfriend, Maya Henry.
"I'm the happiest I've ever been," he said. "It took a long time to get to this place and I'm glad that I'm at this stage of my life now."