One Direction's Liam Payne Reveals He Had a 'Pretty Bad Drinking Stage,' Addresses 'Larry' Rumors

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One Direction is far getting further and further away from the squeaky clean image they once were associated with.

The British boy band has had some pretty intense drama this year between Zayn Malik leaving the band in March, and the news that Louis Tomlinson is going to be a father, and now Liam Payne is admitting that he once took his partying days a little too far.

"I'm not afraid to say that I actually went through a pretty bad [drinking] stage," the handsome 22-year-old tellsAttitude magazine, covering their October 2015 issue after being crowned the Sexiest Man of the Year. "And for that time in my life, that was perfect for me. I mean, you're away from home and that can get hard. Also there were a lot of things on my mind and that's what helped me through."

WATCH: One Direction Reportedly Taking Extended Hiatus in March 2016

He's since stopped drinking and "lost a bunch of weight," and says he's a lot more focused these days.

"I feel good to be out of that zone and be more concentrated," he says. "There were a just a few times that I went over the limit with things and then I had to pull it back."

Attitude Magazine

As for One Direction's highly publicized "extended hiatus" starting in March 2016  -- which has plenty of fans worrying if it will be permanent -- Liam insists that this isn't the case.

"It's been five years and it's time to take a well-earned break," he explains. "Of course, we'll work together again; we're not splitting up. We're just having some time out."

However, he doesn't rule out the possibility of going solo.

"If the right song comes along and I think I should sing it, then I will release it as a solo artist," he says. "If the other boys go solo I would love to write songs for them."

This is a far cry from what the 1D boys told ET in November 2013, when they insisted they would never perform solo. "I think I'd be scared. It's nice having other people on stage to kind of interact with and vibe off," Liam said at the time. "You can take a little break here and there, which is nice."

"We wouldn't; we're a group," Harry Styles echoed.

Attitude Magazine

Speaking of the ever-popular Harry, if there's one thing that gets to the laid-back Liam, it's all those "Larry" rumors -- fan speculation that his bandmates Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson are involved in a romantic relationship.

"When the law changed in the U.S., there were loads of rainbow flags flying at our shows, but I think that was mainly because people think of the Louis and Harry thing, which is absolutely nuts and drives me mad," he says bluntly. "It's like when you know the ins and outs of what is going on with people it's just annoying when it's so stupid. It becomes like a conspiracy or like a cult, the people who watch them and think that every move they make is a gesture toward them being together, and I know it's just not true and it makes me mad."

Though Liam did show his support for the LGBT community in the candid chat. "A lot of my friends are gay and I don't think anything about it. I actually find it funny that being gay is still something that's talked about as though it's not natural," he muses. "I mean, I don't go around saying, 'Oh, this guy is gay.' I don't make a big deal about it. I will just say, 'This is my mate.' My mates are my mates, regardless of their sexuality."

"It's strange to me that countries are still refusing to pass the [equal marriage] law. You can't live in the past, you have to move with the times," he adds.

When it comes to his own love life, he's more than happy with his girlfriend, Sophia Smith. The two have even talked marriage.

"We have talked about marriage, but 22 seems a bit young for us," he says, which is sure to break the hearts of 1D fans everywhere. "Sophia needs to go off and do what she wants to do. I don't want her to be one of those stay-at-home girlfriends who doesn’t really do much."

But did Liam get a little too real in his first solo interview? After fans criticized him for his anti-"Larry" comments, he took to Twitter on Thursday to write, "It's funny I thought people appreciated honesty these days."

WATCH: Lance Bass Claims Harry Styles Has Been Ready to Leave One Direction 'for Many Months'

Last month, Liam was under fire for what some fans saw as homophobic comments on stage. "I am in no way shape or form homophobic, that's a ridiculous thing to say and I'm not here to offend people so take it as you will," he responded. Watch below:

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