The love life/sexuality of One Direction’s Harry Styles, 18, has become a hotly debated topic among One Direction fans. The debate has been raging all over the Internet, and it’s undoubtedly the most-discussed topic about One Direction’s personal lives. Many fans believe Styles is heterosexual, while others think he is a closeted gay or bisexual who is in love with One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson, who is 20 years old. Fans who believe that Styles and Tomlinson are in a secret romance have said that Styles has dropped many hints that he is in love with Tomlinson. They cite these hints as “proof” that Styles and Tomlinson are lovers. (More on those “hints” later.)
For the record, Tomlinson has adamantly denied that he and Styles are lovers. Tomlinson has been dating University of Manchester student Eleanor Calder, 20, since late 2011. Tomlinson has publicly declared his love for her many times (especially on Twitter and in interviews), and he says he is a “one-woman man.”
Meanwhile, Styles has neither confirmed nor denied in interviews if he is gay, bisexual, bi-curious or in a romantic relationship with Tomlinson. When Styles is asked about any of these things in interviews, he laughs off the question and avoids answering it directly with a confirmation or denial.
Whether Styles and Tomlinson’s relationship is platonic or romantic, One Direction fans have taken to calling the relationship “Larry Stylinson.”
Here are the facts that are indisputable:
Styles, Tomlinson and the other guys in One Direction (Liam Payne, Niall Horan and Zayn Malik) met when they were contestants on “The X Factor” U.K. in 2010. They all originally auditioned as solo singers, but they were rejected as solo singers and then put together in a group by “The X Factor” executive producer Simon Cowell and other “X Factor” decision makers.
One Direction came in third place on “The X Factor” U.K. in 2010. Cowell signed the group to Syco Music, the record company that he owns with Sony Music. One Direction has since become the biggest global act to emerge from “The X Factor.” The group has had No. 1 hits and sold-out tours in several countries. One Direction is also making millions in merchandising, since there is a plethora of One Direction products that are available or are about to go on sale.
After One Direction formed and the group members relocated to London, Styles and Tomlinson lived together in a London apartment building until 2012, when they each bought separate homes in London. There were reports as late as 2011 that Styles and Tomlinson would often share a hotel room, even though the members of One Direction could afford to stay in different hotel rooms.
In 2011, when Tomlinson and Styles were still living together, Tomlinson said in an interview with The Sun: “The worst thing about living with Harry is the constant stream of women he is getting through our door. It’s relentless.”
The members of One Direction have described Styles as the group’s biggest flirt/ladies’ man. He has been romantically linked to several women, but since Styles has became famous, his most steady relationship with a woman has been with “The Xtra Factor” co-host Caroline Flack, who is 15 years older than Styles. They dated from October 2011 to January 2012. Styles said on Twitter that his breakup with Flack was a “mutual decision.”
Now, what about those “hints” that many fans say Styles has been displaying to show that he is in love with Tomlinson?
Most fans who believe there is a Larry Stylinson romance point to the body language and eye contact that Styles and Tomlinson have when they are together. There are many fan-made Larry Stylinson videos that have footage edited together that can be interpreted in different ways.
One of the biggest so-called hints is that Styles once wore a “Harry [Heart Symbol] Louis” T-shirt at a One Direction book signing in Manchester, England, on March 7, 2011. Many fans who believe there is a Larry Stylinson romance say that straight guys would not wear that kind of T-shirt about a platonic best friend. However, those who think that Larry Stylinson is just a friendship say that it is possible for straight guys to have non-sexual “man crushes” on each other, and Styles was expressing that kind of admiration by wearing this T-shirt with this bold message.
Speaking of crushes, there is another piece of “evidence” that the Larry Stylinson romance believers have cited as an example of that the romance is real: In a Sugarscape video interview that was posted on the Internet in February 2011, Styles is asked about his first crush. He said, “My first real crush was Louis Tomlinson.” The interviewer then asked, “How does he feel about you?” Styles replied, “It’s mutual. We discussed it.” Many fans think that Styles was joking, while other fans believe he was not.
Ever since One Direction hit it big in America in 2012, Styles has become much more guarded when he talks to the media about his love life. He has been known to make denials that contradict what he has said and done earlier.
For example, when paparazzi photos surfaced in April 2012 of Styles and model Emma Ostilly bar hopping and kissing romantically in New Zealand, Styles later denied in an interview that he was in the bar in question and denied that he was on a date with Ostilly, despite many eyewitness reports that he was.
Styles also famously told the media, “I love cougars” (women who date much younger men), and he has said in interviews that he is open to dating women who are up to his mother’s age. After One Direction’s U.S. breakthrough, Styles backtracked and said in a May 2012 interview with The Sun when talking about his love life: “I don’t know where the cougar thing came from, to be honest. I don’t know why people got that impression.”
But a One Direction interview in the September 2012 issue of Tiger Beat seems to drop another “hint” for those who want to believe that Styles is in love with Tomlinson. In the article, Styles denied that he gets jealous of the people who are Tomlinson’s “crushes.” But the article then says that Styles later admitted privately to Tiger Beat that yes, he does get jealous of Tomlinson’s “crushes.” Again, this jealousy admission is debatable as “proof” of gay romantic feelings for a friend of the same sex.
And could this be another “hint”? Many Larry Stylinson romance believers point out that Styles does not follow Tomlinson’s girlfriend Calder on Twitter. They say it is “proof” that Styles does not want to be Calder’s friend and that he is probably jealous of her. Other people believe that this is not proof of anything.
There have been blind items in gossip media that many people think are about Styles and Tomlinson.
This item appeared on the Blind Gossip website in April 2012:
If they were on a singing competition show, you would call them a Male Vocal Group. We prefer the term Boy Band. The group’s image determines their commercial success, and each member of the group is assigned a particular stereotype (such as The Bad Boy or The Baby or The Nice One) so that the band will have the widest possible appeal. There is a Boy Band consisting of beautiful young men that currently has young girls across the country screaming with admiration and desire. Their public image is wholesome. However, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes that belies that image. For example, there’s one member of the group whose moniker could be The Gay One. That’s right. Your teen daughter may be swooning right now over someone who isn’t even interested in her gender. Oh, and there’s another member of the group who wouldn’t be interested in your daughter. His moniker could be… The Other Gay One. Yes, that’s right, two gay young men in one popular group. (Although one does have a beard to maintain that desirable image). And here’s the most interesting part of all: the two boys are sleeping with each other. Don’t tell your teen daughter. You don’t want her up all night crying because her mean parent destroyed her illusion. Besides, you eventually got over The Osmonds/ Menudo/ The Backstreet Boys, didn’t you?
[NOTE: A “beard” is slang for someone who is used by a closeted gay or bisexual person to pretend to be in a heterosexual relationship. If Tomlinson is a closeted gay man, then Calder would be his “beard.”]
This item appeared on the Popbitch website in July 2012:
“Which member of One Direction seems to want to be such a prolific shagger that access to much of UK’s female population might not be enough for him? Some photos of him have been floating around on Gaydar.”
Styles and Tomlinson are self-described “mama’s boys.” What do their mothers have to say about the gay rumors? Styles’ mother (Anne Cox) hasn’t publicly commented, but in an April 2012 interview with Sugarscape, Tomlinson’s mother (Johana “Jay” Tomlinson) talked about her son’s close relationship with Styles: “They definitely do have a really strong bond. It’s not a fabricated thing, it’s not contrived. It’s not something that they thought they’d try and do and see if they could get any mileage out of it. They’re like brothers. They genuinely respect and love each other. At Christmas they had three days off from each other as a band, but Louis was on the phone to H seeing what he was doing. Before then he was even saying, ‘Should we all go away at Christmas with H and Anne, as I might miss him?’ So they definitely do have a bromance – you heard it here!”
So what does all this mean for One Direction fans who want to know who Styles is dating, his sexual preference and other details about his love life? (And let’s face it: Styles’ “heartthrob image” is one of the main reasons why One Direction is so popular, whether people want to admit it or not.) It means that as long as Styles plays guessing games about his love life, he will continue to have a mystique that some people think is annoying but other people think is attractive. It’s a waste of time to lecture people to not be interested in the love lives of One Direction because the interest and curiosity will be there, especially since One Direction has millions of devoted fans, and many of those fans have a crush on at least one guy in the group.