2016 is almost over, which means we’ve bravely survived One Direction’s hiatus for almost a year (although it didn’t “officially” start until March of this year).
A whole lot has happened in the months since the boys decided to take a break. While Niall Horan recently told British paper the Sunday People that One Direction “will be back,” confirming rumors that the band’s extended break will not be permanent, the singers have all been pursuing their own exciting projects … including fatherhood (!) for Liam Payne, PEOPLE confirms.
Here’s what the gang has been up to:
Styles kicked off 2016 by taking a romantic vacation with Kendall Jenner, and thus, sending the Internet into a complete and total tailspin. After months of speculation as to whether or not #Hendall was the real deal, Selena Gomez claimed that Jenner was “not single,” and Khloé Kardashian claimed they were just “hanging out.” Sadly, Hendall wasn’t long for this world — Jenner was reported to be dating L.A. Lakers player Jordan Clarkson in March.
After his Caribbean vacation, it was right back to work for Styles. In May, filming began on his newest project, the upcoming Christopher Nolan WWII epic Dunkirk. He was spotted on the French set of the film wearing a British Army officer uniform.
Oh, and did we mention that he cut his famously long locks for the part?
Harry sent fans into yet another frenzy when Billboard reported that he had officially signed his first solo contract. What does this mean for the future of 1D? We don’t know just yet … but like everyone else, we have a lot of feelings about it.
In November, musician Robbie Williams revealed that Styles and Bruno Mars might be collaborating on new music.
“Last year I tried to work with Bruno Mars — didn’t hear anything back,” Williams told the Radio Times. “Tried to work with Max Martin — didn’t hear anything back. They literally didn’t return my calls.Then I met Harry Styles in an airport. ‘Oh, you’re writing, Harry? Great, who with?’ He goes: ‘Well, I just spent a week with Bruno Mars, and I’m about to spend a week with Max Martin.’ ”
Styles isn’t the only one with a possible solo career on the horizon: In January 2016, Payne posted a snippet of a new song he wrote “just for fun,” which got fans excited for the potential of more original music.
And it seemed like that was exactly what they were getting in April, when a song called “You” appeared online, with Liam’s vocals featured alongside Wiz Khalifa and Juicy J. However, Payne quickly made it clear that the song was just a demo, and that it wasn’t a real single, just “something I get up to on a weekend.”
What he did confirm, however, was his new relationship with U.K. The X Factor judge and pop star Cheryl. The couple reportedly hit it off when Payne returned to the X Factor for One Direction’s final performance before the break, and the news of their relationship went public in February. (There were … let’s call them mixed responses from Directioners.)
The couple made their red carpet debut in May, when Cheryl was awarded a Global Gift Philanthropist Award at the Global Gift Gala.
They’re pretty much more in love than any of us will ever be.
In October, Payne announced that he had signed a solo deal with Republic Records, making him the second member of One Direction to officially embark on a solo career.
Payne has offered fans a glimpse of what his solo music might sound like, thanks to his Big Payno electronic remixes of popular songs and a few snippets that he’s previewed on Instagram. In April, his vocals appeared on the song “You” by Juicy J, although he quickly revealed that his part came from a demo he had been working on, and not from a project intended for release.
He has also kept fans updated on his rock-hard abs:
Payne’s latest project? Fatherhood!
While the couple has yet to announce the pregnancy, Cheryl let her baby belly do the talking when the two stepped out for the St. James Christmas Carol Concert in London.
What’s the big thing that Louis has done in 2016? Oh, just become a father, NBD.
Tomlinson and Briana Jungwirth welcomed son Freddie Reign on Jan. 21. Since the birth, Louis has embraced fatherhood, posting plenty of adorable photos of his bundle of joy on Instagram.
In February, he and Payne reunited at the 2016 BRIT Awards to accept Best Video for “Drag Me Down” and thank the fans for their support.
He’s also spent plenty of his break relaxing with his girlfriend, Danielle Campbell, and his friends, and traveling all over the world, from Las Vegas to Monte Carlo.
Horan’s hiatus has been dedicated to two of his greatest loves: sports and charity events. No, seriously — we’d estimate that a solid 90 percent of his hiatus has been spent on a golf course, working on his swing. (For the record, he’s also spent quite a bit of time on the soccer field.)
In May, Horan teamed up with pro golfer Justin Rose to host a charity event raising awareness and funding for Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens. The event featured both a pro-a golf tournament and a gala dinner, where Horan performed alongside Olly Murs.
Later that month, songwriter Wayne Hector told The Daily Star that he and Horan had been in the studio, writing plenty of new songs, although “Niall wants to do it for himself and not other people at the moment. We have no idea where we’ll end up.”
John Newman also dropped hints about Horans’s time in the studio, telling PEOPLE in July, “I was having a text back and forth with Niall Horan the other night about some ideas, which is cool.” Also in July, The Sun reported that Horan was getting ready to sign a solo deal with Capitol Records U.S., despite the fact that Simon Cowell had told PEOPLE not much earlier that he expected “to announce something soon” with Niall.
In between studio sessions, Horan also launched Modest! Golf Management, a division of Modest Management that focuses on scouting and representing up-and-coming British and Irish golfers. Because there truly is nobody in this world who loves golf more than Horan does.
On Sept. 29, Horan released his first single, “This Town,” on Vevo. “Been workin in the studio, wanted to share this song I just wrote with u guys,” he wrote on Instagram. “Thank you for always being there.”
At the American Music Awards on Nov. 20, Horan performed “This Town” with former bandmate, Zayn Malik, in the crowd.
But for Directioners still waiting for a reunion, there’s hope! Horan told British paper the Sunday People that One Direction “will be back. We would be silly not to … ridiculous,” seemingly confirming rumors that the band’s extended break will not be permanent.