Harry Styles Says Therapy Helps Him Feel 'More Alive' After Thinking It Meant 'You Were Broken'

Harry Styles also opened up to Better Homes & Gardens about Billie Eilish's rise to fame

Harry Styles Reveals How Therapy Helped Him
Harry Styles. Photo: Tim Walker for Better Homes & Gardens

As a songwriter, Harry Styles is used to looking inward — but getting reflective with the help of a therapist was a different story.

The "As It Was" singer opened up about tending to his mental health in an extended digital version of his Better Homes & Gardens June cover story, explaining that he started therapy about five years ago after some coaxing.

"I thought it meant that you were broken," he explained. "I wanted to be the one who could say I didn't need it."

Alas, Styles, 28, said that meeting with a therapist has allowed him to "open up rooms" in himself he was unaware existed, and can now feel things more honestly after "emotionally coast[ing]" through life before.

"I think that accepting living, being happy, hurting in the extremes, that is the most alive you can be," he said. "Losing it crying, losing it laughing—there's no way, I don't think, to feel more alive than that."

Harry Styles Reveals How Therapy Helped Him
Harry Styles. Tim Walker for Better Homes & Gardens

As part of the extended story, the Grammy winner also weighed in on the parallels between his teenage rise to fame with One Direction and that of pop star Billie Eilish, who was just 15 when she released her debut single "Ocean Eyes."

While Styles said he was proud of Eilish, now 20, and happy for her, her success also stirred complicated feelings in him that forced him to grapple with his place in the industry as he grew older.

"She was so much younger than I am, and, when I was in the band, we were always the young guys. When I did my first solo thing, I was still like the young guy," he said. "I'm not like an old man now, but she's just a different generation."

"You can't win music. It's not like Formula One," he continued. "I was like, in my lifetime, there will be 10 more people who burst onto the scene in that way, and I'm only going to get further away from being the young thing. So, get comfortable with finding something else that makes you happy. I just found that so liberating."

Harry Styles Better Homes and Gardens Cover
Harry Styles. Tim Walker

Elsewhere in the interview, which is on newsstands May 13, the "Watermelon Sugar" singer addressed his feelings on leaving One Direction in 2015, and said it had been ingrained in him that in order to be successful, he had to be likable and well-behaved.

"In lockdown, I started processing a lot of stuff that happened when I was in the band," he said, noting that he was encouraged to give much of himself away in order "to get people to engage with you, to like you."

Styles explained that cleanliness clauses included in his One Direction contracts spooked him into being on his best behavior at all times – and when he finally went solo and signed a new contract that did not include such terms, he burst into tears.

"I felt free," he said.

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With his fears of not being taken seriously as a musician no longer clouding his decision-making, Styles said he's eagerly awaiting the release of his upcoming third album Harry's House on May 20, as it's the first time he doesn't feel as though "my life is over if this album isn't a commercial success."

The star announced a new leg of his Love on Tour arena tour last week, which will bring him to five different cities to play 30 shows total this fall.

He also recently announced two One Night Only shows, in New York and London, in which he'll play Harry's House in its entirety, before he begins additional worldwide Love on Tour dates in June.

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