"[I wanted to say], 'We just want to walk down the street. You must understand,'" he told Dermot O'Leary during his appearance on People, Just People

By Darlene Aderoju
March 25, 2021 03:40 PM
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Niall Horan is reflecting on the moments he felt trapped by the persistence of superfans throughout his boy band days in One Direction.

In Tuesday's episode of People, Just People with British host Dermot O'Leary, the star, 27, revealed that he sometimes felt "like a prisoner" during his time with the group (which included fellow members Harry Styles, 27, Zayn Malik, 28, Louis Tomlinson, 29, and Liam Payne, also 27).

Though the group did not win during their time competing on Simon Cowell's singing competition The X Factor, they became an international sensation in 2011 after appearing on the show.

But their popularity attracted thousands of intrusive fans who often invaded their privacy during press tours and other occasions.

"I struggled with the idea of, 'Why won't you just let us out?'" he says of the instances in which fans would be "banging on car windows [before we could get out of the vehicle]. [I was thinking], 'We just want to go for a walk,' you know?"

Niall Horan arriving at the Brit Awards 2020
Niall Horan
| Credit: Ian West/PA Images via Getty

"But, you can't get inside the brain of a fan and now I completely get it, but at the time, you're like, 'You're our age. Just let us out.'" he told the host, 47. "[I wanted to say], 'We just want to walk down the street. You must understand.'"

Horan went on to detail his experience during One Direction's first all-stadium tour, Where We Are, which was international and spanned from April 25, 2014 to Oct. 5, 2014.

"[I vividly recall being in] all these amazing cities, but not being able to see them [because fans would surround our hotel]."

The band could not enjoy the simple pleasures of sightseeing or grabbing a bite in public because fans would intrude.

"The police had done a headcount and there were 10,000 people in the street the whole time," said the star.

Liam Payne (L) and Harry Styles
One Direction
| Credit: Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Though it was not enjoyable for Horan, and likely his mates, to feel trapped because of One Direction's aggressive superfan base, it's no surprise that music listeners were so drawn to the quintet. One Direction released six top 10 hits on Billboard's Hot 100 chart and a total of 29 fan-favorites that earned a spot on the list.

In 2012, their album Up All Night peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and remained on the list for 105 weeks.

Since their disbandment in August 2015, Horan, Styles, Malik, Tomlinson and Payne have each released solo projects.