July 14, 2015 04:59 PM

Denise Truscello/WireImage

Louis Tomlinson‘s life is headed in a new direction: He’s going to be a dad.

The One Direction hearthrob is expecting a baby with Los Angeles-based stylist Briana Jungwirth.

“Louis is happy and very excited about becoming a dad and he thinks Briana will be an amazing mother. It was a surprise at first, but he and Briana are very, very close friends and this has brought them even closer,” a mutual friend of the two tells PEOPLE.

The British boy band member and Jungwirth, both 23, met through mutual friends earlier this year after his split from longterm girlfriend Eleanor Calder in March and were spotted on a number of dates in May.

Tomlinson has vowed to be at Jungwirth’s side and to be a “hands-on dad” when the baby arrives early next year, according to the friend.

With Briana - AKM-GSI

He has even been looking for L.A. properties near Jungwirth, and has flown across the world to be by her side for every ultrasound so far.

Says the friend: “Louis and Briana care about each other very much and have spent a lot of time together privately over the last few months.

“They are both really happy and although they aren’t in a relationship, their friendship is extremely strong and they are both really excited about the baby. It’s early days and Briana and the baby’s health are the most important things right now.”

Adds the pal, “Briana is a really lovely girl; she’s absolutely not interested in Louis’ fame. She’s very private and most of the time they spend together is out of the public eye, just hanging out with their friends.”

In fact, Jungwirth had never even been to a One Direction concert until recently.

One Direction - AKM-GSI

The couple’s moms and stepdads are delighted and met for the first time in L.A. over the July 4 holiday weekend, when Tomlinson’s mom Johannah and stepfather Dan flew in for the occasion.

The families “really hit it off when they met,” says the friend. “They are all excited and totally supportive.”

For Johannah, it will be her first grandchild. She gave birth to twins Ernest and Doris in February 2014 — meaning Tomlinson has had plenty of practice with diapers!

Johannah, a mom of seven, has grown close to Jungwirth over the past few months, the friend says.

“Johannah is a midwife, so she’s been able to give advice and has been a great source of support for Briana.”

With ex Eleanor - Danny Martindale/WireImage

While Tomlinson’s family may be growing, One Direction recently downsized when member Zayn Malik called it quits in March.

Despite the temporary turmoil, Tomlinson insisted the group had no plans on breaking up. “We’re having too much fun!” the singer, who has also started his own record label, said in May.

For April Fool’s Day 2012, Tomlinson had Tweeted, “Can’t believe I’m going to be a Dad! Wow!!” Three years later, the Tweet has proved prophetic.

With Briana - AKM-GSI

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