July 2020 will mark the 10-year-anniversary of Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, and Louis Tomlinson coming together to form One Direction on The X Factor. December 2020 will also mark the 5-year-anniversary of the band's breakup. During their One Direction run, Styles and Payne seemed like the best of friends, but with so much time apart, fans constantly wonder whether Styles and Payne are still friends after all this time.
To give you a recap, ever since the group split in 2015, all five guys went on to release solo music. In fact, everyone has released full-length albums except for Tomlinson, whose debut record, Walls, will arrive on January 31, 2020.
Coincidentally, on Dec. 6, both Styles and Payne dropped new music. While Payne dropped his debut solo album, LP1, Styles shared "Adore You" off his second album, Fine Line, which he released a week later on Dec. 13. December was definitely a One Direction-filled month, which caused fans to remember the time Styles and Payne released new music together regularly.
Their time with One Direction may be in the past, but that doesn't necessarily mean Payne and Styles' friendship is in the past too. In an August 2019 interview with Rolling Stone, Styles revealed that, although the band is no more, he "definitely" took his friendships with him because no one can ever truly understand his One Direction experience like his bandmates.
"We’re always going to have that [experience], even if we’re not the closest," Styles said. "And the fact is, just because you’re in a band with someone doesn’t mean you have to be best friends. That’s not always how it works."
In a December 2019 interview with The Face magazine, Payne got real and revealed that out of all the guys, the one he speaks to the least it Styles.
"I speak to Louis quite regularly. I feel like I know where I stand with Niall. But with Harry, there’s so much mystery around who he’s kind of become," Payne explained. "I was actually genuinely looking at some pictures of him the other day, and I just thought, ‘I don’t know what more I’d say to him other than, ‘Hello,’ and ‘How are you?'"
Still, just because Styles and Payne don't speak to each other as much as they did during their One Direction days, that doesn't mean they're there's any bad blood. In fact, it seems like they're on good terms.
Actually, the boys reunited after three years without speaking at the Jingle Bell Ball in London on Dec. 7, and Payne had nothing but awesome things to say about encounter.
"We spoke about a number of things, we hadn't seen each other in three years, literally hadn't seen him once, we hadn't spoken or anything," Payne revealed on Watch What Happens Live! with Andy Cohen. "So it was good to see him, he was pretty much the same boy that I left him. We spoke about kids and happiness and all sorts of stuff."
After Styles dropped Fine Line, Payne congratulated him on the success of his big release. "Massive congrats H, on becoming the first UK Male artist to debut at No.1 with your first two albums! What an achievement, you must be over the moon @Harry_Styles," Payne tweeted.
Styles didn't reply to Payne's comment, but to be fair, Styles rarely tweets at all.
So there you have it. Since the group's split in 2015, Payne and Styles went from being friends to acquaintances. There was no fallout, they just lost touch with each other. Currently, they're both off doing their own thing, but they still have love for each other, and that's perfectly OK.